Blood, Sweat & Tears doc being produced about band’s controversial 1970 Iron Curtain tour

An upcoming documentary about Blood, Sweat & Tears is in the works that will focus on why the popularity of the horn-driven jazz-rock band, which topped the charts in the late 1960s and early ’70s, faded so quickly.

The film, What the Hell Happened to Blood Sweat & Tears?, will examine whether a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of the then-Communist countries of Yugoslavia, Romania and Poland in 1970 was responsible for a backlash against the band in America.

The documentary is being directed by John Scheinfeld, whose previous films include The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Who Is Harry Nilsson (and Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? and Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary.

Regarding how the new film came about, founding Blood, Sweat & Tears drummer Bobby Colomby notes, “John Scheinfeld is a unique combination of filmmaker, historian and detective…He asked me a simple question: ‘What the hell happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears?’ My convoluted answer somehow ignited an engine inside of John that was the beginning of an unexpected adventure: creating a documentary film to reveal the answer to this decades old question.”

At the center of the movie is footage of a 53-minute film Scheinfeld rediscovered that documented the group’s experience touring behind the Iron Curtain. According to a press release about the upcoming doc, the 1970 film raised questions involving “the FBI, CIA, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Republicans and Democrats and the secret police of three nations.”

A trailer for What the Hell Happened to Blood Sweat & Tears? featuring 1970 footage of band members addressing the media, talking politics with fans and performing in Poland, has been posted on YouTube.

The movie’s producers are seeking Blood, Sweat & Tears photos and memorabilia from 1968 through 1971 for use in the project.

By Matt Friedlander
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