Band members                          Related acts

  line up 1 (1976-77)

- Robert Henrit -- drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Jim Rodford -- bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
- John Verity -- vocals, guitar 


  line up 2 (1977-80)

- Robert Henrit -- drums, percussion, backing vocals
NEW - Ray Minhinnet -- guitar (replaced Jim Rodford)
- John Verity -- vocals, guitar 




- Argent (Robert Henrit, Jim Rodford and John Verity)

- Charlie  (Robert Henrit and Jim Verity)
- The Kinks (Robert Henrit and Jim Rodford)
- Unit 4 Plus 2 (Robert Henrit)

- The John Verity Band


Rating: ** (2 stars)

Genre: rock

Title:  Phoenix: Henrit - Rodford - Verity

Company: Columbia

Catalog: PC 34476

Year: 1976

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3358

Price: $20.00


This English outfit is not to be confused by an early-1970s American outfit built around Chuck McCabe ... 

Following the 1976 breakup of Argent, drummer Robert Henrit, bassist/guitarist Jim Rodford and singer/guitarist John Verity hooked up to form the criminally overlooked Phoenix. 

Originally planning to operate as "H.V.R.", they quickly opted for Phoenix (as in rising out of the ashes),  signing with CBS in Europe and Columbia in the States.  The trio made their debut with 1977's  "Phoenix: Henrit - Rodford - Verity". Self-produced, you couldn't blame folks for expecting the set to be rather lame. Personally, I was hesitant to buy the LP expecting more of the overblown art-rock that ruined so many of Argent's latter albums. Guess what?  The album wasn't half bad.  Yeah, it was clearly a corporate product.  I could have done without the occasional Whitesnake fixation on power ballads like 'A Woman Like You' and 'I'll Be Back for More'.  Also, Verity's brushes with Rush-styled falsettos ('Drowning In Tears') didn't strike a positive chord with me.  Still,  most of the ten selections offered up the kind of quality AOR most big hair bands could only wish for.  Sure, neither Rodford nor Verity were most versatile vocalists (hum, where was Russ Ballard when you needed him), but they both made the most of their talents, turning in a set that was occasionally modestly enjoyable. Personal favorites, the hysterical 'Winnebago' (know of any other band that's recorded an ode to touring the USA in an recreational vehicle?) and the weirdly funky 'Mississippi Neckbone'. 


The band hit the road opening a European tour for Aerosmith.   Not that it mattered since an audience interested in punk aggression and disco madness wanted nothing to do with these guys and within a matter of months the LP was out of print ...

"Phoenix: Henrit - Rodford - Verity" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Easy  (John Verity) - 4:20  rating: **** stars

As a teenaged listener, for a couple of years in the mid-'70s I seem to recall AOR and progressive genres occasionally sharing common ground.   The ballad 'Easy' was one of those songs that seemingly spanned both genres.  Highly commercial, but with progressive elements buried throughout.  It was an awesome track to start the album with.  The track was released as a promo single in the UK.  Always wondered shy Columbia did released it in the States.


- 1975's 'Easy' b/w 'I'll Be Gone' (CBS catalog number S CBS 4769)


YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song for the Supersonic television performance.   Here's what Verity had to say about the video clip:  "The clip is from "Supersonic" which was a Saturday morning show featuring mostly pop acts at the time - I think we freaked them out a bit.  We were meant to be playing live, but they asked is to quickly record the track "live" beforehand so that we would avoid any technical hiccups when the show went out.  It's still quite raw - just the way we were ..."  Henrit sure had one big drum set !!! 

2.) Drowning In Tears   (Jim Rodford) - 4:08   rating; ** stars

'Drowning In Tears' showcased the band at the more progressive end of the spectrum.  That's not to say you were going to mistake them for Yes; maybe Styx ...   Can't say I found Verity's attempt to mimic Geddy Lee very enjoyable.
3.) From the Ashes  (John Verity) - 3:59  
rating; ** stars

As mentioned earlier, 'From the Ashes' was one of the band's big, power ballads.  Surprising it wasn't tapped as a single.  The band even recorded a promotion vide for the song.  Here's what John Verity had to say about the clip: "Shot at Shepperton Film Studios, we were making a promotional video for the first Phoenix album, trying to recreate the feel of the live shows we were doing at that time.  We used our full stage set-up from the time (though we were miming to the album tracks) in an attempt to get a live feel to the thing - dig that make-up !"   What was with the feather earring   Also, I guess they didn't figure out how to deal with the fact Verity was playing an acoustic guitar, but the soundtrack featured electric guitar solos. ?  
4.) Winnebago  (Robert Henrit) - 3:20   
rating: **** stars

The autobiographical 'Winnebago' was hysterical; one of the funniest touring songs you've ever heard.  Hard to imagine the RV industry didn't reach out to the band for permission to use it as a commercial.
5.) Try a Little Rock 'n' Roll  (John Verity) - 3:25  
rating; * star

Hum, 'Try a Little Rock 'n' Roll' found the band trying to get down and dirty.  In the process they managed to create one of the dullest, most derivative songs you'll ever hear.  Deadly dull ...

(side 2)

1.) A Woman Like You  (John Verity) - 6:25  rating: *** stars

 Yeah, powered by Verity's anguished vocals and sweet lead guitar, 'A Woman Like You' was another AOR power ballad.  So maybe my Whitesnake comparisons were a little harsh, but the general feel and comparisons were still apt.
2.) Mississippi Neckbone   (Jim Rodford) - 3:55  
rating: *** stars

The second Rodford composition, 'Mississippi Neckbone' found the band trying to get funky.  No idea what the tune was about, but  Verity's spacey guitar has always reminded me of David Bowie's 'Fashion'.  
3.) I'll Be Back for More  (John Verity) - 3:28   
rating; ** stars

So why not one more power ballad ?  Well, you could have made the argument it wasn't a very good idea since the song wasn't very good.
4.) Honey  (John Verity) - 3:55   
rating; ** stars

Hum, judging by 'Honey', blues-rock clearly wasn't their genre of choice.
5.) I'll Be Gone  (Robert Henrit) - 2:55 
rating: *** stars

Henrit's second contribution, 'I'll Be Gone' closed the set with a decent slice of boogie rock. Nice Verity solo, but otherwise it could have been any of dozens on competitors.


Verity has a website devoted to the band: 







Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  In Full View

Company: Charisma

Catalog: CAS-

Year: 1979

Grade (cover/record): --

Comments: --

Available: --

Price: --


With the debut generating little in the way of sales, Columbia wasted no time dropping the group from it's recording roster. Guitarist Rodford subsequently left to join The Kinks (see separate entry) and was replaced by Ray Minhinnet . After a two year break the new line up signed with Charisma Records. With the release of 1979's Stuart Love produced "In Full View" the trio retained a predominantly art-rock sound, but at least the had sense to include a Russ Ballard cover ("Just Another Day"). Again plagued by minimal attention and miniscule sales, by the end of 1980 the trio called it quits.

"In Full View" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Just Another Day (Russ Ballard)
2.) Foolin' Myself (Gould - Merrill)
3.) Into Your Blood (Ray Minhinnett - Phoenix)
4.) Don't Fool Me (Ray Minhinnett - Phoenix)

(side 2)

1.) I Don't Mind (Walden)
2.) Strong Love (Ray Minhinnett - Phoenix)
3.) I'm in Love (Robert Henrit - Ray Minhinnett - Phoenix)
4.) Angel (Ray Minhinnett - Phoenix)




A second album recorded for CBS but finished under the guidance of Rocket Records remains unreleased although a couple of singles - including a version of 'Time of the Season' - came out on Rocket.

'In Full View' was the third and final PHOENIX album recorded for Charisma Records without Jim Rodford who had left to join the KINKS. At this time the band also recorded a number of Russ Ballard songs including the original version of 'I surrender' - deemed by Charisma to be 'uncommercial' and subsequently a hit for Rainbow! Since the Phoenix and Rainbow versions were identical they were presumably both uncommercial...

PHOENIX then morphed into the band CHARLIE for one album on RCA records: 'Good Morning America' before Bob joined Jim in the KINKS and JV immersed himself into record production and the beginnings of a solo album: 'Interrupted Journey' complete with Henrit on drums...

JV continued with the record production and solo recording whilst Bob toured the world yet again with the Kinks. Never far apart, the pair were soon working together playing powerful blues/rock as the John Verity Band - until the demand and desire for a new Phoenix became just too strong.