Made in California
It should perhaps be noted that the groups from the previous post (ie. The Fifth Dimension and The Association), if not California-born, were California-converged. While their members originated from various states, they assembled and recorded in the Golden State. The two groups featured today trace their origins to California.
If you have heard Paul Simon’s iconic 60’s tune, Feelin’ Groovy (The 59th Bridge Street Song), there’s a good chance that it’s not the Simon and Garfunkel version that first comes to mind. Rather, it’s the recording by a Santa Cruz band named Harper’s Bizarre. The group scored its biggest hit with Feelin’ Groovy, which reached #13 on the Billboard Charts in 1967. (Note: Track #13 and that song charting at #13… co-incidence? Actually… yes.) Anyway, it’s not my selection for this collection. I’ve jumped ahead to the group’s 1968 album, Secret Life of Harper’s Bizarre and a song written by Paul Williams. The song is titled The Drifter and it’s an appropriate addition to Secret Life which was intended to play with the theme(s) explored in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a short story written by James Thurber. So here’s the song…
The group’s recordings featured intricate harmonies and often revealed a fondness for re-interpreting standards. Here they are (as a point of interest) with their take on Cole Porter‘s Anything Goes (it reached #43 on the pop charts and #6 on easy listening)… and I hear their dance moves inspired Michael Jackson!
So… now the answer to last post’s puzzle. The group hinted at? That’s right… The Byrds!
No… of course it’s The Turtles, a band spawned in Westchester, California. Originally named The Crossfires, they soon changed their name to The Tyrtles (Do I spot a trend?) By the time of their first success (It Ain’t Me, Babe) they got the spelling right and proceeded to chart nine top 30 hits over the next several years. The band’s signature tune, Happy Together reached #1 in 1967 (it was a very good year). For our purposes, though, I’m going back to a previous lesser hit… You Baby (#20 in 1966) written by P.F. Sloan and produced by Bones Howe (he who was mentioned in the previous post). Howe did, in fact, produce the first two albums for band.
Yet more trivia…
In 1984 the duo joined with The Association and Spanky (of Spanky and Our Gang) in the very successful “Happy Together Tour”.