Born: July 3, 1945
Genres: Soul, Pop, Rock, Easy Listening
Instruments: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, piano, organ, lead and background vocals
Years active: 1960-present
Labels: Terry Records, Constellation Records, Cameo-Parkway Records, Mercury Records, Colossus Records, Polydor Records, MGM Records, Private Stock Records, Odyssey Record Corp
Associated Acts: The Maybees, The Chicagoans, The MOB, The Buckinghams
Gary Duane Beisbier (born July 3, 1945) is an American songwriter, arranger and musician best known for co-writing hit songs for The Buckinghams. Gary is an original member of the Chicago rhythm and blues horn rock band, The MOB.
Gary grew up in a house surrounded by music. His sister played the flute, one of his brothers played trumpet while another older brother played guitar. In grade school, he took lessons on the clarinet and started doubling on saxophone in Junior High. Gary liked the good stuff in many genres, big band and small combo jazz, classical standards, pop, and musical theater.
Gary went to West Aurora High School in Illinois. During those high school years emerged the band “The Maybees”, his first exposure to playing rock ’n’ roll at the age of 15. Their original lineup included Gary, Max Gregg, Mike Palmer, Chico Ledesma and George Torrens. Later, Mike Palmer was replaced by Don Dalton and Jim Holvay joined. Before high school graduation, more than a couple of 45s were recorded at Universal Recording Studio and released on the Terry Record label, a division of Freidl Music. On the recordings were saxophone player Gary Beisbier, guitarist Eugene “Chico” Ledesma, guitarist Jimmy Holvay, bass guitarist Max Gregg, and drummer Don Dalton fronted by vocalist George Torrens.
Discography: The Maybees
- You’re Just An Angel (Max Gregg) George Torrens And The Maybees | 2:18 F-800 M80W-5585
- Mary Lou (George Torrens) George Torrens And The Maybees | 2:15 F-801 M80W-5584
- TR-3 (Beisbier-Ledesma) George Torrens And The Maybees | 2:20 F-802 M80W-5586
- Angel of My Dreams (Torrens) George Torrens And The Maybees | F-803 M8OW-5587
- Buttons And Bows (Livingston-Evans) The Maybees | 2:03 F-806 M08W-1157
- Third Man Theme (Karas) The Maybees | 2:07 F-807 M08W-1158
800, 801, 802, 803 Friedl Music (BMI)…806 Famous Music Corp (ASCAP)…807 Chappel & Co (ASCAP)
Various Artists Compilations
- 2005) I’m Gonna Rock On You – “TR-3”
- 2014) Dancehall Stringbusters 2 – “Buttons And Bows” “Third Man Theme”
FUN FACT: The Maybees won a WLS “Battle Of The Bands” promotion with the winning prize to perform one song on THE BIG SHOW with Dick Biondi and Jim Lounsbury at Medinah Temple 600 N. Wabash Avenue in Chicago, IL. The song performed was “Forget About Her” with members Wayne Erwin – vocals, rhythm guitar, Chico Ledesma – Lead guitar, Gary Beisbier – tenor sax, Jim Holvay – bass, Griff Durrett – drums.
On the weekends with no ‘Maybees’ gigs, Gary also played on a riverboat that went up the Fox River with a dixieland band. Those student members from WAHS were Gary, Dave Franch, Larry McCabe and Dave Allison. Larry McCabe was added to The Maybees near the end of its existence.
After high school word went out that a new band was forming in the city to be called, aptly, The Chicagoans. Gary joined along with Larry McCabe as a saxophone-trombone mini horn section. Jimmy Holvay, who by now was playing electric bass as well as guitar, came on board. The roster filled out with drummer Bobby Ruffino, singer Jimmy Peterson, and Chuck Russell, a versatile guitarist who played modern jazz, standards, and also sang. The Chicagoans played locally for a while and then hit the road for club dates in Indiana and Ohio on the way to New York, New Jersey and Boston. They performed on the East Coast for several weeks before returning to Chicago. Along the way they had recorded an instrumental as a tribute to the Fab Four, who had just hit America’s shores. Constellation Records released it in Chicago using the name The Livers as the artist (as in Liverpool) hoping to capitalize on the success of the British Invasion. It worked and the record got radio play on the biggest Top 40 station in town, WLS. The tune was written by Beisbier and Holvay, a creative partnership that would endure for years. At this point a group decision was made to continue on without Peterson. Russell and Holvay would trade off on guitar and bass and share the lead vocal duties. The new band played Midwest tours with Chubby Checker (“The Twist”, etc.) and Nino Tempo & April Stevens (“Deep Purple”). Then they got a gig at the Blackhawk Club in Salt Lake City. There misfortune struck. During the second week of the engagement a call to the motel informed them that a fire had started in the club’s kitchen in the early morning hours. Upon arrival, they discovered the whole stage badly burned. Gary looked at a ball of molten metal on the charred floor and knew that was all that remained of his tenor sax. They had to go home and regroup. Two months later, with new instruments, the Chicagoans reformed. Ruffino had opted out and so Barry Van Valkenberg was hired to take over the drumming chores. A San Diego booking materialized and they were back on the road again. A successful three month West Coast run was highlighted by numerous club dates in the greater Bay Area of San Francisco.
Discography: The Livers (The Chicagoans)
- Beatle Time (J. Peterson – G. Beisbier – Jimmy Holvay) | 1:35 Constellation C-118 C-64-153
- This Is The Night (J. Peterson) | 2:40 Constellation C-118 C-64-154
Constellation C-118 Joni Music Inc. (BMI)
Jimmy Ford supplied Dick Clark’s Caravan Of Stars with accomplished musicians but needed another unit for his band, The Executives. In 1965, Gary was recruited along with Holvay, Bobby Ruffino, Rick Panzer, Jimmy Guercio and Kevin Murphy. Beisbier and Holvay also continued to arrange, produce and compose for other artists. Then in 1966, Gary became an original member of The MOB, a Chicago band that would influence the bands Chicago, Chase, The Ides Of March and others.
Beisbier continued his education in music theory at NIU, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. There he played in the stage jazz band and was also one of the marching Huskies.
As part of a successful show band, Gary Beisbier and Jim Holvay also co-wrote the hit songs Don’t You Care, Hey Baby (They’re Playing Our Song) and Susan for The Buckinghams.
A Little Of This, A Little Of That – Gary Beisbier (released July 2014) track listing:
- Welcome Home (Gary Beisbier) | 2:38 lead vocal: Gary Beisbier
- In The Moment (Gary Beisbier) | 4:03 lead vocal: Gary Beisbier
- San Francisco And You (Gary Beisbier) | 3:35 lead vocal: Gary Beisbier
- One More Time (Gary Beisbier) | 2:57 lead vocal: Victor Perez
- Betty Barracuda (Gary Beisbier) | 3:40 lead vocal: Gary Beisbier
- This Time (Gary Beisbier) | 3:25 lead vocal: Ron Douglas
- Ramp It Up (Gary Beisbier) | 3:04 lead vocal: Gary Beisbier
- Girl, I’ll Always Love Ya (Gary Beisbier – Jim Holvay) | 3:27 lead vocal: Gary Beisbier
- Guardian Angel (Gary Beisbier) | 4:03 lead vocal: Victor Perez
- Copyright, United States Copyright Office RE0000570812 (EU0000822012)
- Collector Records: I’m Gonna Rock On You | CLCD 4488
- Sundazed: Dancehall Stringbusters 2 | SC 11156
- Copyright, United States Copyright Office RE0000570812 (EU0000822012)
- Copyright, United States Copyright Office PAu003737786
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