Trapeze: Hot Wire/Trapeze

Two mid-70s albums from British rock’s nearly-men.

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In 1973, Glenn Hughes, lead vocalist and bassist for Midlands-based power trio Trapeze, was made an offer he couldn’t refuse: he was invited to join Deep Purple. At the age of 21 it was his golden ticket to rock’n’roll stardom and all the glory and excess that came with it.

Hughes’s exit from Trapeze left a gaping hole in the band. He was a phenomenal singer, powerful and soulful. He was also a badass bass player – a key ingredient in the funky hard rock of the group’s classic early albums Medusa and You Are The Music… We’re Just The Band.

But when Hughes quit, guitarist Mel Galley and drummer Dave Holland did not. They carried on with a new four-piece line-up in which Galley took on the role of frontman.

On the 1974 album Hot Wire (6), the dominant tone was swaggering heavy rock boogie in the style of Bad Company and Foghat. The funk was laid down on Midnight Flyer. And while Galley was no Glenn Hughes, he sang beautifully on the standout track Steal A Mile.

This was followed in 1975 by the album Trapeze (6). Not to be confused with the band’s debut album (also self-titled), it was mellower than Hot Wire, and featured Hughes as guest vocalist on the funk groover Nothing For Nothing and the acoustic ballad Chances.

Deep Purple’s split in 1976 led Hughes to rejoin Trapeze, but it didn’t last. The magic that this band had in those early days had been lost forever./o:p

Paul Elliott

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2005, Paul Elliott has worked for leading music titles since 1985, including Sounds, Kerrang!, MOJO and Q. He is the author of several books including the first biography of Guns N’ Roses and the autobiography of bodyguard-to-the-stars Danny Francis. He has written liner notes for classic album reissues by artists such as Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy and Kiss, and currently works as content editor for Total Guitar. He lives in Bath - of which David Coverdale recently said: “How very Roman of you!”