|08-02-2013, 11:16 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2013
A Concise History of Bubblegum
If we’re going to trace the history of bubblegum music, let’s do it right and start with the source. The source is not a band or set of bands. The source is a record company. To give a little history, the late 40s saw a rise in “minority labels” i.e. small labels that put out “race music” which included both black and “hillbilly” styles, which had become popular after WW2. Most of these labels were tiny, subsisting on a single band and, not infrequently, a single song. Minority music entrepreneurs had to be sharp and savvy for their label to survive the fierce competition. Many were ruthless and disreputable and a good A&R man or label owner had to learn the ropes and learn them quick.
Those that did became the movers and shakers of the rocknroll era. Aside from Sam Phillips at Sun, there was Lew Chudd of Imperial Records who gave us Fats Domino, Art Rupe of Specialty Records who gave us Little Richard and Sam Cooke, Leonard and Phil Chess who gave us Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, the Bihari Bros. of Modern Records who gave us B.B. King. Not to mention Jerry Wexler, Max Silverman and Herb Abramson who helped Ahmet Ertegun found Atlantic Records. Another of these entrepreneurs was George Goldner.
Goldner started his first label, Tico, in 1948. It was strictly for Latin music (which he loved). Branching into blues and R&B, Goldner founded Rama Records in 1953. He signed the Crows who recorded a hit called “Gee,” an early rocknroll number. With the money from that record, Goldner then founded Gee Records and signed Frankie Lyman & the Teenagers. By 1955, Goldner sold 50% interest in all three labels to Joe Kolsky in partnership with Morris Levy. In 1957, Goldner and Kolsky founded Roulette Records with Morris Levy as president. Goldner then sold his shares to his partners later that year and went off to found other labels. One of them, End Records, signed Little Anthony & the Imperials. Eventually, Goldner would sell these labels to Morris Levy as well. In 1964, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller founded Red Bird Records to cash in on the girl group sound. The first act to sign on Red Bird were the Dixie Cups whose two excellent hits, “Chapel of Love” (1964) and “Iko Iko” (1965), were early examples of what would become bubblegum. Goldner joined Lieber and Stoller as a co-founder in 1965 but, typically, left a short time later.
Going To The Chapel Of Love- The Dixie Cups - YouTube
One of the men Goldner had hired in 1955 as an assistant was Artie Ripp. Ripp learned the industry upside down and backwards under Goldner’s tutelage. By the time Goldner sold his second round of labels to Roulette in the early 60s, Ripp had left and co-founded Kama Sutra Productions in 1964 along with partners Hy Mizrahi and Phil Steinberg. Kama Sutra Productions was a hit factory employing people to write hit songs for them to peddle much like Don Kirshner’s Brill Building in New York where songwriting talents as Goffin-King churned out hit after hit. Kama Sutra saw some success as hit peddlers and figured they could rake it in if they signed up their own bands and had them record the songs and then distribute those recordings on their own label thereby keeping all the money in-house. In 1965, Kama Sutra Productions brought in Art Kass, an accountant from MGM, and became Kama Sutra Records. MGM agreed to distribute them. That year, one of Kama Sutra’s clients, the Lovin’ Spoonful (under control of Koppelman-Rubin Productions), gave the label one of their biggest hits, “Do You Believe in Magic.”
In fact, Kama Sutra lived off Spoonful’s hits for the next couple of years. While much of the Spoonful’s music was rather sweet and had some teen appeal, they were not a bubblegum band. They were a true band with legitimate folk and folk-rock credentials prior to forming the Spoonful. In fact, fans regarded them as folk-rock despite the fact that their music was nominally folky at best and the label made them dress in some decidedly non-folky clothing in their publicity shots. Even though Kama Sutra wanted to present the Spoonful as a “good times” band, songs as “Summer in the City” and “Nashville Cats” are simply not bubblegum. The Spoonful evolved over time as all bands must. Bubblegum bands never evolved because they weren’t real bands and played only what they were told to play by their producers and performed these songs strictly for the money. The Lovin’ Spoonful probably lent some influence to the bubblegum industry due to their proximity to the people who created it but they are today rightfully regarded as a legitimate rock band.
Rain On The Roof-Lyrics- Lovin' Spoonful - YouTube
To be sure, there was a proto-gum contingent for some years prior to the emergence of bubblegum. We can go back to the Chordettes with their 1958 hit “Lollipop.” Certainly this was without a doubt an early form of gum. The songwriters wrote it as a joke because their more serious material wasn't getting notice. They released this only to watch it shoot up the charts. This version was released under the name Ron & Ruby. The Chordettes, 40s swing jazz singers in need of a rocknroll hit, covered it and scored huge. The Youtube clip below has over 5.3 millions views!!
Chordettes - Lollipop - YouTube
The year before, Buddy Holly had released “Peggy Sue” which certainly had a gummy quality and no doubt served as the primary influence of Tommy Roe’s 1962 hit, “Sheila” which even steals the paradiddle tombeat from Holly’s song. Roe, in fact, went on to become a major force in bubblegum, much of the formation of which can be attributed to him and, through Roe, back to Holly.
Tommy Roe - Sheila ( 1962 ) - YouTube
Another hit from ’62 that touched upon gum was Freddie “Boom Boom” Cannon’s “Palisades Park” (written by Chuck Barris) with jumpy adolescent melody and beat coupled with Farfisa organ riff.
Another early gum pioneer was Lesley Gore with her 1963 hits “It’s My Party” and “Judy’s Turn to Cry.” Both songs crafted to appeal to the West Coast valley girl in all her self-centered, spoiled, vapid splendor. Strictly speaking, Gore’s material is not bubblegum but it definitely served as a forerunner and certainly garnered many fans in that same market (I was 5 and can remember my 8-year-old sister and her friends constantly singing “Judy’s Turn to Cry”) but it was actually geared closer to 16-year-olds than 12-year-olds (neither of whom consider the other to be in the same generation). Typical of many gum artists, Gore was actually a superb jazz singer who could only get notice doing this kind of material. She actually knew nothing of the valley girl lifestyle and didn't care to. Gore still performs today but is strictly jazz.
In ’63, we also saw the release of “Sugar Shack” by Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs, another proto-gum aimed at a somewhat older audience but for which all the signatures of true bubblegum were present including using “sugar” in the title and a sexually non-threatening penny whistle riff to offset the somewhat racy lyrics punctuated with a growly bass sax to emphasize the sexual undercurrent.
Jimmy Gilmer -
One of the primary sources of bubblegum structure comes from soul and, specifically, Motown songs and arrangements. The string section for 1965’s smash “Can’t Help Myself” was borrowed and recycled by Bubblegum producers as Lew Warburton countless times. Much of Holland-Dozier-Holland can, in fact, be classified as proto-gum. “Can’t Help Myself” is itself a proto-gum song as evidenced by it’s more popular second title, “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch,” parts of which seem to have served as a model for Edison Lighthouse’s 1970 hit, “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” or Jay & the Techniques’ 1967 hit, “Keep the Ball Rollin’.”
EDISON LIGHTHOUSE- "LOVE GROWS(WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES)" - YouTube
Another Holland-Dozier-Holland number from ‘65 gave us another important proto-gum piece—the Isley Bros. and “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You).” Perhaps more than any other song, this one was pulled to pieces and carefully dissected by the bubblegum writers. The melody turns up in countless ways, e.g. 1970’s “My Baby Loves Lovin’” by White Plains (which, not coincidentally, is sung by Tony Burrows, who also sang for Edison Lighthouse), Kenny O’Dell’s 1967 gummy hit, “Beautiful People,” and the Grass Roots 1971 hit, “Sooner or Later” and recycled yet again on McCartney’s “Silly Love Songs.”
Kenny O'Dell - Beautiful People (1967) - YouTube
Another example of proto-gum would be Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 song, “Sugar Town” written by her producer and collaborator, Lee Hazelwood. While Ms. Sinatra was certainly not a bubblegum artist and “Sugar Town” was actually more popular among older people than the bubblegum audience, the song itself presents us with a recipe for fashioning gummy songs right down to using “Sugar” in the title and lyrics of a “not a care in the world” bent. In addition, a harpsichord can be heard which later made its presence felt in bubblegum also due to its light, silvery, child-like sound. “Sugar Town” is not true bubblegum as it actually exhorts adults to revert to child-like optimism whereas bubblegum was never made to address that audience, in fact, ignored it completely. After all, kids just wanna dance and who cares what grown-ups wanna do? But this was clearly an attempt to cash in on the bubblegum craze.
NANCY SINATRA - Sugar Town 1967 - YouTube
Damn, what a...err...voice!
|08-02-2013, 11:36 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2013
The Sinatra album that featured “Sugar Town,” in fact, was titled “Sugar” which may refer to the 1928 song by songwriting great Maceo Pinkard (1897-1962) who co-wrote the 1925 hit “Sweet Georgia Brown” (which just happens to be the first song on Ms. Sinatra’s album). Pinkard, whose writing career stretched from 1914 to 1940, also wrote “Sweet Man” the same year as “Sweet Georgia Brown.” While he wrote quite a number of hardboiled songs as “Strictly Cullud Affair” (1932), Pinkard also wrote many of the sugarcoated pop songs of his day such as “Gimme A Little Kiss, Will Ya, Huh.” So, in this sense, Pinkard may qualify as a very early gum writer since he meets many of the proper criteria—a throwback that helped pave the way for black proto-gum writers as Holland-Dozier-Holland.
Jelly Roll Morton - Sweet Man - YouTube
Jelly Roll Morton's piano roll version of "Sweet Man" by Maceo Pickard, 1925.
Another important source of bubblegum and actually shared a good deal of common ground was the garage band. In this case, we refer to a genre rather than the junior high kids down the street. Garage bands started that way but perfected this sound into something viable on the market. One example was the Shadows of Knight with their remake of the Van Morrison & Them staple, “Gloria.”
The Standells were another garage band that was popular. They had a bad reputation because their lyrics were racy for that time as in the song “Dirty Water” when they sing of going “down by the river with muggers and lovers and thieves—they’re groovy people!” This kind of got them in hot water rather than the dirty variety. Their single “Try It” was penned by Ritchie Cordell and was promptly banned in some areas. As a joke, a DJ edited the song with bleeps inserted at points said to be offensive but the censored version became the most popular. The uncensored version was frankly anti-climactic since there wasn’t really anything offensive in what was being bleeped out of an ordinary love song with a bit of saucy sexuality thrown in. At least the bleeped version lent more of a bad-boy air to the Standells who even found themselves debating the merits of the song on the air with Art Linkletter.
The Standells-Try It - YouTube
A special case of the garage band that played quite a role in influencing bubblegum is that of surf. A music already built for teen appeal using the basic rock band setup with fresh, upbeat dance numbers loosely and lightly based on rockabilly and doo-wop, full of energy but devoid of any overt sexuality—more based on West Coast high school hedonism than lowdown grease-quiffed hard blues cig-huffing crooners as Gene Vincent. Everything from the Beach Boys to Jan & Dean to the Hondells to the Safaris to the Rivieras to Gary Lewis & the Playboys served as fodder for bubblegum. Quite a number of gumball songs could have been given surf-oriented lyrics and been pronounced textbook perfect cases of surf music—the relationship between the two genres being so close.
The Rock & Roll Dubble Bubble Trading Card Co. - "Bubble Gum Music" - YouTube
While a pure bubblegum song, the melody could easily have been used for a surf tune.
The novelty song also covers much of the same territory as bubblegum. The reason is easy to understand. Novelty songs are not to be taken seriously, inherently deal with infantile subjects or viewpoints and consequently are enjoyed by kids more than adults. Whether we’re talking Napoleon XIV’s “They’re Coming To Take Me Away,” the Royal Guardsmen’s “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron,” or the Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding” the song structure is going to resonate more among children than grown-ups. Many bubblegum songs bordered on being novelty songs to the point where the bubblegum genre might even be characterized as special case novelty tunes.
The Pipkins - Gimme Dat Ding - YouTube
Featuring Tony Burrows on lead vocals once again.
In 1966, Kama Sutra started what would become the formula of bubblegum: Artie Ripp knew that Kama Sutra needed to expand. Ripp wanted veteran writers and performers that he could coax the proper material from. He called Pete Anders and Vinnie Poncia at Red Bird (co-founded by Ripp’s old boss, George Goldner) and induced them, with promises of higher pay and more production work, to come work for Kama Sutra (Red Bird folded later that year). Anders and Poncia masqueraded as two bands: the Trade Winds and the Innocence (and even included Ripp in their album cover photos as though he was a band member) and enjoyed some chart success. This practice of a cabal of producers and writers masquerading as various bands would become a staple in bubblegum (in fact, the Innocence masqueraded as the 1910 Fruitgum Company for the 1969 single “Indian Giver”).
Kama Sutra seemed to be looking ready for 1967 with some decent chart successes—most of them from the Spoonful. But within the company, turmoil had developed between the label and MGM the distributor. Art Kass, dissatisfied with the current situation which MGM was unwilling talk about, founded his own label, Buddah. The label didn’t operate entirely separate from Kama Sutra but no band signed to Buddah operated under Kama Sutra’s agreement with MGM (oddly, the Kama Sutra is a Hindu work but the label featured a Buddha in the logo while the Buddah logo featured a Hindu Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva image).
Kass then hired Neil Bogatz away from his post as VP and sales manager at Cameo-Parkway Records (a.k.a. CamPark Records). Bogatz, who went by the name Bogart, had known Kass back at MGM when Bogart had been a general manager there. Bogart teamed up at Buddah with two studio wizards he had known while at CamPark, Jeff Katz and Jerry Kasenetz, known collectively as Super K. They had in 1967 produced the hit, “Little Bit O’ Soul,” by Ohio band, Music Explosion, a garage song based on Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” riff, for Laurie Records before coming to Buddah. This was the Holy Trinity of bubblegum: Kasenetz, Katz and Bogart.
The first thing Super K and Bogart wanted to do was find a good garage band that would do some songs crafted purely as adolescent entertainment where they knew a lot of money was to be taken. Jeff Katz’s father told his son about a good garage band he had seen called the Jeckells and Hydes (after guitarist Frank Jeckell). They had also called themselves Lower Road and then Odyssey. Katz and Kasenetz caught the band in New Jersey playing at someone’s house, liked singer/organist Mark Gutkowski’s voice and decided to sign them. Super K told the band that they would have to change their name to the 1910 Fruitgum Company. Their style of sounding something like Procol Harum would also have to change. Super K already had songs for them to record. The band agreed and went into the studio in 1967 to record “Simon Says”—a song they disliked until they decided to give it a “Wooly Bully” beat. At this point, virtually all historians of contemporary music agree, bubblegum music started.
1910 Fruitgum Company - YouTube
|08-02-2013, 11:56 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2013
Sometime apparently in early or mid ’67, a Buddah employee heard a finished demo of a song with music by Paul Leka and lyrics by Shelley Pinz. It was called “Green Tambourine.” The demo was produced by Leka. The band, out of Oxford, Ohio, didn’t like the song. Buddah had signed this psychedelic unit and Bogart wanted to find them a song with big hit potential—their own material being too rocking and esoteric for teenyboppers. That band—Ivan Browne (vocals), Bill Bartlett (guitar), Steve Walmsley (bass), Reg Nave (keyboards), and Bill Albaugh (drums)—was originally Tony & the Bandits until Ivan Browne replaced Tony in 1966. The band then became the Lemon Pipers (Browne stated that the idea was not his and that he never liked the name).
Supposedly, the band had attracted the attention of Super K who put them under the direction of Leka and Pinz but this is not likely (Ivan Browne stated that neither of the K's had anything to do with the career of the Lemon Pipers, even stating that he had never met them). The employee told Bogart about the recording saying it seemed to be perfect for the band and they were about to trash it. Bogart listened to the demo and intervened telling the band that “Green Tambourine” was going to be a hit and they needed a hit. The Pipers resisted and Bogart told them point blank that they either record it and release it or they would be dropped from the label. They recorded and released it in the fall of ’67 along with an album of the same name. It immediately caught on in the teen market. Within a short while, the single went #1 on the charts, a first for Buddah.
THE LEMON PIPERS- " GREEN TAMBOURINE " - YouTube
There is some debate about whether the “Green Tambourine” is bubblegum or psychedelia. Ivan Browne stated unequivocally that the song was not bubblegum. Whatever, Bogart liked it when he heard it—psychedelic enough for a band like the Lemon Pipers but with enough hooks to catch themselves entire schools of adolescents and you couldn’t match that cool Gypsy tambourine tag at the end which was rather ungummy. Certainly Leka and Pinz considered “Green Tambourine” both gum and psychedelia as they had the Decca band Peppermint Rainbow cut their own version in 1969 even borrowing the Lemon Pipers’ original instrument tracks and having the band simply sing over them. Rumor has it that the employee who had brought the song to Bogart’s attention was Gary Katz (no relation to Jeff Katz of Super K), who would produce all of Steely Dan’s material as well as signing up some of the most influential acts in contemporary music (I can find no evidence that Gary Katz ever worked for Neil Bogart or Buddah Records).
Super K were also interested in another Ohio garage band Rare Breed (apparently also called Sir Timothy & the Royals) who were signed to CamPark Records before Super K’s departure. CamPark released their single “Beg, Borrow and Steal” written by producer/singer/songwriter Joey Levine which was pure garage and built out of “Louie Louie.” CamPark had renamed the band the Ohio Express and “Beg, Borrow and Steal” would be one of the last of that label’s hits. Levine had also written songs for the Standells. He had formed a band in 1967 called Third Rail along with another producer and songwriter, Artie Resnick and his wife Kris who also wrote songs (Artie and Kris had written “I Need You Girl” covered by the Royal Guardsmen). They had a minor proto-gum hit called “Run, Run, Run” (which was actually disguised social commentary). Now all three rails were at Buddah and looking to put something out. So Super K simply created a new Ohio Express composed of Dale Powers (lead guitar), Doug Grassel (rhythm guitar), Dean Kastran (bass), Jim Pflayer (keyboards) and Tim Corwin (drums). Levine would handle vocals. Super K, Levine and the Resnicks would act as writers, arrangers and producers of the material (according to Kastran, the band lineup was the same since “Beg, Borrow and Steal” back at CamPark and was the original lineup from the Sir Timothy days with the exception of Levine and continued to exist with this lineup unaltered after Levine’s departure in ‘69).
One of the songs the newly constituted Ohio Express recorded for Buddah was the 1968 smash single “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” written by Levine and Artie Resnick (allegedly for Jay & the Techniques, who turned it down as too pigeon-holing). Backing vocals were supplied by Jim Sohns, leader of the now-defunct Shadows of Knight. He would sing backup on most of their songs. As Buddah’s follow-up to “Simon Says” (which Sohns also sang backup on) the kids ate it up like ice cream and bubblegum was on the musical map.
Ohio Express - Yummy Yummy Yummy [Lyrics] - YouTube
Bubblegum bands were faceless for the most part. No one knew what the Ohio Express looked like, for example, and it didn’t matter. The band wasn’t the important thing—the music was because that was the commodity being sold. However, a face, a pitchman, for bubblegum began to emerge in the late 60s. An orange-haired, freckled boy who played guitar and sang with a sweet voice. What made him perfect for the role was that he was a cartoon and his name was Archibald Andrews but the world knew him simply as Archie. That Archie came to personify bubblegum music is a little strange when we realize that Archie comix made their debut in 1941! A creation of 21-year-old cartoonist Bob Montana who based the characters on real people he had known while attending high school in Haverhill, Massachusetts in the late 30s, Archie debuted in Pep Comics #22 two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Pep Comics were published by MLJ Comics which started in 1939. Archie was a huge, immediate hit with teens. An Archie radio show was next (television was only getting started then). So heavy was the demand for Archie comix that, in 1946, MLJ Comics changed their named to Archie Comics. In the 50s, Montana and Archie Comics brought in cartoonist Dan DeCarlo to help update the characters and he would update them again in the 60s. DeCarlo would then draw two Archie spin-offs—Sabrina the Teenaged Witch and Josie and the Pussycats, both huge hits among the teen girl crowd. Montana would continue to draw Archie until his death in 1975.
When Archie became a television cartoon in 1968, the makers of the series wanted to make the central characters into a band featuring Archibald “Archie” Andrews (guitar, lead vocals), Elizabeth “Betty” Cooper (percussion, backing vocal), Veronica “Ronnie/Ron” Lodge (organ, backing vocal), Reginald “Reggie” Mantle (bass, backing vocal) and Forsythe Pendleton “Jughead” Jones III (drums). Studio executives at the Calendar label put Don Kirshner in charge of overseeing the project. Kirshner hired producer/songwriter Jeff Barry to come up with a trademark song for the Archies. Barry wrote “Bang-Shang-A-Lang” and singer Ron Dante was brought in to sing it. To promote the song, Kirshner even had the record grooves of the song embossed on the backs of cereal boxes so that kids could cut out the record from the box and play it on a turntable--an ingenious and tremendously successful marketing ploy (the first time I had heard “Bang-Shang-A-Lang” was when my kid brother and I cut it from the back of a cereal box and, in fact, everybody my age says the same thing). The song made the charts quite admirably.
The Archies Bang-Shang-A-Lang - YouTube
With the encouraging success of “Bang-Shang-A-Lang,” in ’68, Kirshner and Calendar were ready to do a follow-up hit for the now highly popular cartoon group. This time a Lebanese-Canadian gum artist named Andrew Youakim (Andy Kim) was brought in to assist Barry in writing a new song. Kim’s 1969 hit, “Baby, I Love You” was a Ronettes number co-written by Barry, Ellie Greenwich (Barry’s wife) and Phil Spector. Dante was brought in once again to do the vocals with back up vocals by Toni Wine. The result was “Sugar, Sugar” which became a #1 hit in 1969 and RIAA Record of the Year. Dante’s earlier effort that year, “Tracy,” was recorded on Decca under the name the Cuff Links was already peaking at #9 so it was a good year for Dante. “Sugar, Sugar” became arguably the most typical bubblegum song of the entire genre and hence did Archie become the face of the bubblegum industry despite the fact that Super K and Buddah Records had started the whole thing and Archie had actually preceded bubblegum by about 25 years or more.
The Cuff Links - Tracy - YouTube
What constitutes bubblegum is open to question. But essentially, we’re talking simplistic lyrics often based on popular children rhymes. Games are often mentioned in the lyrics or titles and are often used metaphorically for adolescent sexual exploration and hanky-panky. Candy and gum themes are also present in the title or lyrics and often as metaphors for the…uh…“charms” of a female (and a 12-year-old female at that). This is nothing new—rockabilly had made a name for itself in the 50s doing this same thing using nursery rhymes and saccharine-sweet innuendo such as Eddie Cochran’s line from “Completely Sweet”: “Sugar in my coffee/Sugar in my tea/ They both taste better with a little sugar on my knee.” But rockabilly was aimed at an older audience employing the innocent metaphors to thwart the mores of the 50s, which were certainly stricter than in the 60s. Gum songs often employed a straight 8-count beat—the Wooly bully beat—as it provides younger kids with a very simple yet energetic, hopping dance beat they can relate to.
The background vocals were usually more prominent in gum songs and were the equal of the lead vocalist rather than a mere vocal embellishment. Another prime ingredient to a bubblegum was the presence of the Farfisa organ. The Farfisa had a shrill, thin tone—a “toy” sound like a peanut whistle—that came across as childlike and sexually non-threatening. When even a Farfisa seemed a bit too heavy-handed, bubblegum sometimes switched to the harpsichord (“Wait Till Tomorrow,” “I Think I Love You”). Hard to imagine “Simon Says,” “Chewy, Chewy” or “Little Bit O’ Soul” without a Farfisa. There are exceptions such as “Sugar Sugar” which uses a Rhodes and vibraphone instead of a Farfisa. “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” doesn’t appear to have utilized a keyboard at all (although some say it has one but that it is very faint). So, while many gum tunes shared common ground, not all of them did and yet were undoubtedly still bubblegum. Perhaps the only common denominator between various gum songs was excellent bass-playing.
Salt Water Taffy - Finders Keepers
In fact, even the term “bubblegum music” was contrived by Super K. Neil Bogart wanted this music to be given a name so that kids could identify it and identify with it. When Super K suggested “bubblegum,” Bogart loved it and so that was how the name started. Bogart later stated, “Bubblegum music is pure entertainment. It's about sunshine and going places and falling in love and dancing for the fun of it. It's not about war and poverty and disease and rioting, and frustration and making money and lying and all the things that 'really' matter. It's not about these things and that is why it is so popular. It's about the good things in life... that sometimes (you) lose sight of ... but can find again.”
What musicians and writers found was a little extra money on the side writing and playing bubblegum. How many people know that Barry White had earlier been a songwriter for the Banana Splits? Ron Dante wanted to expand on the Archies as a band instead of a mere studio/cartoon creation with Archie as the only voice. Dante wanted to continue to sing as Archie but wanted to feature more songs sung by Betty and Veronica. Perhaps Reggie could sing some of the more hard-edged numbers. Dante even envisioned Jughead as a grunge rocker and wanted to do a Jughead solo project that was gum/grunge/garage numbers heavy on the drums but totally accessible by teen girls. Dante even went to Archie Comics to demand control of all recorded Archie material which, at the time of this writing, he expects to receive. Dante apparently doesn’t see the music of the Archies as being separate from him.
This doesn’t mean, however, that all the bands that played bubblegum liked it. Most of them hated it. Their reasons have more to do with their own creativity being stifled by being forced to perform studio crap rather than any highbrow notions about music in general. Ohio Express was a manic rock band that electrified their fans with their live performances and were highly popular in central Ohio. By contrast, their studio presence was extremely watered-down and barely noteworthy beyond being a famous bubblegum vehicle for Joey Levine. The 1910 Fruitgum Company toured during the height of their fame as the original band Super K had come to see in New Jersey. After launching into a bubblegum song to start the show, they would stop after a couple of bars while Gutkowski blew his nose on the sheet music, wadded it up and threw it off the stage. The band would then launch into the high-energy rock music they loved and had played before Buddah turned them into a bubblegum hit factory and would play that way for the rest of the show whether the audience liked it or not.
|08-02-2013, 12:26 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2013
Bubblegum brought indelible changes to the music industry. The idea of producers writing songs and hiring or signing bands to do them became a standard as did producers forming their own bands. This was a staple in the soul music genre going on at the same time. Alan Parsons Project was not considered bubblegum and yet a group of producers looking to engineer their own hit material by playing it themselves along with a few hired-in musicians was exactly what they were. Parsons engineered Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” which influenced his later work with the Project whose connection to bubblegum is apparent, though, when we remember that Parsons’ first hit as a producer was Pilot’s gum-oriented “Magic” from 1975 (also based on the HDH hit “This Old Heart of Mine”). Pilot, from Scotland, consisted of David Paton (guitar, bass, vocals), Bill Lyall (keyboards) and Stuart Tosh (drums). Within a year, Pilot had been more or less absorbed into the Alan Parsons Project. Bill Lyall (who coauthored “Magic” with Paton) died of AIDS in 1989.
Pilot - Magic - You Tube Exclusive! - IN STEREO - YouTube
Pilot of Scotland were all past members of the Bay City Rollers, a band that had been around since the 60s. All would go on to play for the Alan Parsons Project. Stuart Tosh played all the drums on "I, Robot" and Dave Paton played all the bass and some of the guitar work. Lyall wasn't on that album but he did play on other APP releases.
Although now viewed as defunct, bubblegum never died. Every boy band in existence owes that existence to bubblegum. Justin Bieber owes his career to this genre although bubblegum was less a genre as it was an industry. Rock music toned down for 11-year-old girls and geared to things they could understand—dancing, kissing, crushes, cuddling, teen romance and, yes, bubblegum—all set to exuberant, sweetened melodies to hide the sexual metaphors.
When we get past the obligatory contempt towards this shallow, expedient trash called bubblegum, we discover some rather admittedly excellent songs expertly performed, recorded and produced by people who knew exactly what the hell they were doing. If one thinks that being a bubblegum musician was something any musical hack could do, one would be tragically mistaken. Bubblegum musicians were some of the best in the recording industry simply because they could have been virtually any musician in the industry—best or worst—in need of a gig…and musicians are always in need of a gig. If you were a gum musician, you had to come down to the studio ON TIME, hear the song, learn the song, record the song and do all this in no more than two hours (and were very fortunate to get that much time). The musicianship had to be just right. It had to fit the song convincingly. On top of that, the song had to hit or nobody called you again. There was no such thing as a label nurturing a bubblegum band. Those guys just played what they were told, when they were told. They weren’t an investment for the future, they were to produce hits immediately and do it every time for as long as public demand lasted. It was a hard way to pay the rent. But at least, for a time, it did.
The Lemon Pipers had two bubblegum releases following “Green Tambourine”: another Leka-Pinz song, “Rice is Nice” (from the 1967 Green Tambourine LP, produced by Leka) and the pseudo-acid sounding name of “Jelly Jungle (Orange Marmalade),” also written by Leka and Pinz and which Ivan Browne called pure bubblegum (but sounds more psychedelic than the very gummy “Rice is Nice”). This song came from a very nice album, Jungle Marmalade, produced by Paul Leka in 1968, but the band and Buddah were simply not agreeing over the band’s direction—according to Browne, the Lemon Pipers sounded nothing like what was on the Buddah recordings but were much more on the rocknroll side of psychedelia (more like the far more underground cut “Dead End Street/Half Light” from Jungle Marmalade) and the band was very unhappy about the decidedly un-rock direction they were going—so much so that they broke up in 1969.
The Lemon Pipers - Half Light (1968) - YouTube
Guitarist Bill Bartlett stuck around, joining the band August in 1973 who were signed to Buddah. When this fizzled, Bartlett co-founded Ram Jam who, in 1977, released the rockin’ blues, “Black Betty,” on their first album, a rather spirited rendition of a Leadbelly song that Bartlett had recorded on Epic with an earlier band out of Cincinnati but which didn’t chart. Epic had Bartlett and Ram Jam re-cut the song and were rewarded with a hit. Apparently unaware of the song’s origin, the NAACP and CORE pronounced it racist. A perfect example of post-gum, Super K produced Ram Jam’s first album upon which Artie Resnick co-wrote “Too Bad On Your Birthday.”
Another example of post-gum bands were the Boston-based Cars. The Cars’ songs, mostly written by Ric Ocasek, were simplistic, 8-count-beat-oriented, melodically light, lyrically unsophisticated. The essential bubblegum recipe for making music specifically geared to a teeny-bopper audience. A synth replaced the Farfisa organ. The hit “Just What I Needed” virtually steals the beginning of “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” and not by coincidence.
Speaking of the Ohio Express, they continued on after Levine’s departure when Super K went to England to talk musician/songwriter Graham Gouldman into writing bubblegum for them as the latest incarnation of the Ohio Express. Gouldman had come out of the Mindbenders (after the departure of Wayne Fontana). Gouldman was not small potatoes by any means. He was a surprisingly successful and yet unknown songwriter who had written “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul” for the Yardbirds, and “Look Through Any Window” and “Bus Stop” for the Hollies as well as "No Milk Today" for Herman's Hermits. Gouldman (usually bass) teamed up with fellow ex-Mindbender Eric Stewart (usually guitar), a friend from an earlier band—drummer/vocalist Kevin Godley, and Lol Creme (guitar/keyboards). In 1969, the band released “Sausalito” (sung by Gouldman) on Buddah. The band also recorded under Super K’s auspices for other labels and under other band names usually with Gouldman singing lead including Fighter Squadron, Silver Fleet, Crazy Elephant and Freddy & the Dreamers (“Susan’s Tuba” b/w “You Hurt Me Girl,” 1970, Philips—a million-seller). Kevin Godley stated, “We did a lot of tracks in a very short time – it was really like a machine. Twenty tracks in about two weeks – a lot of crap really – really ****. We used to do the voices, everything – it saved 'em money. We even did the female backing vocals.” By 1972, with much musical and studio experience under their belts thanks to Super K, the Ohio Express of Manchester, England had mutated into the highly successful 10 c.c. (who did eventually work with Gary Katz, for what that’s worth, and Eric Stewart would work in the Alan Parsons Project also).
Further strange connections pop up when we realize that the Mindbenders' 1966 hit "Groovy Kind of Love" was written by two 17-year-old high school girls--Toni Wine and Carol Bayer. Bayer eventually married Burt Bacharach for a time and had a solo career as Carol Bayer Sager. Wine went on to write songs for various acts including "Candida" by Tony Orlando & Dawn. She co-wrote a number of Archies songs and was the singing voices of both Betty and Veronica on all the Archies recordings including "Sugar Sugar".
By 1970, Kama Sutra got back in the saddle signing and recording a bar band discovered by Joe Rock called The Jaggerz. A bubblegum hit resulted—“The Rapper.” A few years later, the Jaggerz’s lead singer/guitarist, Dominic Ierace, would join Wild Cherry still giddy from the huge success of 1976’s biggest funk hit, “Play That Funky Music.” Ierace became tight with the band’s keyboardist, Mark Avsec. They formed the Cruisers, writing and scoring a hit in 1980, “Ah, Leah” under the name Donnie Iris.
Joey Levine went on to become a jingle writer for Madison Avenue. He wrote the "Toyota oh what you do for me" jingle as well as the "Sometimes you feel like a nut" song for the Peter Paul Almond Joy commercials.
Earlier, I mentioned that Motown songs seem to serve as a base for certain bubblegum stylings and particularly the songs of Holland-Dozier-Holland, who eventually left Motown to form their own label, Hot Wax/Invictus Records who signed the Honey Cone (“Want-Ads”) who were produced by “General” Norman Johnson, lead singer of another Invictus band, Chairmen of the Board (“Give Me Just a Little More Time”). Hot Wax/Invictus also gave us Freda Payne (“Band of Gold”), 8th Day (“She’s Not Just Another Woman”) and Flaming Ember (“Mind, Body and Soul”). The Hot Wax/Invictus roster was a masterful tightrope act balancing between soul and gum. Not surprising then that Buddah was the distributor of Hot Wax. They also distributed Curtis Mayfield’s label, Curtom, who had signed the Staple Singers (“I’ll Take You There”) and the Stairsteps (“Ooh, Child”). During that time, Mayfield recorded and released “Freddie’s Dead” and “Superfly.” Buddah also distributed Sussex Records who had signed Bill Withers and, during that time, Withers recorded and released “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean On Me.”
After the success of the 1966 hit, “Walk Away, Renee” by the Left Banke, lead singer Steve Martin signed with Buddah in 1971 producing a great single, “Two By Two” b/w “Love Songs In The Night.” Ostensibly a Martin solo project, the band was almost entirely the original Left Banke. One member of the band, Michael Brown (primary author of “Renee”), signed with Buddah after forming a new band called Stories. They released an excellent album in early 1972 called Stories About Us. The album yielded a minor hit, “I’m Comin’ Home.” Brown left the band by April of that year and the singing duties fell to raspy-voiced Ian Lloyd. They covered Hot Chocolate’s “Brother Louie” and garnered a #1 slot on the pop charts in 1973. The string section revealed it to be a post-gum.
Buddah branched out into other genres besides gum, psychedelia and good-times pop when they signed Gladys Knight & the Pips for some of their most enduring recordings including “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Buddah also delved into the bizarre side of things by signing Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band.
In the wake of the demise of classic bubblegum, those labels that had profited from the venture were now hard put to survive as bubblegum was no longer selling as it once did. Many record companies were forced to do some radical reshuffling. The British label, Bell, which had put out records by Crazy Elephant, Tony Orlando & Dawn, the Partridge Family, Edison Lighthouse, the Bay City Rollers, Sweet, Suzi Quatro, the 5th Dimension, Barry Manilow and Barry Blue was combined with Colgems (Columbia-Screen Gems, the Monkees’ label) and Colpix by Clive Davis in 1974 to form Arista Records. After the merger, many of the acts, as Tony Orlando & Dawn and the 5th Dimension, were simply cut loose.
Lou Christie who had a hit with "Lightning Strikes" recorded for Buddah at the end of his popularity releasing one final hit that was undoubtedly a gum song:
Lou Christie - "I'm Gonna Make You Mine" - YouTube
Neil Bogart left Buddah and went on to found Casablanca Records in 1973 and signed on such acts as KISS, Donna Summer, the Hudson Brothers, Village People, Cher, The Captain & Tennille, Parliament, Stephanie Mills and Angel. Casablanca also signed Lipps, Inc., Cameo and Irene Cara. The label went defunct in 1984, outlasting Buddah by only a year. A new Casablanca Records was formed in 2004 but has no connection to the original. Buddah was reconstituted as Buddha but it too has little connection to the original company. Kama Sutra was reconstituted simply as Sutra.
|08-03-2013, 09:22 AM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2009
Bravo! This thread is brilliant. I've always wanted to do something like this but I feared social retribution and castigation. There is some really great music that has been maliciously labelled "bubble gum" by the self appointed cultural arbiters. It's time to come out of the closet and declared your secret devotion to bubblegum. (Just in case you're wondering: No, I'm not being sarcastic. I loved this music as a kid and why shouldn't I continue to love it as an adult?)
There are two types of music: the first type is the blues and the second type is all the other stuff.
Townes Van Zandt
Last edited by Gavin B.; 08-03-2013 at 09:28 AM.
|08-03-2013, 10:37 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2013
Son, you just earned yourself a Flying Machine. Now fly! FLLLLYYYYY!!!
The Flying Machine - Smile A Little Smile For Me - YouTube
|08-04-2013, 10:01 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2013
Hey kids, there's a special on bubblegum at the candy store! Why, just look at these I got for a penny each:
White Plains - My Baby Loves Lovin' - YouTube
(Tony Burrows on vocals AGAIN!!)
Every Mother's Son - Come On Down To My Boat (stereo) - YouTube
(The guys I most want to be like when I finally grow up.)
The Monkees - Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) - YouTube
(Priceless footage of a bubblegum dance party in this one. One can also see Rose Marie in the footage as well and isn't it a little strange her name is mentioned in Flying Machine's "Smile a Little Smile for Me"? Coincidence or the greatest conspiracy/secret of all time?? Where's Edward Snowden when you need him, that Archie-asswipe-lookalike?)
Keep The Ball Rolling live Jay and the Techniques - YouTube
(Allentown salutes you!)
Tommy Roe Dizzy - YouTube
(I actually remember seeing this the night it aired! Is this bubblegum or what?)
Turtles - You Baby - WTAI Bubblerock - YouTube
(This is from "Where the Action Is" which was a 60s rock show that used to come on ABC at 4:00 pm every week day. Timed so that kids could watch it just as they got home from school. I never missed it. Of course, all the acts were lip-syncing but everybody knew that. It was in black and white even though color TV was starting to become available. Cheaper, I guess.)
Yellow Balloon - - - - - The Yellow Balloon - YouTube
(Great f-ucking song! The drummer for The Yellow Balloon was Don Grady who was more famously known as "Robbie Douglas" on the hit TV show "MY Three Sons." He didn't want his fame to interfere with the band's own merit so he called himself Luke R. Yoo.)
Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus-Quick Joey Small (Run Joey Run)-45 RPM - YouTube
(The Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus featured Joey "Yummy Yummy Yummy" Levine on vocals. It demonstrates the close bond between bubblegum and garage music. While almost pure garage, the female vocals sound like something young girls recite when they are jumping rope. This song also prefigures the coming of punk and shows that punk is, in fact, linked to bubblegum through the garage band. If you doubt this, bear in mind that when Jeffrey Ross Hyman helped form the Ramones, he chose the name "Joey Ramone" in honor of Joey Levine. It's also strange to realize how much bubblegum owes to Jewish studio mavens--George Goldner, Artie Ripp, Art Kass, Neil Bogart, Super K, Joey Levine, Artie Resnick--all Jewish. For that matter, so were Joey Ramone and Graham Gouldman.)
Brady Bunch "It's A Sunshine Day" + Lyrics - YouTube
(While I wasn't a big Brady Bunch watcher, I did watch it a little--everybody did. And while every guy had a crush on Marcia, I had the hots for Jan. She was more my own age and that long, blonde hair with the granny glasses absolutely drove me out of my f-ucking mind. And who could forget the "Marcia Marcia Marcia!" incident? That made me cream! Little Jan inspired a great deal of underwear change at my house, boy, let me tell you!! The other guys could gang rape Marcia if they preferred but I wanted Jan all to myself. Boy, she was the quintessential, perfect bubblegum princess! I just looked her up, she's still a good-looking woman! So there you go. Great song, by the way.)
Ohio Express - Sausalito (Is The Place To Go) 1969 - YouTube
(This was the British Ohio Express that became 10 CC. Written and sung by Graham Gouldman.)
Bobby Sherman - Easy Come, Easy Go - YouTube
(Bobby Sherman represented a new crop of bubblegum artist where the artist was as much the vehicle as the music. He had already established himself in American culture at that time by being a regular on the TV show "Here Come the Brides." He wasn't the first to do this. Shelly Fabares who sang the now-classic "Johnny Angel" was Mary Stone on the "Donna Reed Show" and continued to play that role for a couple of years after she became a huge singing star. Sherman had a number of hits besides this--"Little Woman" and, of course, "Julie Do You Love Me?" Once again, great bass-playing on this one.)
All Together Now The Beatles HD - YouTube
Perhaps the greatest bubblegum song ever written. This is PURE bubblegum.
Last edited by Lord Larehip; 08-04-2013 at 10:17 AM.
|08-04-2013, 10:44 AM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NY baby
I want to read this thread and enjoy some of the music in it but all of those youtube vids are killing me smalls.
You need to start putting them behind the spoiler tag.
This post shows you where it is but I thought there was a post saying how to use it. Play around with it and you'll figure it out. It's pretty easy for a scholar such as yourself.
Fame, fortune, power, titties. People say these are the most crucial things in life, but you can have a pocket full o' gold and it doesn't mean sh*t if you don't have someone to share that gold with. Seems simple. Yet it's an important lesson to learn. Even lone wolves run in packs sometimes.
|08-05-2013, 11:31 AM||#9 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2013
In 1968, the Lost In Space episode "The Promised Planet" aired. The Robinsons had finally reach Alpha Centauri, their intended destination and the nearest star to our sun. To their surprise, the land on a planet populated by teenagers. The head teenager is Bart.
Immediately, Penny is drawn into this culture whenever they play a certain music as shown in the clip below:
WFLD Ch. 32 - Lost In Space - "The Promised Planet" Preview, 1980 - YouTube
Yes, it's bubblegum music. In fact, it sounds eerily like 1910 Fruitgum Company's "1 2 3 Redlight." Penny has to dance whenever she hears it. Will tried to prevent it but to no avail. Bubblegum was made for teen girls and they will have Penny no matter what. The race of teens want to keep Penny and she, seduced by bubblegum, wants to stay.
Meanwhile, Dr. Smith is skulking around as he generally does every episode and finds out that Bart is really a bubbleheaded alien (a reference to bubblegum?) and the alien threatens to kill Smith if he tells anyone what he saw. Smith's memory gets erased and he becomes a pathetic, long-haired, aging hippie.
The rest of the oldsters, mainly the other Robinsons, the teen-aliens want gone. They know the Penny will age, something they can't do, and they want to find out why.
The metaphor is obvious. Bart represents the record execs who push bubblegum. He looks like any other kid but he's not a kid, he's an alien (a Jewish entrepreneur?). His music seduces kids and keeps them from growing up and makes them rebel against their "olders."
Smith is the pathetic old square who tries to fit in with the kids because he wants to be seen as with it and cool (a liberal?) or he's just an old perv who wants access to young, hot chicks (me?). He is tolerated by the kids but regarded with contempt.
In the end, the Robinsons take Penny and Smith back and leave the planet in a big hurry. A computer voice, tells Bart that they have failed in their mission. Bart yells, "There'll be others!" The bubblegum starts playing and everybody breaks into a frenzied, feverish dance. In other words, the record execs targeting your children with bubblegum have been seduced by their own music so lost are in their greed that they can never grow up. But, as Bart, points out, there will indeed be others. There always are.
This episode came out at the time that bubblegum was a burning hot commodity.
|08-05-2013, 09:56 PM||#10 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2013
I've been asked by another MB member to keep posting gum songs as he does not want the thread to die. He sent me a list of stuff. Unfortunately, much of it I do not consider to be gum. But some is. Now, I have no wish to be THE authority of what constitutes gum but I also have to stick to my guns. If he wants to come here post that other stuff himself, fine with me. Perhaps he can argue why he believes these songs should be considered gum. But he did mention some good ones as well. So here's another batch. You folks will be diabetic by the time this is done:
Millie Small - My Boy Lollipop (1964) HQ - YouTube
(Lollipops in the gum genre are the opposite of bubblegum. The latter represents the female genitalia, the yoni. Lollipops are phallic, the lingam. You don't hear the female gum singers sing much about bubblegum but they sing about lollipops quite a bit. If we look at a photo as this:
Moderator cut: image removed
We know what she's really doing. In fact, do a google image search with "Hot babe sucking on a lollipop" in your browser window with your filters turned off and notice that for every photo of a girl sucking a real lollipop, there are about 2 dozen or more depicting fellatio. The association is just that ingrained in our thinking. So we don't have to wonder what Millie Small or the Chordettes were talking about. Only an idiot doesn't realize a code phrase like "candy on a stick." I mean, Jesus, just hit me over the head, whydontcha? You go girl!!!)
Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense and Peppermints - YouTube
(Man, real hippy s-hit! The song title and band name just drips gum all over the listener. Kinda sticky but I like it. By the way, the leader of this band was Ed King who later went onto found--believe it or not--Lynyrd Skynyrd.)
LOBO- " ME AND YOU AND A DOG NAMED BOO" (W/LYRICS) - YouTube
(I was asked to post this song but he wanted the Stonewall Jackson version. Sorry, I prefer Lobo's. This is borderline gum but I'll cave on this one. I remember back in the early 90s sitting with a buddy on New Year's Eve in a rundown strip bar in a horrible part of Detroit (possibly a redundant turn of phrase there) watching an ugly stripper dancing to this. I've only now summoned the courage to finally listen to it again and I still had to switch it off after a couple of bars. PTSD rears its ugly head but it's still better than looking at hers.)
Brand New Key, pair of roller skates - YouTube
(Melanie was a spiritual folksinger signed to Buddah. She frequently performed with the Edwin Hawkins Singers ("Oh, Happy Day"). Oddly, she did no gum songs until AFTER she left that label. I think her decision to do this song was a mistake. She needed to establish herself a little more before pulling something like this. It was her first foray into the mainstream market and she cracked it but she had no way to follow it up. I mean, what can you possibly do to follow this up with a public who otherwise has no idea who you are and so don't know what to expect from you? And that was the end of Melanie Safka. A shame because she was a great songwriter and singer. She does a superb job singing this one but in the end it was her undoing. By the way, GREAT f-ucking video clip thought up in the 70s by the girl who appears in it all on her own. You'd have thought this was the official video for the song. Boy, she nailed it!)
THE LEMON PIPERS- "RICE IS NICE" - YouTube
(Classic gum. Nuff sed.)
Tee Set - Ma Belle Amie (1969) - YouTube
(Tee Set was a Dutch band and part of the so-called Dutch Invasion that also featured featured Shocking Blue ("I'm Your Venus") and George Baker Selection ("Little Green Bag"--gee, I wonder what that song is about). Excellent vocal performance here by the late Hans-Peter Teteroo. At certain times in the song, he sounds just like the Beatles. I remember me and my friends back when this song was current wondering if McCartney stopped into the studio and helped out. But, no, it's all Hans-Peter doing it. The guitarist, Dihl Bennink, now a blues performer. Great bass work by Franklin Madjid who is half-Dutch and half-Indonesian just like the Van Halen Bros. In fact, he looks like he should be a Van Halen brother--without the meth, of course.)
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs -Little Red Riding Hood - YouTube
(I was asked to post this one. Not a gum in my opinion. BUT it does reference a fairy tale and would therefore be familiar to children but a gum? No. It would have scared the hell out of a 10 yo girl. It would no doubt remind her of the creep who drove by the bus stop the week before grinning evilly and blowing greasy kisses in her direction and then flicked his cigarette butt at her laughing with his tongue hanging out before flooring it. Nightmare fuel.)
Gary Lewis & the Playboys - She's Just My Style - YouTube
(One of those songs that demonstrates how surf and bubblegum were just two facets of the same genre. This one blurs the distinction considerably. Co-written, believe it or not, by Leon Russell. He's also on the piano.)
Paul Revere and The Raiders - Kicks - YouTube
(The first concert I ever saw was at the Michigan State Fair when I was around 10. Country star Charlie Pride came out and did a terrific set. I've been a Pride fan ever since. Then out came Paul Revere & the Raiders. Man, I have to tell you--they attacked that stage! I mean, they rocked! The problem with the band was that their label dressed them in those moronic minutemen costumes and made them do some hokey s-hit. But beneath it all was a real rock band dying to be set loose, which only happened occasionally. Such as with this song. You had to hear them at 120 dB. Deserved more from posterity than they have gotten.)
The Grass Roots - Sooner or Later - YouTube
(Somebody told me that one of the guys in this band was a regular on that sitcom "The Office". Creed Bratton, I think he said? I didn't watch "The Office" so I wouldn't know. I think this was the gummiest of the Grassroots' songs. Good one, too. Don't know who the woman is but I can dig it. She can bang my tambourine anytime she wants.)
Raspberries Go All The Way Mike Douglas Show 1974 - YouTube
(Eric Carmen should have stayed in this band. His solo stuff blew serious chunks. And just look at him--why, he's prettier than Valerie Harper.)
Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (original version) - YouTube
(I think ol' Gil-baby might have thinking if he could dress these lyrics up in the gummiest melody ever conceived in the mind of man that no one would notice they're about f-ucking suicide. Stop groveling in misery, Gilbert! A real Irishman would get drunk and beat the f-uck out of his wife and dog. Hell, you ain't so tough, son, my hair challenges your hair to a pay-per-view death match. Okay, never mind, I'd get my ass kicked. I should have realized I was overreaching again--naturally.)
1910 Fruitgum Co 1- 2- 3 Red Light (1968) - YouTube
(Someone should have told the guy with the tambourines that even in the bubblegum universe there's such a thing as "too gay for words.")