Rare Earth was the opening act at California Jam festival in Ontario, California on April 6, 1974.The festival attracted over 250,000 people, and the band appeared alongside 1970s rock groups Black Sabbath, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Deep Purple, Earth, Wind & Fire, Seals and Crofts, Black Oak Arkansas and the Eagles.This disc sold over one million copies and received a gold record awarded by the Recording Industry Association of America.The group gained a bit of notoriety when it was mentioned dismissively in Gil Scott-Heron's 1970 poem, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", which included the line, "The theme song [to the revolution] will not be written by Jim Webb, Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Engelbert Humperdinck, or the Rare Earth." In 1971 Richards left due to musical differences, and James, weary of the group's increased touring schedule, also departed.Their 1973 album, Ma, written and produced by Norman Whitfield, is considered one of their best overall works, and features their version of "Hum Along and Dance".Unfortunately, it didn't sell all that well and produced no hits.By 1972 Motown had decided to relocate from Detroit to Los Angeles and Rare Earth soon followed suit.Persh, however, decided not to make the move and was succeeded in the band by Mike Urso (Persh later died from a hospital staphylococcal infection on January 27, 1981).
The group's hits from late 1970 to early 1972 were "Born To Wander" (#17), "I Just Want to Celebrate" (#7), and "Hey, Big Brother" (#19). Nevertheless, the band continued to record into the 1990s.Portions of the show were broadcast on ABC Television in the U. In 1974 the group began working with Motown producer Frank Wilson on their next project.But in his autobiography, "Born to Wander", Hoorelbeke described his having objections when Wilson okayed a song contributed by Olson without running it by the others first.The record company did not have a name for the new label yet and the band jokingly suggested Motown call the label "Rare Earth".To the band's surprise, Motown decided to do just that.