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Friday, October 24, 2008

The Strangeloves/Not The Strangeloves

Mr.D. played the Strangeloves' Night Time in the recent Night episode, giving a nod to the band's strange history in the process. As Our Host mentioned, the band members claimed to be Australian sheepherders, plucked from the Outback and trying to make their way as strangers in a strange land (I got a million of `em folks) after inventing a new method of breeding. Sheep, that is. Take your mind out of the gutter, please.

In reality, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer were U.S. songwriters/producers, who hit it big with the Angels' 19 and 63 mega-hit, My Boyfriend's Back. The arrival of the Beatles on U.S. shores in `64 got the three to thinking - why couldn't they create a pop group from Someplace Else too? So, they adopted phony accents, put on some weird attire - weird for 19 and 64, at least - appropriated the title from a Stanley Kubrick movie as their name, held a couple of press conferences... and the Strangeloves were born.

No one ever really bought into their strange back-story, but the Strangeloves' music was good enough that it didn't really matter.

I Want Candy went to #11 on the charts in 19 and 65. The younger generation probably better knows the 19 and 82 cover of I Want Candy cut by the Malcolm McLaren manufactured band, Bow Wow Wow, a New Wave group best-remembered these days for its 15-year-old girl singer's habit of appearing buck-nekkid on album covers.

But Dreamtime digresses.

I Want Candy turned into something of a two-edged sword for the Strangeloves. On the one hand, they had their first hit single. On the other hand, they now needed to tour to capitalize on their hit, and like Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, the Strangeloves existed only in the studio as session musicians. Feldman, Goldstein, and Gotteher first tried their hands as the touring Strangeloves, but that didn't work out, since they sounded nothing like the studio Strangeloves. So, they went back to New York and recruited four of the musicians who had worked the Strangelove sessions, and that's who we see here, the second of what would be three different Strangeloves touring groups, which still don't sound much like the studio Strangeloves.

One last story about the Strangeloves. When Feldman, Goldstein, and Gotteher were out touring in their first incarnation of the Strangeloves, they met up with a young singer named Rick Zehringer. The three producers took a shine to the 16-year-old Zehringer, and recruited him and his group, who they renamed The McCoys, to lay down vocals and some additional guitar work on a track the Strangeloves had recorded but not yet released. That song was Hang on Sloopy, and it would be a hit for the McCoys and the man who would later become known as Rick Derringer.

Life is strange.

Not satisfied with just one name, the trio also recorded as the Sheep, possibly in an attempt to keep the Aussie connection going. Goldstein and Feldman had a multitude of recording aliases, releasing songs as the Kittens, as Rome And Paris, as Bobby And the Beaus, and as Ezra And The Iveys. You could literally fill a shelf with the output of Messers. FG&G in their various guises and never know you were listening to the same band.

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