Mercy Flight
The Band beside Steel Mill
by member Tom "Cool" Yolton

Mercy Flight (circa. 1969-73) was a Richmond, Virginia college rock band. The members were Robbin Thompson(vocals), Art Stacy(bass), Jim Van Kueren(guitar),Dave Hazlett(drums) and Tom Cool Yolton(Guitar) Starting as a blues/rock band covering some of the tunes of the day we began writing our own original songs shortly after our exposure to the Springsteen Steel Mill sound. Springsteen's success at using original songs in his show inspired Mercy Flight to go after the same achievement. We became an opening act for Steel Mill. We even did some shows in New Jersey with Steel Mill. One being a high school senior prom where Steel Mill went first and then Mercy Flight closed! Mercy Flights prominence on the scene enabled us to open for other acts as well. We opened for the Chamber Brothers, we did a home coming show with Paul Butterfield Blues Band.We did a stadium show with Frigid Pink. wow! Plus concerts of our own.

Mercy Flight was a good band. We did original songs, had an exciting sound, a good singer, and we were starting to have a following. It was after a show that Robbin announced that he was leaving the band to join Bruce Springsteen's band. "What..what...what did you say?..join Springsteen...he doesn't need a singer...he's the singer" we said. "How did this come about?" Apparently there were discussions going on behind peoples backs and the members of Mercy Flight were the last to know. To this day I'm still puzzled at Springsteen's need for our singer but by the next week Robbin had packed his stuff and headed to Asbury Park N.J. Mercy Flight was left flabbergasted. Here we had worked all summer building a sound and a name and now we were left without the singer. It was the end of the summer when this happened and the members of the band returned to school. We continued as a band with different singers but never really wrote any more songs and never did anymore shows with Springsteen after that . Robbin returned to Richmond after the break-up of Steel Mill but Mercy Flight had already found another singer.Mercy Flight continued as a band until 1973.


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