John Ford Coley rocks the Eastside Grille in Montgomery

John Ford Coley in concert at the Eastside Grille - Photo by Marc Parker
John Ford Coley in concert at the Eastside Grille - Photo by Marc Parker

Montgomery, AL – Those of us old enough to remember exactly where we were when we first heard “Nights are Forever Without You,” remembered those special times last night during a performance by a legendary artist.

Platinum and gold award winning recording singer/songwriter John Ford Coley performed that hit song and many more familiar numbers at the Eastside Grille on the Atlanta Highway in Montgomery.

During several songs he was joined by Leon Watson on bass, drummer Darla Patterson, and “Chris” on guitar, while on other tunes the audience was treated to Coley’s acoustic vocals with only a guitar for accompaniment.

Coley represents half of the 1970s popular musical duo, England Dan and John Ford Coley, but has been touring and performing for fans around the world as a solo act after the act split up many years ago. Dan Seals, his former partner, passed away from cancer earlier this year.

Crowd enjoying Coley's performance - Photo by Marc Parker
Crowd enjoying Coley's performance - Photo by Marc Parker

The singer played to a large crowd on the patio of the restaurant and the audience often joined him in singing the lyrics to such well-known songs as “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” “We’ll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again,” and “Love is the Answer.”

During the introduction of the 1977 top-charting single, “Sad to Belong,” Coley told the story of how he had erased it from his repertoire for many years.

“When it first came out it was just doing great,” Coley said. “But, then all of a sudden, people were calling the radio stations and complaining, saying that the song was about cheating. So, after much pressure, they took it off of the radio.”

“I went to the Philippines in 2000 and they wanted me to sing “Sad to Belong,” and I told them that I couldn’t because it was about cheating,” continued Coley. “They said they didn’t care and wanted me to play it anyway.”

“Well, after I prayed about it I came up for a great explanation for the song. It’s not about cheating… it’s about how to keep your marriage together. Essentially what the song says is marry your second spouse first.”

Coley performs a crowd favorite - Photo by Marc Parker
Coley performs a crowd favorite - Photo by Marc Parker

Later in the night, Coley dedicated “Make it With You” to the three deceased members of the pop-rock group Bread and also made a tribute to the late Dan Fogelberg by performing “Leader of the Band.”

After singing for about an hour and a half, Coley ended the concert with “Love is the Answer” which topped Billboard’s 100 Hot Singles Chart at #10 in April of 1979, but after much applause he returned to the stage with “Who’s Lonely Now” for an encore.

Coley explained that Montgomery is not the last stop of his latest tour.

“I’ll be in Atlanta tomorrow and we’re heading for Boston next week,” Coley said, as he spoke briefly with Our Prattville before the performance. “My wife will be traveling to Boston with me as she has never seen the city and it’s such a beautiful place. I’m very busy, but I prefer it that way.”

When Coley is not touring around the world, he lives with his wife, Dana, and two youngest children Dakota (15) and Clara (13) in the Nashville, Tennessee area.

Article by Melissa Parker

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