Nightwing first appeared as a band in August 1980. The embryo of the band began in 1978 as Gordon Rowley and Friends when Kenny Newton and Gordon came together to play a few live dates with drummer Pete Livens and guitarist Eric Percival, while Gordon was waiting for clearance on his American work permits. Gordon had just left the very successful cult trio Strife after eight years to pursue a career in America after being asked to work with Crosby Stills and Nash during an American tour with Strife.
Prior to this, Gordon had turned down an offer to play bass for Rainbow. Keyboard player Kenny Netwon having just left Nutz (Rage) was also looking for a new direction and both Kenny and Gordon knew from their first rehearsal that they would form a permanent unit some time in the future.
Gordon left England for the USA and after several tours with Crosby Stills and Nash began working on a permanent basis for Graham Nash at his Los Angeles studio Rudy Records as a recording engineer.
This gave him the opportunity to work with many of the West Coast musicians including CSN, Jackson Browne, The Eagles and Joe Walsh and to participate in the legendary No Nukes concert at Madison Square Gardens.
During this time a Chicago based record company Ovation, heard a demo Gordon had been working on with Kenny during a holiday in England. The song was Graham Nash's Barrel of Pain. Ovation subsequently signed Gordon to a recording contract in 1980 and released Barrel of Pain in the USA to sensational critical acclaim. As a result the company asked for an album as follow up. Gordon set about putting a band together for the project with Kenny and musician friends, Eric Percival and drummer Paul Elson (who played Nightwing's first tour as well as appearing on 3 tracks on the album ?Something in the Air?). By September 1980 the line-up had changed to include drummer Steve Bartley and guitarist Alec Johnson. (Both former members of 'Magick' and the 'Alex Johnson Band' who'd gigged extensively in the UK) ?Something in the Air? subsequently appeared as Nightwing's first album.
By December 1981, the band had slimmed down to a four piece and a second album ?Black Summer? was followed by a huge European tour supporting Gillan. The band had such a huge response they were back in Europe straight after the tour, headlining in eight countries and Black Summer earning Gold and Silver Albums and entering the top ten in the charts in four countries..
The band started recording their third Album, ?Stand up and be counted? in November 1982 and again to ring the changes, Max Bacon (sometime vocalist with 'Bronze') was brought in as lead vocalist.
The album reached the top ten in the British Rock Charts and top ten in Scandinavia, Germany and Yugoslavia boosting the band's reputation even further. Following extensive European , British and American tours the band recorded their fourth album ?My Kingdom Come? in the summer of 1983 with Steve Hackett of Genesis co-producing with Gordon.
The completion of the album marked the exit from the band of Max and Alec. Gordon, Kenny and Steve continued the Nightwing project with the help of their record company Gull Records. Glynn Porrino guitarist with Charisma recording artistes Harvest Moon was brought in on guitar and Dave Evans former lead vocalist with DJM band Days of Grace completed the new line up. The band went into the studio and recorded the successful single ?Strangers are welcome?. They followed this up with a sell out European tour where Dave and Glynn immediately established an amazing following. Throughout the tour the band recorded shows for the album ?Night of Mystery ? Alive! Alive!? the most commercially successful album up to that time and securing a place in the magazine Music Week's top ten Rock Albums of 1985.
At the start of 1986 keyboard player Kerry Beswick replaced long serving member Kenny Newton who had decided to pursue other interests. With this new line up, Nightwing completed what was to be their final album ?Natural Survivors? and from the autumn of 1986 to the spring of 1987, the band toured in the UK, USA and throughout Europe. Sadly for the band, Gordon's health problems overwhelmed him and in the summer of 1987 time was called on the rock phenomenon known as Nightwing.