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Gamma was a band formed by guitarist Ronnie Montrose and singer Davey Pattison in San Franciscomarker in 1979. They released four albums: Gamma 1 in 1979, Gamma 2 in 1980, Gamma 3 in 1982 (all on Elektra Records) and Gamma 4 in 2005. Their best known song is probably "Fight to the Finish" from their first album, but another popular song was "Meanstreak".


Ronnie Montrose put the band together after having released a solo album (Open Fire) in 1978, after having disbanded the hard rock band Montrose in 1977. Gamma were a far more AOR-oriented band than Montrose, and used a lot of the latest keyboard technology in their sound.

Their debut album Gamma 1 was released in 1979 and reached #131 on the Billboard Album charts, totalling 17 weeks on the survey. Gamma scored a hit single with "I'm Alive" which got to #60 on Billboard's Singles charts. The original lineup of Ronnie Montrose (guitars), Davey Pattison (vocals), Alan Fitzgerald (bass), Jim Alcivar (keyboards) and Skip Gillette (drums) recorded this album.

Gamma 2 was issued in 1980. Alan Fitzgerald (who later joined Night Ranger as their keyboardist) was replaced by bassist Glenn Letsch, and Denny Carmassi came in on drums. The album had a memorable cover design by Mick Haggerty, featuring 2 sharks with only their fins visible burrowing through a lawn that was being sprinkled. The album peaked at #65, and featured a heavier sound. (e.g. "Mean Streak" and "Cat On A Leash"). There was also a cover version of Thunderclap Newman's classic "Something in the Air". It was produced by Gary Lyons and Ronnie Montrose.

Jim Alcivar was replaced by Mitchell Froom and Gamma 3 was released in 1982. The album reached #72 and produced the single "Right The First Time" which reached #77 on the charts and #10 on Billboard's Album Rock Tracks chart. In Canada, "Right The FIrst Time" peaked at #27, making the song the band's only top 40 hit on a national pop chart. The album's opening track, "What's Gone Is Gone", and tracks like "No Way Out", were arena rockers, while others like "Condition Yellow" and "Moving Violation", continued the odd writing style and sounds that the band started with on their debut album.

However, Gamma's label Elektra Records never really promoted the band, and with only moderate sales, they disbanded.

  • Ronnie Montrose resumed solo activities, releasing a series of instrumental albums with little success, before reforming Montrose in 1987 with a new lineup.

  • Davey Pattison went on to sing for Robin Trower, and also sang on two songs from Ronnie Montrose's 1990 solo album, "The Diva Station".


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