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Biography

The Hassles were a rock group in the 1960s, most notable for recording the first releases to feature Billy Joel. The group released two full-length albums (United Artists Records) and a number of singles.

The original line-up of the group consisted of vocalist John Dizek, guitarist Richard McKenna, drummer Jon Small, and organist Harry Weber. In 1966 Weber was fired from the band due to excessive drug use (found dead a few years later on a railroad track) and was replaced by Howie Arthur Blauvelt and Billy Joel on bass and keyboards respectively. It is with this lineup that the band recorded their self-titled debut album in 1967. Blauvelt departed the band early in 1968 but returned later on in the year. Dizek departed the band in late 1968, at which point Joel took over on vocal duties. The band recorded their second album, Hour of the Wolf, in 1969, before disbanding. Following the demise of The Hassles Joel and Small formed the duo Attila, whilst Blauvelt later co-founded Ram Jam. Joel later went on to a successful solo career and Small became a video producer and director.

John Dizek passed away on June 27, 2017 following a long battle with cancer.

Members
Richard McKenna - guitars (1964-1969)
Jon Small - drums (1964-1969)
John Dizek - vocals, harmonica, tambourine (1964-1968; died 2017)
Harry Weber - bass, organ (1964-1966)
Billy Joel - keyboards, vocals (1966-1969)
Howie Arthur Blauvelt - bass (1966-1968, 1968-1969; died 1993)
Glenn Evans, John Abrant, and Mike Cohen - road managers

Discography

Albums

The Hassles
Produced by Tony Michaels and Vinnie Gorman, The Hassles' eponymous debut album was released on November 21, 1967, and featured a number of cover versions of soul songs. The single "You've Got Me Hummin'" was number 112 for one week on the Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart, their only Billboard chart appearance. The title should in fact be spelt "You Got Me Hummin'". In 1983, Billy Joel released a solo live recording of "You Got Me Hummin'" as a B-side to his hit "Tell Her About It" (available on the 12" maxi single, with the 'special remixed version' of the A-side).

Track listing
"Warming Up" (W. Joel) - 1:38
"Just Holding On" (L. Weiss) - 2:06
"A Taste of Honey" (R. Marlow, B. Scott) - 4:17
"Every Step I Take (Every Move I Make)" (W. Joel, T. Michaels, V. Gorman) - 2:30
"Coloured Rain" (S.Winwood, J. Capaldi, C. Wood) (originally by Traffic) - 3:22
"I Hear Voices" (G. Stashuk) - 2:53
"I Can Tell" (W. Joel) - 2:57
"Giving Up (Version #2)" (V. McCoy) - 4:16
"Fever" (J. Davenport, E. Cooley) - 3:19
"You've Got Me Hummin'" (I. Hayes, D. Porter) - 2:27

1992 Re-issued CD with following Bonus Tracks
"I'm Thinkin'" - 2:05
"I'll Be Around" - 2:01
"When I Get Home" - 4:23
"It's Not Enough" - 2:46
"Love Luck" - 3:21
"Look And You Will Find" - 2:58
"Blow My Mind" - 2:14
"Giving Up (Version #1)" - 4:08

Hour of the Wolf
Produced by Thomas Kay, the Hassles' second album was released on January 23, 1969. All songs on this album were original recordings written by Billy Joel, except where noted.

Track listing
"Country Boy" (W. Joel, J. Small) 2:35
"Night After Day" - 3:11
"Hour Of The Wolf" (W. Joel, J. Dizek) - 11:58
"Four O'Clock In The Morning" - 3:12
"Cat" - 4:15
"Hotel St. George" - 5:00
"Land Of Despair" (W. Joel, J. Small) - 3:36
"Further Than Heaven" (W. Joel, J. Dizek) - 7:16

Singles
Single "Great Balls of Fire" (B-side "Travellin' Band') United Artists label (1969)

Compilations
In 1992, the first album was released on CD, with a number of bonus tracks
In 1999, Razor & Tie re-released the Hassles' two albums as a "best of" collection on a single Compact Disc with "Hotel St. George" missing, but also with additional bonus tracks
In 2000, a low quality re-release of Hour of the Wolf was released along with demos from Cold Spring Harbor as Billy Joel Sings
In 2004, the same Hour of the Wolf tracks from Billy Joel Sings were released separately as Billy Joel: The Early Years.

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