Friday, November 4, 2011
Rant #611: Coming Full Cyrkle
This week is a pretty prestigious one in the annals of Rock 'N Roll.
Finally, the Beach Boys' "Smile" album has been released, in a number of different formats, including ....
Yes, the long elusive LP, which was never completed due to a variety of group mishaps, is finally out. I will probably get it soon, and I can't wait. I have so much bootlegged stuff on this album that I can't imagine that the legitimate release can have any more interesting material, but it supposedly has things that were never legitimately or illegitimately released before.
Since you can probably read a million reviews of the Beach Boys' release, I am going to move on to a group that didn't last long, had only two huge hits, and is an act that doesn't have any new re-releases on its schedule.
The Cyrkle was definitely a product of its time, and it's a group that I have always been enamored with.
Meeting in college in Pennsylvania in the mid 1960s, the band--whose core was Don Dannemann and Tom Dawes--produced some of the lightest-weight pop music possible in the mid-1960s.
Heck, they made a lightweight band like the Association seem out-of-sight by comparison.
Named by John Lennon and managed by Beatles' manager Brian Epstein, the band toured with the Fab Four and had two monster hits--well actually one, and one that got a huge amount of airplay.
"Red Rubber Ball" was not written by Paul Simon alone as many think. It was actually co-written by Simon and Bruce Woodley, who was with the red-hot Seekers at this time. It is everything a pop song should be--light, bouncy, with singalong lyrics that don't get too deep.
I have always loved this song. Simon and Garfunkel actually had a live version of this song, but the Cyrkle's version hits the mark.
"Turn-Down Day" was their second hit, and while it doesn't have the effervescence of the previous song, it follows along the same pattern of good-feeling pop.
They had a couple of other chartmakers, including the irresistible "Please Don't Ever Leave Me" backed with "Money to Burn," which I thought was their best all-around A and B side single, and they had some others, but generally, after two LPs and nine singles on Columbia Records, that was pretty much it for them.
But the story doesn't end here.
The put out the soundtrack to one of the early and classic adult porn films, entitled "The Minx."
The film started out as a standard movie, but the producers felt the film needed a bit more pizzazz, and added sex scenes after the main scenes were filmed.
Anyway, this was the Cyrkle's last hurrah, and while it isn't their best stuff, what a swan song it was!
Their total output is available on CD, and you can find these out-of-print collections on amazon.com.
But their story doesn't end there, either.
Both Dannemann and Dawes went into the commercial jingle field, and they wrote jingles for many major products. Dawes wrote the "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is" jingle for Alka Seltzer, and that is just one of many that the two put together over the years.
Dawes passed away a few years ago, and Dannemann is still around. In 1980, he and his wife released a tune about John Lennon which I simply cannot find. It is the one Cyrkle-related artifact that I can't locate.
If you are fan of 1960s pop, the Cyrkle is a band to investigate.
Then, get the Beach Boys' release.
You just can't go wrong with either the Beach Boys or the Cyrkle.
You just can't.
Posted by Larry at 3:33 AM