Orleans is best known as the Pop/Rock band that brought you the classic 70s hits Still The One, Dance With Me and Love Takes Time.
John Hall had just finished a stint as guitarist for Taj Mahal and opening to Santana in Europe with Karen Dalton when he decided to start a band in Woodstock NY, moving from sideman to singer/songwriter. Drummer Wells Kelly migrated from Ithaca, NY to Woodstock in January 1972 to join Hall, recommending multi-instrumentalist Larry Hoppen for the open bass guitar position. Hall, Kelly and Hoppen played tirelessly up and down the “East Coast Corridor” and all over the Northeast for nine months, then added Lance Hoppen (Larry’s younger brother) fresh out of high school on bass, building on the already strong vocals and freeing Larry to play keyboards, guitar and trumpet. This formed the quartet that would record its debut LP in 1973 at the legendary Muscle Shoals Studio in Alabama.
During the mid-70s Orleans released two albums on Asylum (Let There Be Music, Waking and Dreaming), which included the iconic megahits Dance With Me and Still The One. Showcasing vocal and instrumental strengths while touring with artists such as Jackson Browne, Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Marshall Tucker Band, Chicago and numerous others, they expanded their fan base by going well beyond the radio songs.
Long an environmental activist, John left the band in 1977 to pursue a solo career. Co-organizing MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), they recorded the 1979 “No Nukes” concerts with Jackson Browne, the Doobie Brothers, Crosby Stills and Nash, Bruce Springsteen, and many more influential artists, which featured the Hall-penned anthem, Power. The John Hall Band produced a pair of albums during that same time period, garnering acclaim with Crazy on radio and MTV.
Meanwhile, Larry and Lance Hoppen along with Wells Kelly continued the string of Orleans hits with Love Takes Time in 1979.
John returned to Orleans in late 1984 in the wake of the Wells’ untimely death. The three surviving co-founders would play live together nearly every year from then forward, highlighted by two tours of Japan, an appearance at Woodstock ’94 and 1995’s Can’t Stop Rockin’ tour with Fleetwood Mac, REO Speedwagon and Pat Benetar.
John once again departed the band when he was elected to Congress in 2006, serving NY’s Hudson Valley for two terms. Larry and Lance forged ahead until Orleans experienced tragedy with the sudden passing of mainstay Larry Hoppen on July 24th, 2012.
While there is no replacing Larry, the decision was made to somehow continue to perform the remaining shows of the year’s calendar. Co-founder Lance Hoppen, along with current members Lane Hoppen, Fly Amero and Charlie Morgan were rejoined by co-founder John Hall in order to continue with dignity and integrity what had been started over 40 years ago
Now in it’s 41st year, Orleans has produced a body of work spanning 16 albums and several DVDs. The band continues to be in great demand internationally for live performances, as they have been for four decades.
Lance Hoppen has resided in Nashville TN for nearly 25 years now, where he has done some session and production work. When not touring with Orleans, he has been on the road with many hit Country/Pop acts including Baillie & the Boys, Suzy Bogguss, Chely Wright, Matraca Berg, Andy Griggs and others. As a member of the multi-artist ensemble known as Rock & Pop Masters, he has worked with everyone from Felix Cavaliere (the Rascals) to Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer to Don Barnes (38 Special) to Dennis DeYoung (Styx) to Bret Michaels (Poison) to Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad) to John Ford Coley, Robbie Dupree, David Pack (Ambrosia) and many, many more stars.
In addition to co-writing hits like Still the One and Dance With Me for Orleans, John Hall has penned tunes for artists from Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt to Ricky Skaggs and James Taylor. He’s back on stage with Orleans again, writing new songs and working on a book about how a rock guitarist wound up in the House.