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Best remembered for the AM radio classic "Moonlight Feels Right," Starbuck formed in Atlanta in 1974 -- singer/keyboardist Bruce Blackman and percussionist Bo Wagner previously served in the sunshine pop outfit Eternity's Children, enjoying fleeting success with the minor chart hit "Mrs. Bluebird." After collaborating on a never-released LP under the moniker Mississippi, the duo again parted ways, with Blackman focusing on his composing career and Wagner hitting the road as Liberace's musical director. When Wagner returned to Atlanta, he formed Extravaganza with vocalist Elgin Wells, keyboardist Sloan Hayes, bassist Jimmy Cobb, and drummer David Snavely; within weeks Wells left the group, opening the door for Blackman to sign on -- vocalist Ron Norris and guitarist Tommy Strain soon joined as well, prompting a name change to Starbuck.
In mid-1975 the group signed to the Private Stock label, issuing its debut single, "Moonlight Feels Right," a few months later -- a quintessential slice of '70s soft pop, the record flopped upon its initial release, but was resurrected in the spring of 1976 by Birmingham, AL, DJ Mike St. John of WERC. As its grassroots popularity snowballed, "Moonlight Feels Right" eventually reached the number two spot on the Billboard pop chart -- around this time Strain, Norris, and Snavely all left Starbuck, and were replaced by keyboardist David Shaver, drummer Ken Crysler, and guitarist Johnny Walker, the latter another Eternity's Children alum. The band's sophomore effort, Rock 'n' Roll Rocket, followed in 1977, generating a second Top 40 hit with its lead track, "Everybody Be Dancin'" -- however, 1978's Searching for a Thrill failed to chart, and Starbuck dissolved in 1980. ~ Jason Ankeny
- Atlanta, GA
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