California duo Mike Brewer
and Tom Shipley
began their careers separately on the 1960s Los Angeles folk club circuit before teaming up to write and perform together. Their song "Keeper of the Seven Keys" was recorded by H.P. Lovecraft
and also appeared on their 1968 debut, Down in L.A.
Their second album, Weeds
, featured guest appearances by Jerry Garcia
, Mike Bloomfield
, and Nicky Hopkins
. In 1971, the duo scored a surprise Top Ten hit with "One Toke Over the Line," in spite of radio bans owing to the song's marijuana-oriented lyrics. Following this success, Brewer and Shipley
moved to rural Missouri, but their appeal dwindled, and the partnership was dissolved in 1979. Brewer
recorded the solo album Beauty Lies
in 1983. At the request of a Kansas City radio station, Brewer & Shipley
reunited for a concert in 1989 and began touring occasionally. In 1995, the duo released their first album in almost 20 years, Shanghai
followed two years later.