Gary: “Let’s take a look at that Chicago Sound from the late sixties that produced groups like the Buckingham’s etc. This is one of the group’s from that era and Chicago area, that had that certain sound—
The American Breed
Step Out Of Your Mind/ Acta 804/ July 1967/ #24
Bend Me, Shape Me/ Acta 811/ December 1967/ #5
Green Light/ Acta 821/ March 1968/ #39
This group was originally formed in Cicero, Illinois as “Gary & The Nite Lites”. The group’s greatest success was the single, “Bend Me, Shape Me,” which reached #5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1968. The song, written by Scott English and Larry Weiss, was a remake of a recording by The Outsiders that had been released the year before.
The group also appeared on the December 16, 1967 episode of the television show “American Bandstand,” along with Pink Floyd.The original members of the group were Gary Loizzo on vocals, Charles Colbert, Jr. on bass guitar, Al Ciner on guitar, and Lee Graziano on drums. All members were from the greater Chicago area.
As “Gary & The Nite Lites”, they were somewhat successful in Chicago and put out one single. Soon afterwards, the group underwent several changes. They moved to the Acta record label and renamed themselves The American Breed.
Two new members were also added by 1968: Kevin Murphy on keyboards and Andre Fischer on drums.
The band enjoyed its greatest success in 1967 and 1968. They put five singles on the charts, including “Step Out Of Your Mind”, “Green Light” and “Bend Me, Shape Me”.
The group disbanded the following year, and Andre Fischer went on to form Rufus (with Chaka Khan). He later married Natalie Cole. A compilation album, Bend Me, Shape Me: The Best of the American Breed, was released in 1994.
“Bend Me, Shape Me” continues to receive occasional airplay on oldies radio stations.In celebration of the 2005 baseball World Championship of the Chicago White Sox, the American Breed issued a CD single entitled “Rock with the Sox.” The single was produced by Gary Loizzo.