Support Blue Horizon for Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
BLUE HORIZON 1974-1978, OELWEIN IOWA
Oelwein band Blue Horizon has been submitted for nomination to the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Adding your name to this petition will help ensure their chances of being honored in 2016.
Read the band biography below:
The core of Blue Horizon started in 1972 when Mike Vargason and Kelly Murphy were in 8th grade at Sacred Heart School in Oelwein, Iowa. Those two played a school variety show and later added a bass player and started playing live at local venues. That band ended when the bass player’s family moved out of town.
Within a year, Vargason called Murphy and said he had teamed up with some neighbors of his to play country music and needed a lead guitar player. Murphy joined bassist Rob Tatro, guitarist John Chapman and drummer Mike Vargason and they started playing throughout northeast Iowa.
They soon switched to rock music and changed their name to Blue Horizon. They added veteran drummer Tom Kammer who had played in bands since the age of seven. Chapman decided to leave the band and was replaced by Terry Wheeler from Independence. This was the lineup that made its mark on the Northeast Iowa rock music scene. However, during the later years, Blue Horizon added multi-percussionist Charlie Hallberg of Oelwein.
From 1974 to 1978 Blue Horizon performed nearly every Friday and Saturday night at hundreds of dances, showcases and concerts in ballrooms, county fairs, and high schools throughout the Midwest. A significant number of their gigs were for High School proms and homecoming dances, holiday parties, wedding dances, community celebrations and class reunions.
During the spring of 1977, Blue Horizon played 18 high school proms. Due to the band’s popularity, schools needed to book Blue Horizon as their prom band a year ahead and many schools changed their prom date to accommodate the band's availability. They played songs that people could dance to and sing along with and had a wide range of music types for all ages to enjoy. As teenagers, they spent countless hours learning the music that their fans wanted to hear on a Saturday night. Their music selection and stage presence made them one of the most versatile and sought after bands in Iowa.
The band featured strong vocal harmonies, two lead guitar players, and an electric violin that allowed them to play both original music and all the current hits of the day. Blue Horizon also distinguished themselves by performing deep album tracks by Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, Elvin Bishop, Steely Dan, The Beatles, Charlie Daniels Band, George Benson and Stevie Wonder. Blue Horizon was also one of the first regional bands that featured a talkbox when covering Peter Frampton music.
Blue Horizon appeared in concert with multiple Midwest bands including the Minnesota band Judd and future IRRHOF bands Headstone and Dahcotah.
After Blue Horizon disbanded in 1978, the musical careers of each individual member continued in new bands based out of Iowa, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Indiana.
Blue Horizon got back together for two standing-room-only reunion concerts in 1991 and 2001.
For more information on the history of Blue Horizon including rare recordings of live performances, copy the url below and paste into your browser: