Richard Bowden has always been a very funny man and comes by it honestly. His mother once said when asked about her son's behavior, "The first time I ever saw him he was naked -- and hungry." He would…
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Richard Bowden Biography

by Tom Kealey

Richard Bowden has always been a very funny man and comes by it honestly. His mother once said when asked about her son's behavior, "The first time I ever saw him he was naked -- and hungry." He would eventually cash in on his wit, but not before he made significant contributions to the world of country-rock music. He was born in Linden, TX, on September 30, 1945, to parents who always supported his creative tendencies, and even though he was a high school honor roll student going on to college, he was never discouraged from playing music, eventually putting his own band together.

By the time he and his bandmates were out of college, their group, Shiloh gained enough popularity all across Texas that they were able to avoid having to get "real jobs," and instead were able to concentrate on writing, performing, and preparing for the day when they could break into the big time. The band consisted of drummer/lead vocalist Don Henley, bassist Michael Bowden (Richard's cousin), keyboardist Jim Ed Norman, Dobro/steel guitarist Al Perkins and, of course, lead guitarist Richard Bowden. Along the way, they came to know Kenny Rogers, who encouraged them to go to Los Angeles and gave them tips on how to search for a record deal. Rogers' advice paid off and Shiloh released their first album, Shiloh, in 1970. The record spawned one regional hit single but went otherwise unnoticed, and that, together with a bad management deal, caused the band to break up. Not surprisingly, the album started gaining more popularity due to the increasing visibility of its individual members and is now one of the most valuable pieces of vinyl in the "Rare and Hard-to-Find" catalogs.

Soon after Shiloh disbanded, Bowden, cousin Michael Bowden, and Henley landed jobs with Linda Ronstadt. Along with Glenn Frey, they served as her backup band, undergoing personnel changes along the way due to some of its members leaving to start their own band, called the Eagles. In 1974, Bowden also made his exit to start another band but instead was recruited by Roger McGuinn for one album and a tour until McGuinn chose to join Bob Dylan & the Rolling Thunder Review and let the band go. In 1978, Bowden started another band, called Blue Steel, and released No More Lonely Nights on Infinity Records. While on tour with the Eagles, the label went out of business, causing him to rebuild the band and shop for another deal, which he secured with Electra Records. However, after recording Nothing but Time, the band broke up.

In 1982, disillusioned with the band business in L.A., Bowden moved to Nashville and was introduced to hit songwriter Sandy Pinkard by his former Shiloh bandmate and current record producer, Jim Ed Norman, with the intention that the pair would combine their songwriting skills in a collaborative effort. It was a well-conceived plan, but when they tried to put it into action, it simply would not work -- they couldn't stop laughing long enough to write a serious song. While making up hilarious and frequently off-color lyrics to their own songs, as well as those of others, they gave rise to a new singing comedy duo called Pinkard & Bowden. Billed as "America's Funniest Duo," they spent the next 16 years creating albums, appearing on radio and television shows, and making live audiences laugh until they doubled over in pain. After that stretch, Bowden and his wife packed up their dogs and cats and moved back to their home town in Linden, TX.

In 2001, Bowden needed a breather from the center stage so he decided to accept an offer from his old friend Don Henley and the Eagles to tour Europe as their guitar tech, jocular guru, and occasional guitarist, performing on "Hotel California" during the show. Upon his return, he immediately got down to work on his own solo comedy album. Living in a town of less than 3,000 people, Bowden enjoys his role as civic leader, having won a seat on the city council. He is frequently invited to speak and entertain at most of the local community functions, and occasionally appears as "Special Guest Star" on the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom radio show.

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