From 1966 to 1976, most of the band know as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band created a name for themselves….along with a large following….but when Jimmy Ibbotson left the band at the end of 1976….and leaving Fadden, Hanna and McEuen to add John Cable and Jackie Clark….by bringing on another guitar and a new bass…..then In May 1977, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band became the first American group allowed to tour the Soviet Union….while playing 28 sold-out concerts….and a televised appearance that is estimated to have been watched by 145 million people. In 1977, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band first appeared on the second season of the PBS music program Austin City Limits……which gives this video a special place in our treasure chest of vintage memories here at ImaSportsphile.
The band released its first ‘greatest successes’ compilation album Dirt, Silver & Gold in 1976. After that release, the band shortened its name to The Dirt Band…. and the group’s sound became more pop and rock oriented. Saxophonist Al Garth, drummer Merel Bregante and bassist Richard Hathaway were also added to the lineup in 1978 and Jeff Hanna became the group’s producer for a few albums. Keyboardist Bob Carpenter (who would occasionally sit in with the band from 1975 on) contributed to their 1978 album The Dirt Band and joined the band permanently in 1980.
Albums during this period included The Dirt Band and An American Dream. The single “American Dream” with Linda Ronstadt reached # 13 on the popular music charts. The band also appeared on a 1978 Saturday Night Live in their own slot….while performing the instrumental “White Russia” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream …..as seen in this video herewith….in which the band was separately billed as “The Toot Uncommons”….and provided backing for Steve Martin on his million-selling novelty tune, “King Tut”…..which we also have in our music section here at ImaSportsphile….for they also played on that hit, recorded in Aspen earlier that year.