Friday, December 19, 2008

'66: Beach Boys, The Cyrkle

The Beach Boys -- Barbara Ann

Jack Benny, fresh from celebrating his 39th birthday, introduces Brian Wilson and the boys for their hit remake of Bronx doo-wop group The Regents' Top 20 hit from 1961. Dean Torrance, of Jan and Dean, doesn't appear with the Beach Boys here, but he was the lead voice on their hit radio version, which hit #2 for Capitol on January 29th. The recording was taken from The Beach Boys Party! album, released by Capitol during the 1965 holiday season as a stopgap; Brian was in the midst of preparing for his magnum opus of early 1966, Pet Sounds. Since the Beach Boys had already released a live album, Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!!) the "live -in-the studio" concept was used here, with impromptu takes on recent classics such as The Beatles' "I Should Have Known Better," "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away"and "Tell Me Why" as well as Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin." The laughter and studio noise was largely dubbed in later, though the studio chatter with guests like Jan and Dean was kept. Some alternate takes of "Barbara Ann" appeared on the 1990s Hawthorne, CA compilation.

The Cyrkle -- Red Rubber Ball

The Cyrkle carried on the mid-60s tradition of slightly misspelled words as band names, pioneered by The Beatles, The Byrds and The Monkees. Here on this clip from Hullabaloo they sport possibly the shortest haircuts of any post-1964 pop group. Easton, Pennsylvanians Don Danneman, Tom Dawes, Mike Loeskamp and Marty Fried scored big with a little luck from pop greats John Lennon and Paul Simon. After Dawes and Danneman's original band, the Rhondells, signed with Columbia Records on the strength of their east coast shows, Brian Epstein took notice of the group and championed them through their early successes. Legend has it that John Lennon was asked to submit a better name for the promising band and came up with "The Cyrkle." 

When Danneman was fulfilling a military obligation with the Coast Guard, Dawes joined the Simon and Garfunkel tour as a guitarist, and picked up two songs Paul Simon was working on, "Red Rubber Ball" and "Wish You Could Be Here." "Ball," a song Simon co-wrote with Bruce Woodley of The Seekers, is a triumphant song about recovering from a breakup.  It became The Cyrkle's biggest hit at #2 on July 9th.


Joe Hedio said...

Here's another clip of Los Shakers doing another cover, this time of "Red Rubber Ball":

They look like a cross between the early Beatles & the Byrds in this one.

wally creek said...

There is a S&G live version introduced by Art Garfunkel saying how they didn't record it at the time of writing and gave it away, resulting in a million seller for someone else.