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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

GATES, DAVID (1940– ).

Primarily known as the front man for the 1970s soft-rock band Bread, David Gates was a composer and session man before his career blossomed. Born in Tulsa on December 11, 1940, Gates graduated from Will Rogers High School, and he played in the school band. In 1958 he began his career, singing and writing Rockabilly tunes, but he switched to studio work when he moved to Los Angeles. He did session work for Duane Eddy, Pat Boone, Glenn Campbell, Bobby Darin, and Ann-Margret. As an arranger or producer Gates cultivated a number of other artists' hit songs, including Connie Stevens's "A Girl Never Knows," Shelly Fabares's "He Don't Love Me," and Dorothy Berry's "You're So Fine."

In 1967 Gates produced a group called Pleasure Fair, featuring Robb Royer and James Griffin. Together they formed the band Bread. In 1969 the band had their first hit when Tulsa-born session drummer Jim Gordon joined the group for "It Don't Matter to Me." In 1970 Mike Botts replaced Gordon. This foursome would go on to score seven top-ten hits with songs such as "Make It With You," "If," "Baby I'm-a Want You," "Everything I Own," and "The Guitar Man." Gates did most of the writing. The band split up in 1973 and reunited briefly in 1976, scoring another hit, "Lost Without Your Love." In 1978 Gates penned the title song for Neil Simon's play The Goodbye Girl. In 1994 the musician released "Love is Always Seventeen," which charted in the top twenty. His soft style and sweet melodies coupled with his sentimental lyrics resulted in seven Gold Record awards and two Gold Single awards.

Whit Edwards


Patricia Romanowski Bashe and Holly George-Warren, eds., The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll (New York: Fireside, 1995).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Whit Edwards, “Gates, David,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=GA021.

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