Like most of us, I have a few post-Beatles rock songs that have been favorites for decades. Amongst those are the lively Gimme Dat Ding by The Pipkins (I’m tellin’ ya, this wacky song should’ve been featured on Benny Hill!), United We Stand by The Brotherhood of Man and Beach Baby by First Class.
But, aside from these all being British acts, there’s one other thing that connects them (as well as Love Grows by Edison Lighthouse and My Baby Loves Lovin’ by White Plains):
None of these were actual bands! They were all created and sung by British singer Tony Burrows. And they were all released within months of each other in 1970.
Was this a new idea? Hardly. Most of us remember The Monkees who, for their first two albums, only sang whilst studio musicians like Glen Campbell and Leon Russell, along with Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka and others actually did the music. And The Archies with “Sugar, Sugar” (a song originally written for The Monkees as a followup to I’m A Believer). The lead vocalist was Ron Dante, who also was the “group”, The Detergents (“Leader of the Laundromat”) and The Cuff Links (“Tracy”, “When Julie Comes Around”), later produced a guy named Barry Manilow,
Then there was Steam’s “Na, Na, Na, Na, Hey, Hey (Goodbye)”. In that case, producers rushed to actually create a band by that name after Gary DeCarlo and Dale Frashuer recorded and released the song under the “Steam” name.
Unfortunately, no band could duplicate the sound (though one “highjacked” the recording and had their likeness placed on the album jacket. Still, they had nothing to do with the recordings themselves …).
GOODBYE, YELLOW BRICK ROAD/SHEILA/MRS. ROBINSON These songs were among signature hits by (respectively) Sir Elton John, Tommy Roe and Paul Simon (with Art Garfunkel).
Now word comes out that all three of these performers are retiring from performing (as did Neil Diamond just a few weeks ago). Though the Rocket Man (not that Yung-Un from Pyongyang. I mean, the guy who wrote and performed the song …) and a Garfunkelless Paul Simon haven’t set specific dates for their last shows, Tommy Roe (Dizzy, Sheila, Jack and Jill) announced his retirement this past Thursday, saying, “…I am stepping out of the spotlight from scheduled concerts and interviews. Thank you again for your loyal support. I love you all, and may God Bless you.”
ONE MORE: Didja know that, while it was still being rehearsed and fine-tuned, the Eagles’ (actually, the band didn’t want “The” on it; their publicist said it was because it sounded too “British” – and, actually, there was a popular UK band already called The Eagles) song “Hotel California” was still called by its working title, “Mexican Reggae.”
Okay … that’s all for this special edition. Sooo, until next time, remember: Keep your eyes on the skies, your feet on the ground, your heart with the music … and I’ll see ya on the flip side!