- This article is about the band. For their self-titled album, see Blessid Union of Souls (album).
Blessid Union of Souls is an American rock band from Morrow, Ohio that was formed in 1990 by Jeff Pence and Eliot Sloan. They have released a number of hits over the years. Some of the band's biggest hits include "I Believe," "Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me for Me)," "I Wanna Be There," and "Brother My Brother".
Blessid Union of Souls formed in 1990 in Morrow
by guitarist Jeff Pence, vocalist Eliot Sloan, keyboardist C.P. Roth (who had been in Ozzy Osbourne
's touring band) and drummer Eddie Hedges. Sloan and Hedges had previously played together in a 1980s band called The Movies. About this time, Sloan and Pence later played together in a band called Slamm.
The band was heavily influenced by the cowpunk scene that was burgeoning around the same time they formed. They spent several years honing their craft in Newport News; their song "Oh Virginia" tells the story of their "second home."
The band's name came from when Eliot Sloan had the name "Blessed Union of Souls" in his head, but didn't know what to do with it. In about 1989, he heard someone talking about "a union of souls blessed by God." He told the rest of the band members, who liked the name. It was Jeff Pence's idea to misspell "Blessed" as "Blessid" to ensure correct pronunciation.
They sent an early demo from 1992 to EMI Records who immediately offered them a contract. EMI spread the word about them.
They began writing more songs in about 1993 for their debut album, Home
. It took over two years to complete, but before it was released, DJs in the Cincinnati
area began playing "I Believe
," which would become the album's most popular single.
They finally released Home in March 1995. Later that year, it was certified gold by the RIAA. It is now certified platinum. The album released their major hit "I Believe," as well as Top 20 hits "Oh Virginia" and "Let Me Be the One," which was featured in the soap opera All My Children.
Blessid Union of Souls (1996-1998)
EMI Records collapsed in 1996, and the band re-signed to Capitol Records
, adding bassist Tony Clark in the process.
They released their second album, Blessid Union of Souls in 1997. This album was not as popular as Home, but still released two Top 20 hits, "I Wanna Be There" and "Light in Your Eyes."
Walking Off the Buzz (1999-2000)
They released their third album, Walking Off the Buzz
in 1999. This album was very popular due to "Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me for Me)
," a single from the album that became a summer smash hit of the year. Although it only reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100
, it received constant airplay, and many fans of the group were disappointed by how much of a "one-hit wonder
" they had become.
Between 2001 and 2005, Blessid Union of Souls stayed away from the studio, but they released a greatest hits album
that also featured a few non-previously-released songs that were recorded about 2000. During this time, they still toured. Roth and Hedges left the band in 2002.
Perception and reemergence (2005-2008)
At the end of this period, the band's fifth studio album Perception
was released. It proved to many fans that the band was still active.
In the beginning of 2008, Blessid Union of Souls began touring with members Eliot Sloan, Tony Clark, Bryan Billhimer, and Shaun Schaefer. Jeff Pence hosts a website devoted to his version of the group. The two groups are now working independently of one another.
Close to the Edge (2008-present)
Blessid Union of Souls's long-awaited sixth studio album, Close to the Edge
, was released on September 16
on Torque Records. Some fans were disappointed by the album, because eight of its twelve tracks were taken from their previous album, Perception
In 2000, several of the band's songs were scheduled for use during the production of a film entitled Standing at the Edge of the Earth
by Fizzle Freak Productions. The film would have co-starred the band's bassist Tony Clark, and the rest of the band would have been featured in prominent roles as well. The film's production was canceled in around the end of 2000 due to legal and financial issues.
In 2003, the band released Blessid Union of Souls: Play Ball, an album about the Cincinnati Reds. This album did not receive much attention and is widely regarded as not even a studio album.
In 2006, Jeff Pence headed a project in which the band contributed two tracks for Clutch Hits, a CD that featured a variety of artists who contributed songs about the Cincinnati Reds. The songs were entitled "Play Ball" and "Me, Marty, Joe, Ted & Louise." The project was a fundraiser for the Reds Community Fund.
The band describes its sound as "rural soul. Their style draws from a number of different influences.
"How we were raised, where we were raised - that's who we are. Jeff is from the country, born on a farm: that's where we get that grass-roots feeling - whereas I'm from a more urban place in environment and inspiration, and C.P. has classical training. We never wanted to be a straight, mainstream 'rock' or 'pop' band, we really like to tap into the different types of music we enjoy." –Eliot Sloan
The lyrics to most of the band's songs attempt to explain human relationships, a common topic in pop music. Sloan explained that "It's easy to be all lovey-dovey in the beginning, but two or three years into the relationship you have to restore what was there when things were new and fresh."
They also performed a track in Pokémon: The First Movie, titled "Brother My Brother," as well as the main theme for Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls entitled, "It's Alright."
||R&R Top 40 Airplay
||"Let Me Be the One"
||"I Wanna Be There"
||Blessid Union of Souls
||"Light in Your Eyes"
||Blessid Union of Souls
||"Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me for Me)"
||Walking Off the Buzz
||"Standing at the Edge of the Earth"
||Walking Off the Buzz
||"Could've Been With You"
||Close to the Edge