Jay Ferguson is an American rock/pop musician, known for his work with Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne, and his 1978 solo hit “Thunder Island”. His later career has been as a composer of music for television programs and films.
Spirit was founded in the mid-1960s. Many musicians of the time cited The Beatles and their music as an influence, and Ferguson was no exception. Reuniting with longtime musician friends Randy California and California’s stepfather Ed Cassidy, Ferguson joined with them to form a jazz influenced rock group that was originally called Spirits Rebellious, after a Khalil Gibran passage. With the general consensus that the moniker was too long, they later shortened the name to Spirit. Ferguson was the last member to actually join the band and found himself in the position of lead vocalist and percussionist.
Ferguson shared singing and songwriting duties with California, writing most of the songs on their first album. Spirit began playing at various nightclubs and concerts in the Los Angeles area, especially the clubs along the Sunset Strip, including the Whiskey-a-Go-Go. At one of these shows, French film producer Jacques Demy saw Spirit perform and decided he wanted them in his next film. This led to a cameo role for the band and a short speaking part in which Ferguson played a character based loosely on himself in the film Model Shop. Spirit also provided much of the instrumental soundtrack. The band went on to tour and record several albums.
Ferguson and Mark Andes decided to leave Spirit in 1971 and form their own band.
Ferguson was Jo Jo Gunne’s only songwriter and only lead vocalist. Jo Jo Gunne became the second artists signed to the Asylum Records label. The band scored a moderate hit with “Run, Run, Run” from their debut album (1972).
With the first record and some touring already completed, Andes decided to leave and join a band that would later become Firefall, with brother Matt staying behind with Jo Jo Gunne. Jimmie Randall, an Austin, Texas bassist was recruited in his place.
Jo Jo Gunne toured all over the US and Europe for the next three years, and recorded three more albums, “Bite Down Hard” (1973), “Jumpin’ The Gunne” (1974) and “Where’s The Show” (1975). Matt Andes left the band after the third album and was temporarily replaced with Star Donaldson on lead guitar, and then, later, John Staehely. After a four-year existence, the group split up in the mid-1970s. Jo Jo Gunne reformed in 2005, and recorded a new album, Big Chain, which included both new material and new versions of several old Gunne songs.
Ferguson took a year and a half off to rest, until record producer Bill Szymczyk asked Ferguson to come down to his Coconut Grove recording studio in Miami. Ferguson recorded three studio albums and a limited-run live album for Asylum. He scored a Top 10 hit with the title song on his second solo album, Thunder Island (1978), which peaked at #9 in the US. Another minor hit was “Shakedown Cruise” from his last Asylum album, Real Life Ain’t This Way. After his recording contract for Asylum was completed, Ferguson changed record labels, and recorded two more solo albums for Capitol Records.
In 1982, after his sixth and last solo album, White Noise, Ferguson decided to become a soundtrack composer for movies and television. To date, he has written music for over 15 feature films and for many TV shows. His most recognizable composition as a TV and film scorer is the theme to the NBC-TV version of The Office, which won him the 2007 Film & TV Music Award for Best Score for a Comedy Television Program. Ferguson recently began producing CDs for other artists. He is the composer of “Pictures of You” from the soundtrack to The Terminator and of “Prologue/Elm Street Kids”, the main theme from A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. Ferguson is also the soundtrack composer for NCIS: Los Angeles.
Capitol Records 1982
Terms And Conditions
Capitol Records 1980
Real Life Ain´t This Way
Asylum Records 1979
Superstars Radio Network Presents Jay Ferguson
Asylum Records 1978
Tracks: Intro Announcement, Intro, Payin´ Time, Cinnamon City, Babylon, Medley: Run, Run, Run / Mr. Skin / I Got A Line On You, End Announcement, Intro, Thunder Island, Losing Control, To The Island, Snakes On The Run, Medicated Goo, End Credits & End Announcement.
Musicians on the Superstars Radio Network Presents Jay Ferguson Promotion album: Jay Ferguson and others.
Asylum Records 1977
All Alone In The End Zone
Asylum Records 1976