In 1977, bassist Mark Egan joined, with Mays, Metheny, and Gottlieb, and the first version of the Pat Metheny Group had been formed. Metheny's follow-up album formalized the relationship, and featured several songs co-written with Mays; the album was released in 1978 as the self-titled Pat Metheny Group on the ECM label. The second group album, American Garage (1980) was a breakout hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Jazz chart and crossing over onto the pop charts as well, largely on the strength of the up-tempo opening track "(Cross the) Heartland" which would become an early signature tune for the group. This first incarnation of the group included drummer Danny Gottleib and Mark Egan on bass guitar. The group built upon its success through lengthy tours in the USA and Europe. The early group featured a unique sound, particularly due to Metheny's Gibson ES-175 guitar coupled to two digital delay units and Mays' Oberheim synthesizer and Yamaha Organ. Even in this early state the band played in a wide range of styles from experimental to grassroots music. Later on, Metheny began working with the Roland GR300 guitar synthesizer and a Synclavier System, while Mays expanded his setup with a Prophet 5 synthesizer designed by Sequential Circuits, and later with many other synthesizers.
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