Although Greg Ridley was a fairly seasoned musician at the time of Humble Pie's formation in 1969, it was that moment that defined him as a force in the world of rock music. The path that led him to that point started in northern England and included some other notable players along the way.

Born in Carlisle, Cumbria, UK on 23 October, 1947, Greg started playing professionally at an early age. Always a strong singer, he learned to play bass and in his mid teenage years fronted such bands as Dino & The Danubes and The Dakotas.  He then joined The VIPs and, with an RCA record contract, began to taste a bit of popular success. The VIPs developed a large regional following and decided to give the London scene a go late in 1964.  They played extensively in the top London clubs and regularly hopped over the Channel to play The Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, formerly a regular haunt of The Beatles.  A short contract with CBS records yielded the single "Wintertime".  The VIPs then signed with Island, who released "I Wanna Be Free" and "Straight Down To The Bottom".

Soon the VIPs lineup changed with some later-to-be-notable additions, Luther Grosvenor on guitar and Keith Emerson playing keyboards. This was to be shortlived as Emerson quickly left to form The Nice.  Changing their name to Art, they recorded their only album "Supernatural Fairy Tales" in early 1967.

American keyboardist Gary Wright joined the band and the name was changed to Spooky Tooth.  Island released Spooky's first album in May 1968, entitled "It's All About", which included their first single "Sunshine Help Me" as well as their cover of "Tobacco Road".  The group became known as a "band's band", having paid their dues and gained the respect of other top musicians in England and Europe. Greg, in particlar, was known as a top-notch bass player in the most important London music circles. To support "It's All About", Spooky Tooth constantly toured the UK, which brought Greg to a momentous gig on New Years Eve 1968.



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