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The FLYING HAT BAND was a Birmingham club act that during the early 70s ranked alongside JUDAS PRIEST as the hot Midlands favourites to succeed. The band had evolved from SHAVE N' DRY, an outfit that comprised of GLENN TIPTON, initially on keyboards and guitar, bassist Dave Shelton, vocalist Pete Hughes and drummer Barry 'Spence' Scrannage. This act switched names to MERLIN before becoming THE FLYING HAT BAND.

The FLYING HAT BAND, originally a quartet featuring vocalist Pete Hughes (who quit to join the army), went through numerous line-up changes with a turn over that included bassists Andy Wheeler and Frank Walker and drummer Trevor Foster. The latter joined folksters THE ALBION BAND. Vocalist Steve Burton (later to front STARFIGHTERS) also sang lead albeit briefly before the band split with Tipton opting to carry on with the name. Scrannage meanwhile had a brief stint (3 gigs) with BULLION, another Hard Rock act coincidently created by JUDAS PRIEST men guitarist Ernie Chataway and bassist Bruno Stapenhill.

Tipton finally settled the FLYING HAT BAND line up as a power trio with ex-JACKRAT man Steve Palmer on drums (brother of EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER's Carl) and bassist Mars Cowling. The latter from the bizarrely titled GNIDROLOG, a Progressive Rock act that issued two albums in 1972 'In Spite Of Harry's Toenail' and 'Lady Lake'.

The group actually recorded an album for Vertigo Records, but this was never released due to its supposed similarity to BLACK SABBATH. The band folded following a European support tour to DEEP PURPLE when Tipton joined JUDAS PRIEST in May 1974.

Bassist Mars Cowling later joined Canadian guitarist PAT TRAVERS and would turn up briefly in the late 80s in the ranks of the Miami based GYPSY QUEEN, a female led group fronted by the identical twin Mattioli sisters Pam and Paula. Drummer Steve Palmer joined FRAGILE and later MANTLE/SWALLOW/PALMER. Tipton, of course, achieved wider recognition as JUDAS PRIEST gained international recognition and multi-platinum status.

Mysteriously, in 1992, a German label known as Worldwide Records released a split CD featuring tracks alledgedly by THE FLYING HAT BAND and ANTROBUS titled 'Buried Together'.

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Flying Hat Band 1973