Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The greatest bands you've never heard of

While my musical knowledge isn't as deep as the musical knowledge of others, I have heard of a lot of bands of which others aren't aware. I'm not sure why people haven't heard of some of these bands:

Cosby, Will, Cash, and Young. This band, one of the first supergroups, consisted of comedian Bill Cosby, columnist George Will, country singer Johnny Cash, and Canadian Neil Young. However, the band fell apart when Cosby, Will, and Cash decided that Young was just too weird. The others continued to have success, although Cosby had to battle a serious addiction to Jello pudding.

Carp. The success of the Beatles and the Monkees led to a slew of other bands formed in their wake, but Carp had an unusual twist - the "John" and "Paul" roles were played by females. While criticized by many (then-art student David Byrne thought the whole exercise ridiculous), Carp did put out some quality music, both slow songs such as "Cat and Bumblebee" and harder songs such as "River Dolphin."

Deck Boys Carp wasn't the only manufactured band out there. There was a wealth of southern California bands devoted to surfing and/or cars - the Beach Boys were just the most popular of a slew of bands in those genres. But what of the younger set whose parents wouldn't let them own a surfboard, and who were too young for a car? Enter Don Kirshner, who was between gigs with the Monkees and the Archies and who decided that swimming pools and bicycles were the ticket to stardom with the younger set. Unlike the Beach Boys before them and the Beastie Boys after them, the Deck Boys truly were boys. Kirshner didn't want to monkey around with the Beach Boys' successful formula, so he started with the pool songs first and branched into bicycle songs later. "Floating Safari, "Swimming USA" (Kirshner avoided a lawsuit on that one), and "Be True To Your Bike" did respectably well, although the Deck Boys are best remembered for their subsequent novelty album "Pet Sounds," in which all of the lead vocals are sung by the members' dogs (and gerbil).
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