The Peppermint Rainbow

The Peppermint Rainbow
by John Chilson

Although not usually brought up in conversation when discussing late ‘60s pop, or any conversation for that matter, the Peppermint Rainbow deserve a definite nod in the pop music lexicon, rather than the aside they're occasionally given.

I was first introduced to them in the late 1980s when a co-worker and rabid 45 collector (who also turned me onto Hanna-Barbara era Danny Hutton, but that's a different story) made me a tape with such artists as Tin Tin, the Standells, Jack Wild, and of course, the Peppermint Rainbow. Listening to the title track off of their sole Decca album Will You Be Staying After Sunday (1969), I at first thought it could've been a Spanky and Our Gang B-side, or maybe even a rare Cowsills track. It was definitely a standout on the tape, Standells notwithstanding. With its lush orchestration, airy vocals, male/female harmonizing, and a tale of potential heartache or lifelong happiness, I was hooked

Flash to ten years later and I'm at a thrift store on Christmas Eve in Torrance, CA doing a little "last minute" Christmas shopping, when I literally stumble across a plastic crate of LPs, and there's the album. Not to be confused with a militant gay organization, the group name and their music reek of "running through the daisies in slow motion." I can't tell if the members were studio musicians, but they sure did look the part. The back of the album holds a color photo: the men are wearing powder blue suits, wide ties, and white shoes. The women have the color-coordinated mini-skirts, along with shiny white go-go boots.

The title track, along with its orchestrated movement ("If We Can Make It To Monday"), are definitely the strongest tracks on the entire album, along with a cool version of "Green Tambourine."

Al Kasha, who had tons of hits in the '60s and '70s, wrote “Sunday” and “Monday,” along with another track "Don't Wake Me Up in the Morning, Michael." Kasha explains, "Paul Leka was the record producer. He followed the harmonics and style of the demonstration records, but he did an imaginative opening on 'Will You Be Staying After Sunday,' by opening the record with the last licks of the song 'Don't Make Lonely Monday Come Again.'"

Leka originally wrote "Green Tambourine," for the Lemon Pipers, and it sounds like the Rainbow used the original backing tracks and added their own vocals. And although the album has a sunny, Southern Californian sound to it, Kasha says it was actually recorded in Connecticut and New York.

Says Kasha, "I came up with a concept of the orchestration by being influenced by Spanky and Our Gang and the Mamas and the Papas, who were hot at the time. Also, there's something inside of me as a writer, that liked writing about heartbreak or hope, and songs that deal with weeks and times of the day. As you can see, it was Sunday, Monday, and waking me up in the morning.”

Al Kasha and Joel Hirschorn later contributed tracks to the Bugaloos’ sole album, including the single “For a Friend,” which took advantage of their talent for Sunshine Pop. Their biggest success as a songwriting team came long after their bubblegum careers, when they wrote the Academy Award winning song "The Morning After" for the Irwin Allen Love Boat disaster flick, The Poseidon Adventure. Adds Kasha, "I will always be thankful to the Peppermint Rainbow for setting me out on this journey."