Friday, November 16, 2007

Tribute to Tony Burrows and the Cook/Dunaway song factory

Manufactured pop bands like The Archies and The Monkees were not the exclusive domain in the United States. At the same time, the British mimicked what the bubblegum songwriting/producing factories were cranking out, bestselling one hit wonders and then throwing together a good looking bunch of lads to perform those songs on TV and make live appearances.

In America, there was Ron Dante, who sang lead on many bubblegum songs, like the Archies hits or The Cufflinks' memorable "Tracy." In the UK, there was Tony Burrows, who sang on several huge hits produced by the team of Roger Cook and Roger Dunaway.

Like all good bubblegum, you can not get their songs out of your head. While the American hits seemed to have a garage-rock fixation in a lot of early bubblegum (i.e. 1910 Fruitgum Company, Ohio Express), Cook and Dunaway were nothing but slick, slick, slick. Nothing sappy, just very upbeat tunes sung by the amazing Burrows, lots of strings and horns, but not enough to smother the melody.

You can really appreciate Burrows' singing skills and the immense talents of Cook and Dunaway when you remember all these smashes they did together:

  • White Plains - "My Baby Loves Lovin'" (1970)
  • Edison Lighthouse - "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes"(1970)
  • The Brotherhood of Man - "United We Stand" (1970)
  • The Pipkins - "Gimme Dat Ding" (1970)
  • The First Class - "Beach Baby" (1974)
According to Wikipedia, "In February 1970 he [Tony Burrows] became the first (and still the only) person to appear on BBC Television's Top Of The Pops fronting three different acts in one show: Edison Lighthouse (who were number one that week), White Plains, and Brotherhood of Man."

So in honor of all of this great English bubblegum music, we present these videos:

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