The group originally formed in 1967 in Ann Arbor, MI. The original lineup included Commander Cody himself (born George Frayne IV; piano), John Tichy (lead guitar), Steve Schwartz (guitar), Steve Davis (aka the West Virginia Creeper; bass), and Ralph Mallory (drums). When the group relocated to San Francisco the following year, only Frayne, Bolton
, and Tichy made the move; the group's membership had been bolstered to include Billy C. Farlow
(vocals, harp), Andy Stein
(fiddle, saxophone), guitarist Billy Kirchen
, bassist "Buffalo" Bruce Barlow, and drummer Lance Dickerson for their 1971 debut album, Lost in the Ozone.
The following year the group scored a fluke Top Ten hit with "Hot Rod Lincoln," taken from their first album, Lost in the Ozone. Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
were never able to capitalize on the single's success, partially because their albums never completely captured their live energy. They continued to release albums until Tichy left the band in 1976. Commander Cody released his first solo album, Midnight Man, in 1977, then he re-formed the group as the Commander Cody Band. The group recorded three albums between 1977 and 1980. In 2009, after a 23-year hiatus, Commander Cody returned to the studio for Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers, a collection of new songs and classics from the Cody catalog. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi