Early 70's Bubblegum Music: the verdict

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I think this is the most underrated musical genre of all time. Songs like "Sugar, Sugar" and "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" not only have vastly better tunes than the so-called pop classics of the era, but they also actively invoke the full range of your senses and cognitive repeating abilities! (Top that, Elton John, you fat bitch!) The level of craft is also underrated in many of these songs. The production prowress of, say, Captain Groovy and His Bubblegum Army ranks with anything Brian Wilson, or Phil Spector ever produced. And, to my knowledge, there weren't any bubblegum songs produced with a gun pulled, or under the threat of a two by four piece of wood. What's your verdict?

Brent, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

"Sugar, Sugar" is just one of the best pop songs of all time. It was near perfect when the Archies did it, and then Wilson Pickett came along and made it even better.

paul, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

not sure if you're talking about the kasenatz-katz american stuff, or british MFI plywood pop, but if its the latter then you really should read robins article, which is very good. my own favourite at the moment is pickettywitch's same old feeling. daniel boones beautiful sunday is just slightly too evil B&Q shopping experience for me...

gareth, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Denim were the great celebrators of this stuff - try their Middle Of The Road. Robin's article is good (it's always nice to see neglected areas tackled), but he disses Two Little Boys. That's actually entirely reasonable, of course, but it is put into more favourable perspective if compared to Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms, which has nothing more to say on the subject and is infinitely more tedious.

Martin Skidmore, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

...& try some of the Reverie stuff:

www.siesta.es/ingles/reverin.html

If you can find it 2nd hand, there's a great album - Buddha's Pop Explosion (on Buddha) - a kind of younger sibling of This is Buddha.

Jez, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I'm mad about 'Captain Groovy & his Bubblegum Army',what a fantastic piece of pop music,I agree with you totally.Paul

Paul Richards, Monday, 20 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

The Dirtbombs' new album is going to be all bubblegum covers.

Tracer Hand, Monday, 20 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Awww yeah

Kris, Monday, 20 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

bubblegum rules! All the standard stuff is grate: Ohio Express, 1910 fruitgum (& the rest of the Kasenetz-Katz stuff), The Archies, Boyce & Hart, etc. Also worth checking out is some less known stuff like: Andy Kim's solo records (before Rock Me Gently), the british stuff In Robin's article, to which I would add Mud and The Bay City Rollers and Sweet (British Glam gum), and TV show stuff like LAncelot Link, The Sugar Bears, etc.

g, Monday, 20 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I hear VH1 are making a Bubblegum series,dunno when it's being broadcast.Anyone know?

Paul Richards, Monday, 20 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

You are so right Brent, Try some of the Bezerkley stuff for a late 70's version of the same.

Kris England.

Kris England., Monday, 20 May 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
Our five hour VH-1 series "Pop Rocks" will run over a week in November 2002. More info is at www.popcultureclub.com

Kim

Kim Cooper, Sunday, 9 June 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

eighteen years pass...

When bubblegum goes bad:

Some day, I’ll tell you guys how I saw the reformed 1910 Fruitgum Company get fired mid-set from the lounge of the Holiday Inn in Alpena, MI.

— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) October 17, 2020

It is indeed. I was in town doing a story for the Phoenix. The band was drunk and getting heckled. One of the guys heckled back, called a guy’s wife a fcking cnt, and the manager came out and shitcanned the lot of them to rousing applause.

— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) October 17, 2020

My recollection is that the 1910 FC was one of those studio concoctions so I have no idea whether these schmoes were actually the original band or not. But they ruined its good name in northern Michigan anyway.

— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) October 17, 2020

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 18 October 2020 00:53 (six days ago) link

What the...?

Here Comes a Slightly Irregular (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:04 (six days ago) link

Sad days for the nostalgia circuit.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:07 (six days ago) link

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4a/1910Fruitgum2007.jpg/640px-1910Fruitgum2007.jpg

still one original member as of 2019 per wiki

brimstead, Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:14 (six days ago) link

I wonder if Brent ever found out that his passion is actually rooted in the late '60s.

clemenza, Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:21 (six days ago) link

Early '70s bubblegum would be...Edison Lighthouse, Vanity Fare, Bobby Sherman, Alive N Kickin', White Plains. Still very much around, but a second wave, to coin a phrase, after all the Buddah/Kasenetz-Katz stuff.

clemenza, Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:26 (six days ago) link

So... Tony Burroughs and some others?

Here Comes a Slightly Irregular (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:40 (six days ago) link

Had to look up the name, but yeah--my idea of early '70s bubblegum seems more British than American, a bunch of studio bands with overlapping personnel.

clemenza, Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:42 (six days ago) link

I met this guy once whose claim to fame was having been the vocal coach for Alive N Kickin’, that vocalist being named Pepe something.

Here Comes a Slightly Irregular (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:44 (six days ago) link

Ron Dante was kind of evenly matched with Tony Burroughs, look him up too if you have to.

Here Comes a Slightly Irregular (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:44 (six days ago) link

You could add the Jackson 5 of "ABC" and the Osmonds of "One Bad Apple," even if no one thinks of the Jackson 5 as bubblegum anymore, or of the two as inhabiting the same universe.

clemenza, Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:45 (six days ago) link

Pepe Cardona. I forgot another guy who was in Alive N Kickin’, Bruce Sudano, a Tommy James protégé who later married Donna Summer and co-wrote “Bad Girls, among other songs.

Here Comes a Slightly Irregular (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:50 (six days ago) link

Have you read the Charles L. Hughes book in which “One Bad Apple” is kind of the centerpiece?

Here Comes a Slightly Irregular (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:51 (six days ago) link

No--I'll look that up.

clemenza, Sunday, 18 October 2020 02:43 (six days ago) link

There's a new 3CD comp due out in the UK on 23 October:
Bubblerock Is Here To Stay! The British Pop Explosion 1970-73

https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/bubblerock-is-here-to-stay-the-british-pop-explosion-1970-73-various-artists-3cd/

TRACK LISTING

DISC ONE
1. GROOVIN’ WITH MR. BLOE – Mr. Bloe
2. IT’S THE SAME OLD SONG –
The Weathermen
3. THE BANNER MAN – Blue Mink
4. COME ON ROUND – Paintbox
5. 17 – Simon Turner
6. THAT SAME OLD FEELING – Pickettywitch
7. FRIEND OF MNE – Dr. Marigold’s
8. FEEDBACK – Majority One
9. POLLUTION – Gingerbread
10. NEANDERTHAL MAN – Hotlegs
11. I FOUGHT THE LAW – Posse
12. ALEXANDRA PARK (PALISADES PARK) – Fumble
13. EMMA LOUISE – Stud Leather
14. CIRCUS GIRL – Clifford T. Ward
15. MY LITTLE ONE – The Marmalade
16. GAY GIRL – Jonathan King
17. DIRTY OLD MAN – Lieutenant Pigeon
18. SUMMER FEELING – Paul Gabriel
19. TAWNY WOOD – The Answers
20. MY LITTLE GIRL – Autumn
21. HELLO, HELLO, HELLO –
Stormy Petrel
22. TURN ME ON – The Matchmakers
23. SHE LA LEY – The Secrets
24. HELLO GOODBYE – Sparrow
25. TRAVELLIN’ MAN – Tristar Airbus
26. SUNDAY GIRL – Dunno
27. TOP TEN RECORD – Rick Price
28. LEAP UP AND DOWN – St. Cecelia

DISC TWO
1. JOHNNY REGGAE- The Piglets
2. DREAMS ARE TEN A PENNY – Kincade
3. WIG-WAM BAM – The Sweet
4. I LIKE IT THAT WAY – The Tremeloes
5. IT AIN’T EASY – The Sad
6. HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR MOTHER, BABY, STANDING IN THE SHADOW? – Tina Harvey
7. BABY WALK BACK – Gumm
8. POPSICLES AND ICICLES –
The Angelettes
9. DA DOO RON RON – Grumble
10. BIG FAT ORANGUMAN – Jungle Jim
11. LOOP DI LOVE – Shag
12. DON’T STICK STICKERS ON MY PAPER KNICKERS – X Certificate
13. MAYFAIR – Millie
14. ON THE DOLE – Arthur’s Mother
15. WHEN YOU ARE A KING –
White Plains
16. COWBOY CONVENTION –
California Brakemen
17. LADY ROSE – Mungo Jerry
18. SWEET WATER – Jeff Astle
19. CECILIA – Harmony Grass
20. IT’S MY PARTY – Bubblerock
21. RUPERT – Jackie Lee
22. CRICKETS – Peter Cowap
23. RAG-A-BONE JOE – Pluto
24. ROUND AND ROUND – Ricky Wilde
25. COME INTO MY HEART –
Rusty Harness
26. WARM ME – Festival
27. SHE LEFT I DIED – Terry Dactyl &
The Dinosaurs featuring Jona Lewie
28. HANG ON SLOOPY – Sakkarin

DISC THREE
1. SUSPICION – Vivian Stanshall
& Gargantuan Chums
2. GOLDEN OLDIE SHOW – Stardust
3. I CAN’T HIDE* – Bill Fay
4. HARRY THE EARWIG –
Pete Dello & Friends
5. THE ROLLY POLE COASTER – Buggy
6. I WANT TO GO BACK THERE AGAIN – B. J. Arnau
7. THE JET SONG (WHEN THE WEEKEND’S OVER) – Design
8. LAMPLIGHT – David Essex
9. CALIFORNIA CALLING – Fickle Pickle
10. MY SWEET POTATO – Butterwick
11. YOU GOT A GOOD THING – Touchwood
12. JENNIFER PLEASE – Gary Warren
13. KEEP ON DANCING – Bay City Rollers
14. HELLO BLINKERS – Kev & Lol
15. OUR JACKIE’S GETTING MARRIED – Peter Skellern
16. NURSERY LANE – Christyan
17. TODAY – Rich Tea
18. SAMSON AND DELILAH –
Middle Of The Road
19. YOU GOTTA HAVE IT SOMETIME – Sparky
20. WHO IS THE DOCTOR? – Jon Pertwee
21. TIMOTHY JONES – Rod Thomas
22. TODAY’S A TOMORROW – Crush
23. DON’T YOU KNOW (SHE SAID HELLO) – Butterscotch
24. HEART OF STONE – Kenny
25. LIVING RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO AN ANGEL – Summer Wine
26. BEEP BEEP – The Bumbles
27. DRIVIN’ DRIVIN’ – High Noon
28. YER BIG GIRL’S BLOUSE – Flanelcat
29. BUBBLEROCK IS HERE TO STAY – Bubblerock

mike t-diva, Sunday, 18 October 2020 12:03 (six days ago) link

Very British! I don't think I'm familiar with even 10 of those names (never mind the songs). I did think about "In the Summertime" as being kind of bubblegummy, even though it's more jug-band folky.

clemenza, Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:03 (six days ago) link

Same here

Here Comes a Slightly Irregular (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:07 (six days ago) link

Simon (Fisher) Turner later turned up soundtracking Derek Jarman films! This time period predates my awareness of pop music by a year or two, but even so I've heard OF about a third of these. Fumble, Grumble and The Bumbles are not to be confused. That Jon Pertwee song is great btw. Lastly, wtf is Bill Fay doing here?

logout option: disabled (Matt #2), Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:19 (six days ago) link

I do have a great Simon Turner song on my hard-drive, lifted from a glam compilation: "(Baby) I Gotta Go."

clemenza, Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:34 (six days ago) link

I counted: I recognize 13 names on there.

clemenza, Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:36 (six days ago) link

I used to have a lot of these, but sold them on. I suspect that Vince Clarke accidentally or deliberately lifted a section of Kincade's 'Dreams Are Ten A Penny' for Erasure's 'A Little Respect'...

mike t-diva, Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:39 (six days ago) link

I know 5 of these tracks and recognise 23 names. Some unexpected names in there; Jon Pertwee (Dr Who), Vivian Stanshall (Bonzo Dog eccentric) and the one which really raised by eyebrows, Jeff Astle (West Brom striker). I assume Millie isn't the 'My Boy Lollipop' singer. Two Jonathan King productions is two too many.

Dan Worsley, Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:46 (six days ago) link

On the subject of footballers: The Sad 'It Ain't Easy' was subsequently covered by Kevin Keegan, of all people - but Keegan's version omits the third verse of the the original, in which the narrator outs himself as bisexual ("I am the king of all the queens", indeed). One wonders how many of Keegan's "people" had ever heard it.

mike t-diva, Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:48 (six days ago) link

Went to check out the Bubblegum music book, latest review only gives it one star.I didn't realise they had such a passionate fan base.

It had one page for 1910 FRUITGUM COMPANY as a band. OH, they are mentioned on various pages, but as a band they have one page. It did tell me anything I did not already know, including the fact Mark Gutowski was hand picked to sing lead on SIMPLE SIMON. It more information on the Archie's, AND THEY WERE A CARTOON!

Dan Worsley, Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:49 (six days ago) link

xp Jonathan King had a hand in at least 13 of these tracks, by the way....

mike t-diva, Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:49 (six days ago) link

I did wonder if he was involved in other tracks. I only recognised The Piglets and his own track of course. I'd put money on X-Certificate being one of his.

Dan Worsley, Sunday, 18 October 2020 14:55 (six days ago) link

16. GAY GIRL – Jonathan King
17. DIRTY OLD MAN – Lieutenant Pigeon

this track listing is purely coincidental, I’m sure

Welcome to Nonrock (breastcrawl), Sunday, 18 October 2020 15:07 (six days ago) link

X-Certificate is very JK-like, but not actually one of his. There was also another version by Katina, which I slightly prefer.

mike t-diva, Sunday, 18 October 2020 15:09 (six days ago) link

The JK-involved tracks which I recognise from memory: The Weathermen, Simon Turner, Hotlegs, St Cecilia*, The Piglets*, Tina Harvey, The Angelettes, Shag*, Bubblerock*, Ricky Wilde, Terry Dactyl, Sakkarin*. Asterisks denote pseudonyms for JK himself.

mike t-diva, Sunday, 18 October 2020 15:15 (six days ago) link

Ugh, bloody auto formatting...

mike t-diva, Sunday, 18 October 2020 15:15 (six days ago) link

Pseudonyms are: St Cecilia, Piglets, Shag, Bubblerock, Sakkarin.

mike t-diva, Sunday, 18 October 2020 15:17 (six days ago) link

I'm hypothesizing the huge disparity between British and American bubblegum hits may have something to do with the genre being something of a multimedia phenomenon, with visuals often an integral part of their appeal, in an era when it was impossible for Americans to watch British TV and vice versa and the internet/social media wasn't a thing yet.

Lee626, Sunday, 18 October 2020 22:39 (six days ago) link

There's a lot there that was previously called "novelty" in the UK and it is a feat if marketing to call it bubblegum now.

The Jonathan King stuff is largely terrible and has all been previously compiled repeatedly. No excuse for adding it here.

everything, Sunday, 18 October 2020 23:02 (six days ago) link


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