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December 2023
Vol. 23, No. 3


San Diego Songwriters, Part 2: David Gates

by Bart MendozaDecember 2011

Rancho Santa Fe musician / songwriter David Gates may be best known as the
frontman for seventies superstars, Bread, but his songs have had an even wider
hearing as hits a second and third times by other artists.

He released his first single,” Jo Baby” in 1958, playing in bands, but going on to
greater fame as a tunesmith, penning songs such as The Murmaids “Popsicles and
Icicles” (#3 1964) and the Monkees “Saturday’s Child,” as well as appearing on
numerous singles and albums tracks. As a session man/music copyist/producer, he
worked with all the key artists of the day, including Captain Beefheart, Bobby
Darin, Merle Haggard and Elvis Presley.

It was when he met up with the musicians that would make up Bread that he came
to mainstream attention. The first Bread music was released in 1969 but it was with
1970’s On the Waters” that he hit gold with a #1 hit, “Make It With You” and a #10
“It Don’t Matter To Me.” Eleven more hit singles followed through 1977, including
classics like “Everything I Own” (1972 #5) and “Lost Without Your Love” (1976
#9), as well as six albums, five of which went gold. There have also been ten
retrospective albums, including 1973’s Best of Bread, which has been certified five
times platinum. Gates would go on to score a #15 hit in 1977 with “The Goodbye
Girl” movie theme, following with three more chart hits through 1981’s “Take Me
Now” (1962).

Barring a bit of touring, Gates has kept a fairly low profile since, but his music is
still out there continually being rediscovered — things like “Everything I Own” being
a hit three different times by three different groups, in addition to all the other
versions, are the mark of a true.

David Gates wrote what for who?

This list does not include any of the tracks recorded by Bread. Also keep in mind that many of
these recordings have been issued numerous times.

Song Title

Best Known Version

Other Recordings By

“Aubrey” Perry Como
“Baby I’m A Want You” Shirley Bassey Jennifer Love Hewitt, Englebert
Humperdinck, The Lettermen,
Wayne Newton, Conway Twitty,
Stephanie Winslow,
“Everything I Own” Boy George (#1 UK)
Ken Boothe (#1 1974 UK)
The Connell’s, Georgie Fame, Edison Lighthouse, Crystal Gayle, Vanessa Hudgens, Chrissie Hynde, Jack Jones, Olivia Newton John, Jude, Greg London, *NSYNC, Nicole, Scherzinger, Rod Stewart, Hernaldo Zuniga
“Goodbye Girl” Hootie & The Blowfish Rumer
“Guitar Man” Cake Bobby Bare Jr., Cake, David J, Hank Marvin, Ray Parker Jr., Starflyer 59
“If” Telly Savalas (#1 1975 UK) Shirley Bassey, Petula Clark, Perry Como, Sergio Franchi, Frankmusik, Jack Jones, Cleo Laine, Damien Leith, Telly Savalas, Frank Sinatra, Westlife
“It Don’t Matter To Me”
“Let Your Love Go”
“Lost without Your Love”
“Make It With You” Vesta Williams Mark Anthony, Barrio Boyz, Blvd, Dennis Brown, Marc Cohn, Earth Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Don Julian and The Larks, Let Loose, The Main Ingredient, The Originals, Ralfi Pagan, Teddy Pendergrass, Dusty Springfield, The Whispers, Andy Williams
“Never Let Her Go”
“Popsicles and Icicles” The Murmaids (#3 1964 US)
“Saturday’s Child” The Monkees Herman’s Hermits
“Sweet Surrender”

The Curse of 27 (Music Edition)

Amy Winehouse’s death brought this back to light, but it’s an interesting well noted coincidence that several prominent musicians passed away at the age of 27. Not sure what it all means but here’s a list I compiled while researching another article:

Chris Bell (Big Star)
D Boon
Kurt Cobain
Les Harvey (Stone the Crows)
Jimi Hendrix
Robert Johnson
Brian Jones
Janis Joplin
Johnny Kidd
Helmut Koellen (Triumvirat)
Jimmy McCulloch (Wings)
Ron McKernan (Grateful Dead)
Jim Morrison
Gary Thain (Uriah Heep)
Jason Thirsk (Pennywise)
Al Wilson (Canned Heat)
Amy Winehouse
Wallace Yahn (Chase)

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