Tom Kealey (born Thomas Newell Kealey, August 22,1943, San Jose, CA) was one of the founding members of Juice Newton & Silver Spur, a country rock trio consisting of Juice Newton, Otha Young, and Kealey. In 1972, Newton and Young were performing as an acoustic duo in a small Northern California bar, and Kealey happened to be in the audience and was very impressed by what he saw and heard coming from the stage. He approached the pair during a break and proposed adding a bass player (himself) who could supply a third harmony part. Within a few weeks, Kealey was added to the group and they spent the next year or so performing at many of the better restaurants and gin joints in the San Francisco Bay Area, creating a huge following before heading south for L.A. in pursuit of a record deal. Starting with a gig at Jason's, a well-known Burbank restaurant and watering hole for movie and music types, their appeal quickly attracted the attention of some of the movers and shakers in the record business. They began playing venues such as the Troubadour, a haven for aspiring recording stars, and the famed Palomino Club. After one year, they got their break.
Juice Newton & Silver Spur, and they landed their first record contract with RCA in 1975, assisted by Bones Howe, who would become their producer. Howe had previously produced huge hits by the 5th Dimension, the Association, and the Turtles, and was engineer for the hit group the Mamas & the Papas. He came out to see them perform and was captivated by their energy; charisma; Newton's powerful lead vocals; and the songwriting, musicianship, and backup vocal blend of Tom Kealey and Otha Young. The trio eventually hired drummer Mickey McGee, keyboardist Robbie Gillman, and steel guitar player Curtis Cloonan to round out the band for live concerts. The Silver Spur entity, composed of Newton, Young, and Kealey, lasted three more years and three albums, spawning one minor hit, "Love Is a Word," off their debut release, Juice Newton & Silver Spur. Unfortunately, and in spite of favorable reviews, none of the records seemed to take off, and this caused the group to question themselves, as well as each other. In 1978, after a national tour to promote the third album, Come to Me, the band broke up, and Newton decided to try her luck as a soloist. This proved to be the best decision of her life, and she eventually became a household name with hits like "Angel of the Morning," "Queen of Hearts," and many more.