James McCulloch

Biography by

James McCulloch is forever etched in the rock & roll annals because he co-wrote the immortal "Hot Child in the City" with one-hit superstar Nick Gilder. The two met in 1971, when McCulloch played lead…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

James McCulloch is forever etched in the rock & roll annals because he co-wrote the immortal "Hot Child in the City" with one-hit superstar Nick Gilder. The two met in 1971, when McCulloch played lead guitar in Rasputin. They began writing together and formed the band into Sweeney Todd with John Booth, Budd Marr, and Dan Gaudinand. The quintet gained notoriety around Vancouver because of the duo's excellent songs and also through creative performances which included garish makeup, outlandish clothes, and billowing smoke machines. British producer Martin Shaer caught a Sweeney Todd gig in a high school gym, and soon London Records signed and released an eponymous inaugural in 1975. Thanks to the delectable groupie-ode "Roxy Roller," written by Gilder and McCulloch, Sweeney Todd quickly ruled the Great White North. Chrysalis Records ascertained that Gilder and McCulloch were the creative impetus of Sweeney Todd and wooed the pair to Los Angeles. The remaining members of Sweeney Todd reacted to the abrupt departure by re-releasing "Roxy Roller" with a different vocalist. Then a teenage Bryan Adams joined Sweeney Todd and sang on yet another version of "Roxy Roller." Adams and the band even accepted a Juno award for the original Gilder-sung version. In L.A., Gilder and McCulloch faced hostile audiences at the Starwood Club and the Whisky. After an aborted attempt to record with George Martin, Stuart Alan Love produced Gilder's first solo slab, You Know Who You Are, which included a third version of "Roxy Roller."Although an excellent platter of Gilder/McCulloch glam genius, the record didn't take with American radio. City Nights, released a year later in 1978, was another strong collection. Three of the tracks were recorded in three days with glitter mastermind Mike Chapman. Gilder opted for "All Because of Love" to be the lead-off single, but Chrysalis president Terry Ellis pushed for "Hot Child in the City." The song centered around an urban Lolita and took 20 weeks to reach the top of the Billboard charts, longer than any single that had come before. Gilder and McCulloch began to separate in the '80s, Gilder composing "Warrior" with Holly Knight. Sweeney Todd re-formed in the late '90s, and its prime pair reportedly reunited and began writing at the turn of the century.