Saturday, February 7, 2009
“Born George Miles in Omaha, NE, on September 5, 1947, “Buddy” started playing the drums at age nine. As a teenager, he played with Ruby & the Romantics, the Ink Spots, and the Delfonics. In 1966, while playing with Wilson Pickett's touring revue, he was spotted by blues-rock guitarist Mike Bloomfield, who was was putting together a new group, the Electric Flag, an ambitious fusion of rock, soul, blues, psychedelia, and jazz. Bloomfield invited Miles to join up, and the band made its debut at the Monterey Pop Festival.
Buddy formed his own group, the Buddy Miles Express and debted his band with Expressway to Your Skull, in 1968, produced by Jimi Hendrix. Miles also played on Hendrix's Electric Ladyland album, and joined Hendrix on the Band of Gypsies album.
Miles recorded his most popular album, Them Changes, in 1971; it stayed on the charts for more than a year, and the title cut became Miles' signature song. In December 1971 Miles toured with Carlos Santana for about 5 months, which produced the CBS-released concert document Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live!; recorded inside an inactive volcano in Hawaii. Buddy cut a few more albums for CBS, participated in a short-lived Electric Flag reunion in 1974, then moved to Casablanca in 1975 for a pair of LPs. Aside from a Sneak Attack recorded in 1981, Miles kept a low profile over the next decade, partly to battle personal problems.
In 1986 , Buddy became the lead voice in a TV ad campaign for Raisin Brand cereal with "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"; the ads proved so popular that a kid-friendly musical franchise was spun off, and thus Miles became the lead singer of the California Raisins. Miles rejoined his old friend Carlos Santana as the official lead vocalist of Santana during part of the late '80s, making his studio debut on 1987's Freedom. In the early '90s, Miles played with Bootsy Collins and in 1994 he formed a new version of the Express. His final band , the Blues Berries, formed with guitarist Rocky Athas, was a more straight forward blues band. Buddy died while living in Austin, Texas in February 2008.”
From Steve Huey’s biography for Allmusic