Bolstered by David Clayton-Thomas’ soulful vocals and a boisterous horn section, Blood, Sweat & Tears landed such hits as “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel” and “And When I Die” on the pop charts in the late ‘60s.
They headlined Woodstock and even won album of the year for their second self-titled album, besting The Beatles’ Abbey Road at the 1970 Grammy Awards.
Later that year, the band went on a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour behind the communist-controlled Iron Curtain, including Yugoslavia, Romania and Poland. A crew chronicled the tour with the intent of releasing a live film.
But the movie was never released. The footage allegedly disappeared and the band continued recording, but faded away from the charts.
What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears, a new documentary that features highlights from the more than 65 hours’ worth of found footage, will examine the politics surrounding the tour, the story of a band caught as a tool between the political Right and Left, a corrupt U.S. president and even the intrigue that ultimately involved the FBI and CIA.
Award-winning filmmaker John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary and this year’s Herb Alpert Is…) will write, produce and direct the documentary. The film could come out as early as the end of 2021.
“John Scheinfeld is a unique combination of filmmaker, historian and detective,” says BS&T’s Bobby Colomby, who went on to a career as a Columbia Records A&R executive. “He asked me a simple question: ‘What the hell happened to Blood Sweat & Tears?’ My convoluted answer somehow ignited an engine inside of John that was the beginning of an unexpected adventure: creating a documentary film to reveal the answer to this decades old question. This won’t be your typical music doc, in any way, shape or form.”
Scheinfeld’s Crew Neck Productions will work with Jesse James Films, a Los Angeles-based production company founded by James Sears Bryant and Jesse Murphy in 2019.
“The untold Blood Sweat & Tears’ journey is rare — it speaks to a generation,” said Bryant, who is financing and executive producing the film. “The parallels of what we are experiencing in our society today is uncanny and, truthfully, concerning. This story has the uncommon power to entertain and educate – and John Scheinfeld is a prolific filmmaker whose work has consistently excelled at both these callings. Jesse and I have always sought those Black Swan opportunities and candidly, this is it.”
Hope Bryant will oversee production on behalf of Jesse James. The company is represented by 3 Arts Entertainment with Jay Shanker of Crowe & Dunlevy.
Producers are looking for photos and memorabilia of the band from 1968 through 1971. To submit, go here.