LaFlamme, a former soloist with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, had previously been in the band Orkustra, and unusually, played a five-string violin. The other members were his wife Linda (keyboards), Pattie Santos (vocals), Hal Wagenet (guitar), Mitchell Holman (bass) and Val Fuentes (drums). Although they were one of the earliest and most important San Francisco bands to emerge from the Summer of Love, It’s a Beautiful Day never quite achieved the success of their contemporaries such as The Grateful Dead and Santana, with whom they had connections. It’s A Beautiful Day created a unique blend of rock, jazz, progressive folk, classical and world beat styles during the seven years the band was officially together.
The group's original manager, Matthew Katz, had previously been fired by both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape. Much to the surprise of the group, Katz was at first unable to get any paying gigs for It's A Beautiful Day in San Francisco. Their first paying gig was out of town, in Seattle, Washington.
The group's signature song "White Bird" was inspired by the experiences David and Linda LaFlamme had while living in Seattle. For the month of December 1967 the group members lived in the attic of an old house owned by Katz while playing and rehearsing at Seattle's Encore Ballroom. In an ironic twist on the band's name, the song was partly inspired by Seattle's rainy winter weather. In a later interview David LaFlamme said:
Where the 'white bird' thing came from ... We were like caged birds in that attic. We had no money, no transportation, the weather was miserable. We were just barely getting by on a very small food allowance provided to us. It was quite an experience, but it was very creative in a way.
The band's debut album, It's a Beautiful Day, released in 1969, featured the tracks "White Bird", "Hot Summer Day", "Time Is" and "Bombay Calling". The intro of the last was used, at a slower tempo, by Deep Purple as the intro to "Child in Time" on its In Rock album. The vocals and violin playing of David LaFlamme plus Pattie Santos' singing attracted attention including FM radio play, and nationally, "White Bird" bubbled under Billboard's Hot 100 chart, peaking at #118.
By 1970 the original lineup of the band had changed somewhat; the LaFlammes had split up and Linda left the band, replaced by Fred Webb. The following album, Marrying Maiden, released in 1970, included memorable tracks and was also a chart hit. In that year, the group also performed at the Holland Pop Festival at the Kralingse Bos in Rotterdam, Netherlands and at the UK Bath Festival.
The band continued on to record Choice Quality Stuff/Anytime in 1971 and the live album Live At Carnegie Hall in 1972, touring until 1974 when they split up. In 1976, LaFlamme's solo version of "White Bird" finally cracked the Hot 100 Chart, peaking at #89. Pattie Santos was killed in a car crash on December 14, 1989.
It's a Beautiful Day reunited in 1997 under the name "David LaFlamme Band" as well as "It's a Beautiful Day" as Katz briefly let his copyright of the name go un-renewed. The band features founder David LaFlamme and original drummer Val Fuentes. Other band members are LaFlamme's current wife, Linda Baker LaFlamme (vocals), Toby Gray (basses & producer), Gary Thomas (keyboards & producer), Rob Espinosa (guitars), Michael Prichard (percussion) and continue performing today (2009) having toured with Jefferson Starship in 2007, and LaFlamme contributed to Jefferson Starship's 2008 release, Jefferson's Tree of Liberty. This line up is the longest continual band that has ever performed the IABD material.
A version of "White Bird" by violinist Vanessa-Mae was released in 2001 and reached number 66 in the UK Singles Chart. and has also been recorded by Blue Grass virtuoso Sam Bush as well as countless other regional acts over the years.
* David LaFlamme - violin
* Linda LaFlamme - keyboards, background vocals, tambourine
* Pattie Santos - vocals
* Hal Wagenet - guitar
* Mitchell Holman - bass
* Val Fuentes - drums
* Fred Webb - keyboards (1970 - 1974)
* Bill Gregory - guitar (1971 - 1974)
* It's a Beautiful Day (1969) US Album Chart No. 47/UK Album Chart No. 58, 1970
* Marrying Maiden (1970) US Album Chart No. 28/UK Album Chart No. 45, 1970
* Choice Quality Stuff/Anytime (1971) US Album Chart No. 130
* Live At Carnegie Hall (1972) US Album Chart No. 144
* It's a Beautiful Day...Today (1972) US Album Chart No. 114
* 1001 Nights (Compilation) (1974)
* White Bird Amherst Records (1977)
* Inside Out Amherst Records (1978)
* It's A Beautiful Day / Marrying Maiden (Re-release) (1998)
* Beyond Dreams (2003)
* David LaFlamme - Live in Seattle (2003)
* David LaFlamme - Misery Loves Company (2005)
* "Bulgaria" / "Aquarian Dream" (1968) Sound 7
* "White Bird" / "Wasted Union Blues" (1969) Columbia 44928
* "Soapstone Mountain" / "Good Lovin'" (1970) Columbia 45152
* "The Dolphins" / "Do You Remember The Sun" (1970) Columbia 45309
* "Anytime" / "Oranges and Apples" (1972) Columbia 45536
* "White Bird" (live) / "Wasted Union Blues" (live) (1973) Columbia 45788
* "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby" / "Time" (1973) Columbia 45853