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Vocal Harmony Pop Groups and Duos

The New Seekers sound was influenced by vocal harmony styles stretching back to The Fleetwoods and the Everly Brothers. Founded by Keith Potger of the Seekers, the group was most obviously influenced by the folk pop of the original Seekers, but the New Seekers soon became more than just a replica of their namesakes. They also drew inspiration from the California sound of the Beach Boys and from the "sunshine pop" of The Mamas and The Papas. The psychedelia / flower power era also had its influence on the New Seekers' sound. Roy Wood's group The Move was particularly influential as were the more melodic beat groups from earlier in the '60s such as Herman's Hermits, the Hollies and the Searchers.

Male / Female Vocal Groups
Male Vocal Groups and Boy Bands
Vocal Duos


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Male Vocal Groups and Boy Bands
 

Air Supply
America
Beach Boys
Bee Gees
Bread
Byrds
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Culture Club
Dr. Hook
Drifters
Eagles
Fortunes
Foundations
Four Seasons
Glitter Band
Harpers Bizarre
Hermans Hermits
Hollies
Lindisfarne
The Mixtures
The Monkees
Moody Blues
The Move


Paper Lace
Poco
The Rubettes
Searchers
Smokie
Three Dog Night
Tremeloes
Turtles
Walker Brothers
Wet Wet Wet
Wishful Thinking

Boy Bands

a-ha
Bay City Rollers
Boyzone
Osmonds
Take That
Westlife


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Eagles, Desperado (album cover).

Eagles
Desperado



Eagles, Hotel California (album cover).

Eagles
Hotel California



Very Best Of The Fortunes (CD cover).

Fortunes
The Very Best Of
The Fortunes
(1967-1972)



Foundations, Build Me Up Buttercup (album cover).

Foundations
Build Me Up
Buttercup



Four Seasons, Rag Doll (album cover).

Four Seasons
Rag Doll



Glitter Band, Bell Singles Collection (CD cover).

Glitter Band
The Bell Singles
Collection


Eagles

The Eagles formed in 1971. They recorded their début album, Eagles, in England in 1972 but were not successful in the UK until 1974, when their third album, On The Border, made it to number 28 in the album charts. Success came more quickly and on a much bigger scale in America, where Take It Easy (a single from their first album) became a Top 20 hit in the Summer of '72. The Eagles went on to have five number 1 singles in the USA - Best Of My Love, One Of These Nights, New Kid In Town, Hotel California and Heartache Tonight.

Although primarily a rock band, the Eagles use of harmony vocals won them two of their four Grammy awards. In 1975 they won 'Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus' for Lyin' Eyes. Two years later New Kid In Town won them the 'Best Arrangement For Voices' award. The Eagles' songs also proved an inspiration to other vocal harmony acts - notable amongst these, the Carpenters, who recorded a particularly melancholy version of Desperado for their 1975 album Horizon. The Eagles had recorded the song two years earlier as the title track of their second album.


Fortunes

The Fortunes started out as a trio in 1963. By the Summer of '65, when the group had its first hit with You've Got Your Troubles, the line-up had stretched to five. A second hit (Here It Comes Again) and a third (This Golden Ring) came in swift succession, but the departure of vocalist Glen Dale, followed by the murder of the group's manager, Reg Calvert, blew the Fortunes' career off course.

In June 1971 the Fortunes teamed up with songwriters and producers Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. The group's first single for Capitol Records Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again was written by Cook, Greenaway and Tony Macaulay. The song failed to make it in the UK but climbed to number.15 in the USA. The follow-up Freedom Come, Freedom Go was only a minor hit in the States but gave the Fortunes their third Top 10 hit in the UK. A fourth and final UK hit Storm In A Teacup followed in 1972.


Foundations

The Foundations formed in 1967 and disbanded three years later. The group had three Top 10 hits in the UK. The first, Baby, Now That I've Found You, was written by Tony Macaulay and John McLeod. The second, Build Me Up Buttercup (which was also a Top 5 hit in the States), was written by Macaulay and Mike D'Abo of Manfred Mann.

Lead vocalist Clem Curtis left the Foundations in 1968. He was replaced by Colin Young, who sang on the group's third Top 10 hit, In The Bad, Bad Old Days (Before You Loved Me).


Four Seasons

The Four Seasons originally formed in 1955 with the name the Variatones. In 1956, after changing their name to the Four Lovers, they had a minor US hit with You're The Apple Of My Eye. In 1962, now recording as the Four Seasons, the group had two US number 1s with Sherry and Big Girls Don't Cry. The Four Seasons became one of the United States' most successful harmony pop acts of the '60s, hitting the number 1 spot again with Walk Like A Man (1963) and Rag Doll (1964). The group continued to have Top 10 hits until 1967, all of them characterised by Frankie Valli's distinctive falsetto voice. In the UK, where only three of their singles made the Top 10, the Four Seasons met with more modest success.

In 1975 the Four Seasons' career was rejuvenated when the group signed to Warner Brothers. Returning with a sound that was less shrill, the Four Seasons became more successful in the UK than they had been in the '60s. They reached number 1 for the first time with December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) and enjoyed Top 10 hits with The Night, Who Loves You and Silver Star. The Four Seasons' drummer Gerri Polci took the lead vocal on most of their '70s hits while former lead vocalist Frankie Valli had solo Top 5 hits with My Eyes Adored You (1975) and Grease (1978).


Glitter Band

Originally Gary Glitter's backing group, the Glitter Band followed the Leader of the Gang into the charts in March 1974. Their first singles, Angel Face and Just For You, remained faithful to the glam rock formula, with a pounding beat and chanted call and response choruses. On their last two hits, Love In The Sun (1975) and People Like You And People Like Me (1976), the band developed a softer and subtler approach (Love In The Sun even included the use of surf sound harmonies). By this time, however, the glory days of glam rock were over and the Glitter Band found themselves with a name and a sound that no longer matched.


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Harpers Bizarre, Feelin' Groovy (CD cover).

Harpers Bizarre
Feelin' Groovy:
The Best Of
Harpers Bizarre



Herman's Hermits, There's A Kind Of Hush (album cover).

Herman's Hermits
There's A Kind Of Hush
All Over The World


In 1970, with
Herman's Hermits
nearing the end
of their career
and the
New Seekers
just beginning theirs,
the two groups
shared the same stage
in Great Yarmouth.



Hollies, Another Night (album cover).

Hollies
Another Night

The Hollies'
1975 album
Another Night
included a track titled
Give Me Time,
written by
Terry Sylvester
and Allan Clarke.
Lyn Paul recorded
this song for
her solo album
Give Me Love,
which was released
the same year.



Lindisfarne, Magic In The Air (album cover).

Lindisfarne
Magic In The Air


Harpers Bizarre

Harpers Bizarre are best-known for their cover of Simon and Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy). The song took them to number 13 in the US singles chart in 1967 and became the first of four Top 50 hits. The group specialised in carefully interwoven five-part harmonies. Their repertoire included a mix of old and new - sprightly revivals of Cole Porter's Anything Goes and Glenn Miller's Chattanooga Choo Choo combined with material by contemporary songwriters such as Randy Newman and Van Dyke Parks. Having made four albums together the group members went their separate ways in 1969.


Herman's Hermits

Herman's Hermits were protégés of record producer Mickie Most. In September 1964 the group climbed to number 1 in the UK with their début single I'm Into Something Good. With hits such as No Milk Today, There's A Kind Of Hush and My Sentimental Friend, they made it into the UK Top 10 at least once every year until 1970.

Herman's Hermits were even more successful in the United States, where they reached number 1 with two songs straight out of vaudeville, Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter and I'm Henry VIII, I Am. Neither of these were released as singles in the UK.

In 1970 the New Seekers played a 12 week Summer Season with Herman's Hermits at the ABC, Great Yarmouth. Not long after that Herman's Hermits split up, with lead singer Peter Noone embarking on a solo career.


Hollies

Lyn Paul once named the Hollies as her favourite group. Like Herman's Hermits (and Lyn), the Hollies came from Manchester. They formed in 1962 and had their first hits in 1963 with cover versions of two Coasters' songs, (Ain't That) Just Like Me and Searchin'. The Hollies big breakthrough came at the end of that year, when their third single Stay became the first of eighteen Top 10 hits.

The Hollies had their first number 1 in 1965 when I'm Alive topped the UK singles chart during the last week of June.

As the '60s progressed the Hollies began to write their own material. Lead singer Allan Clarke pooled his talents with Tony Hicks (lead guitar) and Graham Nash (guitar) to write songs such as Stop Stop Stop, On A Carousel and Carrie Anne, all of which were Top 5 hits in the UK.

In 1970, after Graham Nash had left the group for Crosby, Stills and Nash, Allan Clarke collaborated with songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. Among the songs they wrote together was Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress), which became the Hollies' biggest ever hit in America.

In 1971 Clarke also left the Hollies but returned in 1973 after failing to establish himself as a solo artist. Within a year the Hollies had one of the biggest hits of their career, taking Albert Hammond's song The Air That I Breathe to number 2 in the UK and to number 6 in the USA. The Hollies were seldom in the charts after this, but in September 1988 they had a surprise UK number 1 with He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. The song had originally made it to number 3 in 1969 but, nineteen years later, it caught the public's imagination again when it was featured in a television commercial for Miller Lite lager.

In April 2007, when she was asked to choose her top ten songs by showbiz writer Phil Penfold, Lyn chose the Hollies' He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother as one of her favouties. "I've sung this in cabaret so many times, and I love the song. The Hollies are largely forgotten now – but they shouldn't be, because they were very good indeed." (Doncaster Free Press, 17th April 2007)


Lindisfarne

Having been successful in the early '70s with songs such as Meet Me On The Corner and Lady Eleanor, Lindisfarne re-emerged in 1978 with Run For Home. The single gave them their third Top 10 hit in the UK and their only Top 40 hit in the USA.

Like Dr. Hook in their Medicine Show days, Lindisfarne combined rough 'n' ready harmony vocals with a sense of humour. The band members' ability to enjoy themselves always shone through when they were on stage and Lindisfarne continued to be a popular live act long after they'd stopped having hits.

In 1990 Lindisfarne returned to the UK charts for the last time with one of the anthems from their live shows, Fog On The Tyne. Recorded with Geordie footballer Paul Gascoigne, the reworked version of the Lindisfarne original went to number 2, giving the group its highest-ever placing in the UK singles chart.


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More Of The Monkees (album cover).

Monkees
More Of
The Monkees



Monkees, Headquarters (album cover).

Monkees
Headquarters



Davy Jones, It's Now (single cover).

Davy Jones
It's Now

Long after leaving the
Monkees,
Davy Jones
had several solo
hit singles in Japan.
His début hit,
It's Now,
was co-written with
ex-New Seeker
Peter Doyle.



Moody Blues, Question Of Balance (album cover).

Moody Blues
Question Of Balance



War Of The Worlds (album cover).

Jeff Wayne
War Of The Worlds

Forever Autumn,
a single form the
War Of The Worlds
album, became a hit
in 1978 for the
Moody Blues'
lead singer,
Justin Hayward.


Mixtures

The Mixtures were one hit wonders in the USA and UK with The Pushbike Song. Back in their native Australia, the Mixtures also had hits with In The Summertime (number 1), Henry Ford (number 29) and Captain Zero (number 5).

Mick Flinn of the Mixtures went on to join Springfield Revival, a trio created to recapture the sound of the Springfields. In 1981 he joined the New Seekers.


The Monkees

The Monkees were created in 1965 by two television producers (Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider) to play a struggling pop group in a forthcoming comedy series. Of over 400 hopefuls, the four chosen to be the Monkees were Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork. Among those who failed their audition were Danny Hutton (Three Dog Night), Stephen Stills (Crosby, Stills and Nash) and singer-songwriter Paul Williams.

The first episode of The Monkees was broadcast in the USA on 16th September 1966. The programme soon became a hit, as did the records that were released as a spin off from the series. The Monkees' first album was a million seller and their first two singles, Last Train To Clarksville and I'm A Believer, both went to number 1 in the USA. I'm A Believer also topped the charts in the UK. By the beginning of 1967 the Monkees were being touted as America's answer to the Beatles.

Although the Monkees were talented musicians and songwriters (Michael Nesmith in particular), they did not play on their early records, nor did they select their own material. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who had written Last Train To Clarksville as well as the theme tune to The Monkees TV series, provided backing tracks, with the Monkees merely being told what to sing and how to sing it. Further material was provided by Neil Diamond, David Gates (later a member of Bread) and Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

The Monkees' music was blatantly commercial. Jim Hendrix reputedly said "Oh God, I hate them. Dishwater!" Michael Nesmith agreed. He described the Monkees' second album More of the Monkees as "the worst album in the history of the world." However, by the time of their third album, Headquarters, the Monkees were not only playing on their records but writing most of the songs as well. A Mickey Dolenz song from the album, Randy Scouse Git (Alternate Title), became a number 2 hit in Britain.

Peter Tork quit the Monkees at the end of December 1968. The others continued as a trio for a short while but in 1969 Michael Nesmith also left the group. Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones recorded a 'last gasp' album as a duo before the Monkees finally called it a day in 1970.


Moody Blues

The Moody Blues started out in 1964 playing R&B. The original members of the band included Denny Laine (lead vocals, harmonica, guitar) and Clint Warwick (bass). Their first single was a flop but the second, Go Now!, was a UK number 1 in January 1965 and a Top 10 hit in America.

Following a change in line-up in 1966 (which saw Warwick and Laine replaced by John Lodge and Justin Hayward), the Moody Blues returned to the charts with the single Nights In White Satin and the album Days Of Future Passed. These recordings marked a new beginning for the band, with the Moodies abandoning their R&B roots for a fusion of rock and classical styles. The album set a trend for future releases. It had an epic quality, using lush orchestration and layered harmonies to present songs with soaring melodies and lyrics written around a unifying theme.

Although the Moody Blues had further Top 20 singles in the UK with Question and Isn't Life Strange, the group was more successful with its albums, three of which reached number 1 in the UK - On The Threshold Of A Dream, A Question Of Balance and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.

In 1974 the Moody Blues went their separate ways. Justin Hayward and John Lodge were successful as the Blue Jays, having hits in 1975 with the single Blue Guitar and the album Blue Jays. Hayward also had solo success with the single Forever Autumn from Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds.

The Moody Blues reunited in 1978 to record the album Octave. Although the group was deserted shortly after this by one of its original members, Mike Pinder (piano, keyboards), the Moody Blues continued with Patrick Moraz in his place. Moraz stayed with the Moodies until 1990, enjoying the band's more measured success during the 1980s with albums such as Long Distance Voyager (1981), The Present (1983), The Other Side Of Life (1986) and Sur La Mer (1988).

One of the groups influenced by the Moody Blues was Cressida, whose second album was produced by former Bee Gees' producer Ossie Byrne and featured New Seeker Paul Layton on guitar.


The Move

The Move formed in 1965. The line-up included vocalist Carl Wayne (who, much later in his career, starred in Willy Russell's musical Blood Brothers) and Roy Wood (who wrote most of the Move's hits).

The Move's début single, Night Of Fear, made it to number 2 in the UK at the beginning of 1967. It began a chart run that lasted until 1972 and included the Top 10 hits I Can Hear The Grass Grow, Fire Brigade, Brontosaurus and California Man.

The group's third single, Flowers In The Rain (a UK number 2), was the first record to be played on BBC Radio 1. Satirical postcards promoting the single prompted the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, to sue the Move for libel. The case was settled when the Move agreed to pay all of their royalties from the single to charity.

The Move's only UK number 1 was Blackberry Way, which topped the charts for a week in February 1969. The New Seekers covered the song on their 1971 album Beautiful People.

When the Move started the band had five members but the pressures of fame took their toll. Bass player Chris 'Ace' Kefford left after having a nervous breakdown. Guitarist Trevor Burton followed soon afterwards, leaving just as Blackberry Way was released. Finally in January 1970, amid mounting tension within the band, Carl Wayne also left the Move. The group continued as a trio (Roy Wood, Bev Bevan and Rick Price) until they were joined by Jeff Lynne.

Lynne wrote the Move's only US chart entry, Do Ya, which brushed the bottom of the Hot 100 in 1972, peaking at number 93. The Move had toured the USA in 1969 and made another brief trip in 1971 - each time without chart success. Meanwhile, the New Seekers, who had already broken through in the States, released their version of the Move's Tonight as their fourth US single. The Move had taken the song to number 11 in the UK but neither they nor the New Seekers could make the song a hit in America.

Even before the Move had split up, Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne had plotted their next venture - the Electric Light Orchestra. Within a year, though, Roy Wood had moved on to form Wizzard with Rick Price, leaving Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan to continue with the ELO.


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Who said that?

Music

Even Bach comes down to the basic suck, blow, suck, suck, blow.
Larry Adler (harmonica player)

You just pick a chord, go twang, and you've got music.
Sid Vicious (attrib.)


Quotes, quotes and more quotes

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030810
Last amended:
130105

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