Rare Earth is an American rock band affiliated with Motown's Rare Earth record label (which was named after the band), which prospered in 1970–1972. Although not the first white band signed to Motown, Rare Earth was the first big hit-making act signed by Motown that consisted only of white members. (The Rustix, The Dalton Boys and The Underdogs were signed previously and were all-white acts, but did not have any hits.)
The group formed in 1960 as The Sunliners and changed its name to Rare Earth in 1968. After recording an unsuccessful debut album, Dream/Answers, on the Verve label in 1968, the group was signed to Motown in 1969. The band was one of the first acts signed to a new Motown imprint that would be dedicated to white rock acts. 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.
The main personnel in the group included: Gil Bridges (saxophone, flute and vocals ), Peter Hoorelbeke a.k.a. Peter Rivera (lead vocals and drums), John Parrish a.k.a. John Persh (bass guitar,trombone and vocals), Rod Richards (born Rod Cox, guitar, vocals) and Kenny James (born Ken Folcik, keyboards). The group's recording style was hard-driving.
In late 1969 Edward "Eddie" Guzman (congas and assorted percussive instruments) was added to the group.
During 1969 the group contributed music to the film Generation that starred David Janssen and Kim Darby, but a proposed accompanying soundtrack album was canceled after the film failed commercially and many of the songs appeared on the band's next album, Ecology, in 1970.
Rare Earth had a number of Top 40 hits in the 1970–71 period, including covers of The Temptations' "(I Know) I'm Losing You" (which was used in the documentary video It's Time) and "Get Ready". Both were more successful than The Temptations' originals, with "Get Ready" being their biggest hit, peaking at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. 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 the lyrics to 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 byGlen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Engelbert Humperdinck, or the Rare Earth."