Glass Harp is a Youngstown, Ohio based power trio consisting of guitarist Phil Keaggy, drummer John Sferra and bassist Daniel Pecchio.
Phil Keaggy was a member of a mid-1960s garage rock band called the Squires; one of their songs, which he co-wrote, appears on the compilation album Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Volume 9. In 1967 he moved on to briefly record with the band The New Hudson Exit. At one point, the band had considered Joe Walsh as its lead guitarist. Walsh would later establish himself as guitarist for the James Gang before embarking on a solo career and work with the Eagles.
In 1968, Keaggy and longtime friend drummer John Sferra, along with bassist Steve Markulin, formed the band Glass Harp. The band gigged in and around the Youngstown, Ohio, area, finding work anywhere from school dances to clubs. This incarnation of the band recorded several demos, and released the single "Where Did My World Come From?" on the United Audio label in 1969.
Markulin left the group to join his cousin Joe in another successful Youngstown band, The Human Beinz. Keaggy and Sferra then recruited bass player Daniel Pecchio. Pecchio, formerly of the band The Poppy, was also a flautist, a talent that would later be showcased on a few of Glass Harp's songs. Having recorded a new set of demos and signing with new management, the band set out to polish their live act and shop for a recording deal.
The band quickly found a following in the thriving music scene of Northeast Ohio, particularly alongside contemporaries such as The James Gang. Glass Harp was especially popular at the legendary JB's in Kent, Ohio, playing to packed houses during the volatile days surrounding the anti-war demonstrations at Kent State University.
With their latest demos having found the ears of Grammy Award-winning producer Lewis Merenstein, Glass Harp began work on their first album for the Decca label in the fall of 1970. The debut album (as well as the two subsequent studio albums) was recorded in Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Studios with Merenstein as producer. Years later, a story would circulate widely and persistently concerning Keaggy and Hendrix. It has been said that during an episode of The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson asked Hendrix, "Who is the best guitarist in the world?" Hendrix is said to have answered, "Phil Keaggy." Another version of the story has Hendrix being asked, "Jimi, how does it feel to be the world's greatest guitar player?" To which Hendrix supposedly replied, "I don't know, you'll have to ask Phil Keaggy!" This account is sometimes attributed to a magazine interview in either Rolling Stone or Guitar Player. Occasionally the story has the setting for the question being the Dick Cavett Show. Other versions have the question being posed to Eric Clapton. A more recent variant has Eddie Van Halen being asked the question by either David Letterman or Barbara Walters. Keaggy has long insisted that such stories are completely unfounded, noting that "it was impossible that Jimi Hendrix could ever have heard me...We...recorded our first album at Electric Lady Studios two weeks after his unfortunate death, so I just can’t imagine how he could’ve heard me. I think it’s just a rumor that someone’s kept alive, and it must be titillating enough to keep an interest there...So I don’t think it was said…and that’s it for that!"
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