Billy Thunderkloud & the Chieftones

b. Canada. A member of the Tsimshian Indian Nation, Thunderkloud was born in northwest British Columbia, Canada. At school in Edmonton, Alberta, he met other musically included youths including Jack Wolf,…
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Artist Biography

b. Canada. A member of the Tsimshian Indian Nation, Thunderkloud was born in northwest British Columbia, Canada. At school in Edmonton, Alberta, he met other musically included youths including Jack Wolf, Richard Grayowl and Barry Littlestar. In 1964 they formed a band and during the rest of the decade and into the early 70s had limited and local success. Signed to 20th Century Records in 1974 they attracted much wider attention owing to recordings on which they were joined by the Cheatin’ Hearts, a group of Nashville session musicians who had backed Hank Williams Jnr. Individually, the accompanists were fiddle players Jerry Rivers and Mike Hartgrove, pianist Warren Keith, bass player Ronnie Hughes and steel guitarist George Edwards. The single ‘What Time Of Day’ not only made the Top 20 on the country chart, it also placed in the pop Top 100. Next came the single ‘Pledging My Love’, which reached the country Top 40. Thunderkloud was honoured as Outstanding Indian for 1975 by the American Indian Exposition and all looked set for a good career, with the band attracting attention not only aurally but also visually thanks to their on-stage dress in traditional tribal regalia. Unfortunately, 20th Century Records folded and although the band had some minor chart appearances after moving to Polydor Records, including ‘Indian Nation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian)’, ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ and ‘It’s Alright’, all in the mid-70s, they began a slow drift out of the music business.