Blood, Sweat & Tears

What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears?
Blood, Sweat & Tears

In 1970, Blood, Sweat & Tears was one of the most popular bands on Earth. The Woodstock headliner’s second album was doing serious business with three hit singles in the top five, which included “And When I Die,” “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” and “Spinning Wheel.” This iteration of the band featured singer David Clayton-Thomas, drummer Bobby Colomby, guitarist Steve Katz, bassist Jim Fielder, a four-piece horn section, and keys.

Things began to go south when the U.S. State Department blackmailed the band into touring Eastern Europe in the summer of 1970. The fallout resulted in the band being labeled “uncool” by the anti-Vietnam counterculture and “un-American” by conservatives. In addition, many music critics accused the band of being shills for the government, which sent it on a downward spiral.

This documentary is packed with excellent never-before-seen footage, live shows, and interviews. Brilliant musicianship and funky horn arrangements elevate stellar songs under the cloud of blackmail, the Cold War, and ’70s cancel-culture. Director John Scheinfeld does a fine job of mixing archival interviews, music, and newer interviews, all making for a fascinating journey through Nixon-era rock history.

This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.