Episode 8: John Beland – Man behind the legends.

John Beland is an American songwritersession guitarist, recording artist, producer and author. Beland’s career as guitarist started out in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, playing sessions and local live gigs with Kris Kristofferson, as well as future Eagles members, Glenn Frey and Bernie Leadon. Beland’s first major break came in 1970, when he played lead guitar for a young Linda Ronstadt. He helped Ronstadt put together her first serious solo band, Swampwater. Along with bandmates Gib Guilbeau, Thad Maxwell and Stan Pratt, Swampwater toured the country with Ronstadt, appearing with her on many notable television shows including The Johnny Cash Show. Swampwater recorded two landmark country-rock albums for Starday-King and RCA Records. The group was one of the first Los Angeles bands to record in Nashville, known for their smooth harmonies and Cajun rock style.

After working with Ronstadt, Beland became a much in-demand guitarist, engaged by such high-profile artists as Arlo GuthrieJohnny Tillotson, Kris Kristofferson, The Bellamy BrothersMac DavisDolly Parton and The Flying Burrito Brothers. As a solo artist, Beland recorded for Ranwood Records, scoring a chart hit in 1969 called “Baby You Come Rollin’ ‘Cross My Mind”. Beland also became the last artist to sign with The Beatles’ record company Apple Records in 1973. As a session guitarist, Beland recorded with many music business legends in the United States and internationally. For over twenty years, he was the creative force behind the pioneering country rock band from CaliforniaThe Flying Burrito Brothers. Through his leadership, the group achieved nine hit country singles for Curb Records in the early 1980s. Beland was also instrumental in the comeback of rock and roll legend Rick Nelson in the late 1970s, arranging and playing on Nelson’s last hit single “Dream Lover”, as well as Nelson’s much-acclaimed album The Memphis Sessions. He also toured and appeared with him on Saturday Night Live in 1979.

Beland has also received awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) during his career. As an award-winning songwriter, Beland’s songs have been recorded by a wide variety of recording artists from various genres. They have included artists from pop, folk, gospel to country music.

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