Look in any book on the history of Rock and Roll and you will find Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. The band’s name was inspired by 1950’s film serials featuring the character Kommando Kody and from a feature version of an earlier serial, King of the Rocket Men, released under the title Lost Planet Airmen. The band’s founder and leader, George Frayne, took the stage name Commander Cody. Artist, musician, and pioneering band leader Command er Cody helped invent a whole new style of music during the early 1970’s, a period regarded as the height of rock innovation.
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen were one of the original groups to fuse divergent strains of American roots music — stripped – down basic rock and roll, rhythm and blues, jazz, bop, country, western swing, and rockabilly — and create an innovative, yet familiar and convincing sound. Along with retro – revisionist bands like the Byrds, the Eagles, and Poco, for whom the Airmen laid the groundwork, Cody and his crew played country – rock. The Airmen preferred a no – frills, back – to – basics approach and are best remembered for their biggest hit, “Hot Rod Lincoln,” a high – octane tribute to the legends of rock music, as well as a string of now – classic albums.
Among many other achievements,this eight piece super band’s album Deep in the Heart of Texas is one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 albums of all time.
When it comes to prime swing, Tex-Mex, boogie-woogie country rock, the name ‘Commander Cody’ pops up right beside Asleep at the Wheel and Dan Hicks, and anyone who titles his albums Hot Licks, Cold Steel & Truckers Favorites; Sleazy Roadside Stories; and Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers, well, he’s giving you a pretty good idea of what’s in store. The Commander has never been shy to extol the workaday virtues or kick up a party atmosphere, and very little has changed, if anything. Oh yeah, the name’s new – the ‘Western Airmen’ instead of the ‘Lost Planet Airmen’—but, other than that, this is the same George Frayne (his real name) who put out all those righteous LPs and CDs over the last four decades.
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