Bread – Make It With You

12th September 1970 · 1970, 1970s, Music
Bread enjoyed their biggest hit with Make It With You, a song that virtually defined the genre of soft rock and launched the chart career of David Gates.

In many ways this song represents everything I can’t stand in music. It’s so middle-of-the-road it’s in danger of being mown down by a juggernaut and left splattered on the highway of pop. It’s mellow to the point of being soporific.

It’s arguably responsible for the entire ghastly sub-genre of ‘soft rock’ and a multiplicity of awful radio stations like Magic FM. It’s also ineffably soppy and drowned in unnecessarily lavish strings.

These are all things I hate. And yet… it’s so well written, so well executed, so concisely wrapped up in three minutes, and above all it has such a good TUNE.
Bread came from Los Angeles (of course they did) though their main man David Gates came from Tulsa, Oklahoma, a place so bleak and featureless that any musician emanating from the place is bound to be laid back beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour: JJ Cale, the most laid-back man in musical history, comes from there too.

Gates was something of a teen prodigy. His high-school band The Accents, which also featured Leon Russell, once backed Chuck Berry way back in 1957 and the teenager wrote a hit for Chuck called Jo-Baby, about his high school sweetheart Jo Rita, who he married in 1957.

By the early Sixties he was living in LA, working as a studio musician, producer and songwriter spanning every musical genre: he worked with people as diverse as Elvis Presley and Brian Wilson, Merle Haggard and Duane Eddy: he even wrote a song for The Monkees and produced a record for Captain Beefheart.

As a songwriter, he can claim to have topped the charts with four artists – Bread (Make It With You, 1970), Ken Boothe (Everything I Own, 1974), Telly Savalas (If, 1975) and Boy George (Everything I Own, 1987). Now pushing 80, he lives with that same wife and former high school sweetheart on a huge cattle ranch in Washington state that he bought with his Bread royalties, having studied the cattle ranching business while on tour with the band.