Open main menu

Pacific Gas & Electric was an American blues rock band in the late 1960s and early 1970s, led by singer Charlie Allen. Their biggest hit was the gospel-tinged "Are You Ready?" in 1970.

Pacific Gas & Electric
Also known asPacific Gas and Electric Blues Band, PG&E
OriginLos Angeles, California, United States
GenresBlues rock[1]
Rhythm and blues
Years active1967 (1967)–1973 (1973)
LabelsKent, Columbia, Dunhill
Associated actsCharlie Allen, Bluesberry Jam, Glenn Schwartz
Past membersCharlie Allen
Tom Marshall (1967–70)
Brent Block (1967–70)
Glenn Schwartz (1967–70)
Frank Cook (1967–70)
Ron Woods (1970–72)
Frank Petricca (1970–72)
Ken Utterback (1970–72)
Jerry Aiello (1971–72)
Stanley Abernathy (1971–72)
Paul Warren (1972)
Alfred Galagos (1971–72)
Virgil Gonsalves (1971–72)
Joe Lala (1971)



The band was formed in Los Angeles, California, United States, in 1967, by guitarist Tom Marshall, bassist Brent Block, lead guitarist Glenn Schwartz (formerly of The James Gang) and drummer Charlie Allen, who had previously played in the band Bluesberry Jam. When it became clear that Allen was the best singer in the new group, he became the front man, and Frank Cook, previously of Canned Heat, came into the band on drums. Originally known as the Pacific Gas and Electric Blues Band, they shortened their name when they signed to Kent Records, releasing the album Get It On in early 1968. The record was not a success, but following the band's performance at the Miami Pop Festival in May 1968 they were signed by Columbia Records.[2][3]

Their first album for Columbia, Pacific Gas and Electric, was issued in 1969, but they achieved greater success with their next album, Are You Ready, in 1970. The title track "Are You Ready?" reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.[4] After the album was recorded, Cook was injured in a car accident and was replaced on drums by Ron Woods, Cook staying on as manager. Marshall and Schwartz left and were replaced by Frank Petricca (bass) and Ken Utterback (guitar), with Brent Block moving to rhythm guitar before leaving later in 1970. Unusually for the time, the band contained both black and white musicians, which led to rioting and gunfire on one occasion when the band, who toured widely, performed in Raleigh, North Carolina.[2]

In 1971, the band changed their name to PG&E, following pressure from the utility company of the same name. The band also expanded, Allen, Woods, Petricca and Utterback being joined by Jerry Aiello (keyboards), Stanley Abernathy (trumpet), Alfred Galagos and Virgil Gonsalves (saxophones), and Joe Lala (percussion). They recorded the album PG&E, and also appeared in and provided music for the Otto Preminger film Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon starring Liza Minnelli. The band then split up. A final album using the name, Pacific Gas & Electric Starring Charlie Allen, was recorded by Allen with studio musicians and released on the Dunhill label in 1973.[2][3] For a time the group also included Rick Durrett formerly of the band The Coven on keyboards.[citation needed]

"You have to sympathize with a band whose tragic history includes the theft of their name—a name greater than Tongue & Groove or Nova Local–by a power monopoly ... Charlie Allen synthesizes Taj Mahal and Otis Redding (more Arthur Conley, actually) over a blues-soul ensemble without the chops or drive of the similar bands led by Delaney Bramlett, one of Pacific Gas & Electric's producers."

Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981)[5]

Tom Marshall later suffered deteriorating health and personal circumstances, being homeless since the 1980s.[6] Frank Petricca became a commodity broker.[7] Charlie Allen died on 7 May 1990, aged 48.[8] Schwartz died on November 3, 2018, at the age of 77.[9]



Year Album Billboard 200 Record label
1968 Get It On 159 Bright Orange Records
1969 Pacific Gas and Electric 91 Columbia Records
1970 Are You Ready? 101
1971 PG&E 182
1973 Starring Charlie Allen Dunhill Records
The Best of PG&E Columbia Records
2007 Live 'N' Kicking at Lexington Wounded Bird Records


Year Title Peak chart
Record Label B-side Album
1968 "Wade in the Water" Bright Orange Records "Live Love" Get It On
1969 "Bluesbuster" Columbia Records "Redneck" Pacific Gas and Electric
1970 "Are You Ready?" 14 49 44 "Staggolee" Are You Ready?
"Father Come on Home" 93 "Elvira"
"Stormy Times" - 81 Tempo Records Australia "Live Love"
1971 "The Hunter" 27 Kent Records "Long Handled Shovel" Motor City's Burning
"The Time Has Come (To Make Your Peace)" Columbia Records "Death Row #172" PG&E
"One More River to Cross" "Rock and Roller's Lament"
"Thank God for You Baby" 97 50 "See the Monkey Run"
1972 "(Love is Like a) Heat Wave" "We Did What We Could Do" The Best of PG&E


  1. ^ "Electric Bugaloo". Spin. Vol. 23 no. 5. May 2007. p. 36. ISSN 0886-3032.
  2. ^ a b c "Biography". 10 November 2010. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Pacific Gas & Electric — Biography & History — AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 531. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: P". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 10, 2019 – via
  6. ^ "Thomas Marshall". 2 October 2011. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-14. Retrieved 2010-05-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Rock, Doc. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1990 — 1991". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Cleveland musician Glenn Schwartz dies at 77". Retrieved 3 November 2018.