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Flint, Michigan-based hard rock heroes Grand Funk Railroad were one of the most popular bands of the ’70s. Originally a power trio of guitarist/vocalist Mark Farner, drummer/vocalist Don Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher, Grand Funk Railroad was an instant and sustained success, with its first ten albums all going gold or platinum—many without the benefit of Top 40 radio airplay or much respect from the emerging rock press. No matter: Grand Funk Railroad was the people’s band. Its July 9, 1971 show at New York’s Shea Stadium is famous for selling out its 55,000 tickets in 72 hours—faster than the Beatles had in August 1965! Grand Funk Railroad would later shorten its name and expand its sound, scoring a series of mid-’70s hit singles with assistance from producers Todd Rundgren and Jimmy Ienner and the addition of keyboardist Craig Frost. But many hardcore Grand Funk Railroad fans prefer the leaner, early trio years of the band’s first incarnation, as documented on Mark, Don & Mel 1969-1971.

Did you know?

  • The band’s name is a play on words of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, a line that runs through the band’s home town of Flint, Michigan
  • Grand Funk Railroad broke the Beatles’ Shea Stadium record for ticket sales
  • Don Brewer and Craig Frost would later join fellow Michigan native Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band