Joey Levine induction

Joey Levine inducted by Kim Cooper:

In bubblegum music, as in all great art, it’s the deviations from the norm that are most fascinating. Joey Levine of the Ohio Express is bubblegum royalty, and in the whole kinderpop canon, there’s no one else like him. It’s a thrill to present his Bubblegum Achievement Award tonight.

As a songwriter (working with his Third Rail band mate Artie Resnick), Joey gave the genre its most iconic double entendre food metaphor in “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and also its hardest rocker in “Quick Joey Small.” His unmistakable singing voice, that exquisitely snotty schoolyard sneer, leant a hint of punk menace to an otherwise vanilla scene–so to those who were paying attention, it wasn’t much of a shock when a bubblegum-punk crossover was achieved by the Ramones.

Bubblegum is supposed to be about studio bands where the producers pulled the strings. But even at 17, Joey was savvy enough to understand the dynamic, make the most of his opportunities and get out before bitterness set in.

If you want to have some fun later, you can go on the internet and visit the ASCAP and BMI websites. Look up “Joey Levine.” On BMI, you’ll find 247 crazy rock and roll titles, among them the magnificent “Chew Chewy,” “Down At Lulu’s,” “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’,” and “Try It,” not to mention “Dammi Dammi L’Amor,” which I’m pretty sure is “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'” en espanol, though it might be a loose translation of “Yummy Yummy Yummy.”

Over on ASCAP, the Other Joey Levine holds court. Because in his twenties, the Bubblegum King took on a new mantle, that of Jingle King. And when you think about it, it makes perfect sense: any great bubblegum song, when boiled down to its super sweet and sticky essence, could just as easily be an advertisement. “Sometimes you feel like a nut”

Discography of known cereal box records

Here’s a useful appendix from the bubblegum book… but do please note: I’m not a dealer in cereal box records, and I can’t tell you the value of yours. I recommend you go to, get an account, and “search completed auctions” for “cereal box” and the name of the artist to see what they’re selling for, or click on the link below to see live auctions. Have you got questions not answered on this page? So sorry, I don’t know the answer either!

Discography of known cereal box records compiled by Kim Cooper with help from Don Charles, Michael Cumella, James Porter, David Smay, Vern Stoltz and especially Lisa Sutton

One of the most delightful of bubblegum artifacts is the cardboard cereal box record, cut raggedly from the back of the box by an impatient child, or carefully by a helpful adult. At the peak of the bubblegum era, it was possible to compile an excellent library of lo-fi gems by most of the major kinderpop artists, provided a kid could talk his family into eating the right cereals.

These records have interesting precedents in the annals of American marketing. Among the earliest records offered as cereal premiums was a series of six fairy tales with follow-along books put out by Post Raisin Bran in 1949. These mail-away offers included “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Golden Goose.” In 1954, General Mills released a series of at least eight different 78-rpm children’s songs that were actually imprinted on Wheaties cereal boxes. These included such proto-gum faves as “Take Me Out to the Ball Game, ” “Three Little Fishes,” and “On Top of Old Smokey.” On the same boxes kids were also invited to send in a quarter to receive Wheaties-produced red-orange vinyl 78-rpm albums.

Vintage Scooby Doo Mystery Machine T-shirt

Vintage Scooby Doo Basketball T-shirt

Vintage Shaun Cassidy T

And more vintage T-shirts and iron-ons from

Around the same time there were at least two Walt Disney’s Mousketeer Records, cardboard cereal box 78s that featured Mickey, Donald and Goofy singing “I’d Rather Be I” and the title character performing “Donald Duck’s Song.” In 1964, buyers of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes could mail in a quarter and a back-of-the-box coupon to receive a 7″ long-playing record with the story and theme song from Hanna-Barbera’s animated movie Hey There, Yogi Bear.

In perhaps the strangest twist of all, around 1967 the pre-bubblegum Shadows of Knight released their great “Potato Chip” single-which was only available inside packages of Fairmont Potato Chips!

Bubblegum-era cereal box records typically recycled the same design for between three and five possible songs in each series. The song titles appeared on the label, and a kid could pick which box they wanted by the identifying numeral stamped onto the cardboard.

The following bubblegum cereal box record discography is as complete as we could make it in a full year of research. Once a kid cut the disk off the identifying box, these babies became an archivist’s nightmare.


Archies design #1 (Big Ethel, Dilton, Moose, Midge, Reggie, Sabrina, Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead dancing against a yellow background) (Honey Comb/ Kirshner) 1. You Make Me Wanna Dance 2. Catchin’ Up On Fun 3. Jingle Jangle 4. Love Light

Archies design #2/version A (Archie, Betty, Jughead, Hot Dog, Reggie and Veronica holding the black ring in the center of the record) (cereal unknown/ Kirshner) 1. Archie’s Party 2. You Know I Love You 3. Nursery Rhyme[s] 4. Jingle Jangle.”

Archies design #2/version B (Archie, Betty, Jughead, Hot Dog, Reggie and Veronica holding the black ring in the center of the record) (cereal unknown/ Kirshner) 1. You Make Me Wanna Dance 2. Catching Up On Fun 3. Jingle Jangle 4. Love Light

Archies design #3 (The Archies playing their instruments with Hot Dog panting, no track list or numbering) (Post
Super Sugar Crisp/ Kirshner) [Michael Cumella reports that the concept for this disk was developed by Harry
Gorman of Allied Creative Services in Port Jervis, NY]

Tracks include (but may not be limited to) the following: #. Sugar, Sugar #. Hide ‘N’ Seek #. Boys And Girls #.
Feelin’ So Good (SKOOBY-DOO) #. Bang-Shang-A-Lang #. (Archie’s Theme) Everything’s Archie.


There were two mail-order vinyl 7″ EPs offered by Kellogg’s cereal; only the first track on each is taken from
the band’s LP.

Kellogg’s 34578: “The Tra-La-La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)” “That’s The Pretty Part Of You” b/w “It’s A
Good Day For A Parade” “The Very First Kid On My Block.”

Kellogg’s 34579: “Doin’ The Banana Split” “I Enjoy Being A Boy (In Love With You)” b/w “The Beautiful Calliope” “Let
Me Remember You Smiling”


Jackson 5 design #1; (Rice Krinkles/ Motown) (Photo of band standing off to the left, stacked vertically-yellow
label, blue tint to grooves) 1. ABC 2. I want you back 3. I’ll bet you 4. Darling dear 5. Maybe tomorrow

Jackson 5 design #2/ version A (Alpha Bits/ Motown) (song titles on a cartoonish flower shaped background-no
mention of the J5, blue tint to grooves) 1. Sugar Daddy 2. Goin’ Back To Indiana 3. Who’s Loving You

Jackson 5 design #2/ version B (Alpha Bits/ Motown) (song titles on a cartoonish flower shaped background-no
mention of the J5, blue tint to grooves) 1. I’ll Be There 2. Never Can Say Goodbye 3. Mama’s Pearl


(1970) These were mail away 45s. Up to four were offered for 35

1910 Fruitgum Co. Liner Notes

Click to purchase The Best Of The 1910 Fruitgum Company

THE 1910 FRUITGUM CO. by Kim Cooper

A thick pink strain of bubblegum music came oozing out of the world’s AM radios between 1967 and 1969, giving little kids something to pound their Mickey Mouse spoons about, and making critics groan. If you followed it back to the source you’d find New York City, and the studios rented by independent producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz. Under their supervision a revolving crew of bands, session players and writers knocked out giddy pop songs that mixed garage band riffs and nursery school rhyme schemes with deliciously catchy results.

By late 1967, Kasenetz and Katz were anxiously seeking hitmaking bands that could be paired up with writers in their Super K Productions stable. They’d already mined the teen clubs of central Ohio to come up with the Music Explosion, Ohio Express (originally Sir Timothy & the Royals) and Lemon Pipers (Ivan & the Sabres), but their next discovery would be found much closer to home.

Supposedly Jeff Katz’ dad met several members of Jeckell & the Hydes (previously known as the Lower Road, and the Odyssey) in a Linden, New Jersey diner, and passed their number along to his son; later, the producers heard them play at a house party. Kasenetz and Katz flipped over Mark Gutkowski’s boyish voice, and quickly signed the band to a production contract. With a little work, they’d become the third act in the mega-selling Buddah bubblegum triumvirate that included the Ohio Express and Lemon Pipers.

Of course that retro garage band name had to go, and “1910 Fruitgum Co.” fit right in with the other sugary Kasenetz and Katz confections. PR legend has it that rhythm guitarist Jeckell named the Fruitgums from an old gum wrapper found either in a suit pocket or an attic trunk (possibly both).

The 1910 Fruitgum Co. had their first hit with the immortal “Simon Says,” a song K&K had been trying to place for some time. The kindergarten game lyrics set to a chugging garage rock organ riff set the stage for much of their future activity. They quickly established themselves as the most childlike of the bubblegum bands, their singles filled with babyish games and infantile alliteration. Album tracks revealed more adult themes, sometimes disturbingly fused with references to a loved one’s yummy candy sweetness. With these guys, you never knew if they were about to kiss a girl or take a bite!

But even the singles were more suggestive than they appeared on first glance. The lyrics of “1-2-3 Red Light” are less a schoolyard game than the sound of a boy wearing down his sweetie’s resistance through constant begging, with the threat of a break up if she doesn’t put out.

Every time I try to prove my love
1-2-3 Red Light, you stop me…
If you stop me again
That’s when we might end
So please don’t refuse

And in the sorta-psychedelic “1910 Cotton Candy Castle,” the promise of candy seems to carry a distinctly phallic subtext when Mark croons: “Here comes the Lollipop Man in his goody ship Lollipop/ all aboard for lollipop land where the lovin’ never stops.”

For their first few (most bubblegummy) albums, the 1910 Fruitgum Co. was officially made up of the old Jeckell & the Hydes lineup. This was Mark Gutkowski (vocals/ organ), Frank Jeckell (vocals/ rhythm guitar), Floyd Marcus (vocals/ drums), Steve Mortkowitz (bass) and Pat Karwan (vocals/ lead guitar). But sidemen were always being called in to play on K&K productions, and there’s some controversy about who played on what. An intermediate lineup was Gutkowski with Chuck Travis (vocals/ lead guitar), Larry Ripley (vocals/ bass/ horn), Bruce Shay (vocals/ percussion), and Rusty Oppenheimer (vocals/ drums). Less than two years on, the hard rocking Hard Ride was the work of Jimmy Casazza (vocals/ drums/ percussion), Ralph Cohen (trumpet), Jerry Roth (vocals/ sax/ clarinet/ flute), Don Christopher (vocals/ guitar), Richie Gomez (vocals/ guitar) and Pat Soriano (vocals/ organ/ piano). Since K&K owned the band name, anyone they wanted could “be” the 1910 Fruitgum Co.

Mark Gutkowski’s singing was the constant on most things released under the 1910 Fruitgum Co. name, but their #5 hit “1, 2, 3 Red Light” was supposedly Gutkowski backed by Vinnie Poncia, Pete Anders and guys from the touring version of session group the Tradewinds (“New York’s a Lonely Town”)-while other sources claim that Gutkowski wasn’t present at all, and the vocals for this song and “Goody Goody Gumdrops” were by “Gumdrops” co-writer Billy Carl.

Personnel matters aside, whoever the 1910 Fruitgum Co. were, they made monster bubblegum records throughout their short career, and the kids loved them. A vintage press release offers the tantalizing claim that their fans threw so much bubblegum (chewed and otherwise) during performances, that a little man had to sweep it up after every show. We also learn a thing or two about the original band members. Frank Jeckell (21) is the oldest, and the one who makes sure the others behave. He digs country music and golf. Pat Karwan (19) surfs, hates diets and airplanes, and chews a lot of gum. He sometimes uses the pen name Scaramuche Quackenbush. Mark Gutkowski (18) likes girls, steak and onions and sheepskin rugs, and hates barbershops and oatmeal. Steve Martkowitz (19) studied art in Paris, and is the silent type. Floyd Marcus (19) is always late, wants to be a great songwriter, hates shredded coconut and likes girls and sports car racing. Such nice boys.

“Indian Giver,” recorded with the middle Fruitgum lineup, proved to be the final Top 10 bubblegum smash for Buddah, first charting in January 1969. The song gives no sign that the power of bubblegum music was diminishing, and that hypnotic tom-tom beat can still stir the blood of tykes and their elders to this day. Master gumsters Bobby Bloom, Bo Gentry and Ritchie Cordell wrote this politically insensitive gem, while Bloom and Gentry wrote the Fruitgum’s final charting hit, “Special Delivery,” and produced both with Cordell.

Like most fads, bubblegum faded out after two years, but the Fruitgum Co. wasn’t quite ready to call it quits. Kasenetz and Katz gleefully told Roctober magazine’s James Porter that the final version of the band nearly got a plum gig at the Fillmore East, a hall far too hip to stoop to booking has-been bubblegummers. But an unlabeled test pressing of the heavier Hard Ride album impressed a booker sufficiently that a show was briefly offered, then immediately retracted when the ruse was revealed.

With that, the 1910 Fruitgum Co. retired, never to be seen again.

Thanks to Carl Cafarelli, Bill Holmes and James Porter.

Best of the Lemon Pipers liner notes

Click to purchase The Best Of The 1910 Fruitgum Company


Bubblegum music was largely the brainchild of producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, with more than a little marketing help from youthful Buddah Records general manager Neil Bogart. The core of the sound was basic American garage rock, two parts “Louie Louie” to one part “96 Tears.” But the lyrics took a giant step backwards, avoiding teenage concerns (girl trouble, mean bosses, bad luck) in favor of the defiantly infantile (sugar-drenched oral gratification, nursery rhymes). It was a style just waiting to explode onto the charts, pushed by a preteen rock audience enjoying their first brush with the thrills of a weekly allowance.

So when in 1967 bubblegum kings Kasenetz and Katz needed a new band for their Super K Productions stable, they knew exactly where to look: central Ohio, which had already provided them with fine raw garage band material in the Music Explosion (which hit with “Little Bit Of Soul” for Laurie Records) and the Ohio Express.

In Oxford, OH they found Ivan & the Sabres, a somewhat progressive Miami University band that was willing to change their name to the Lemon Pipers and follow K&K back to New York City. It was a smart move. Within six months they’d have the #1 record on the pop charts, “Green Tambourine,” just one of many Paul Leka (music)/ Shelley Pinz (lyrics) compositions they’d record.

The Lemon Pipers probably didn’t realize it at first, but Kasenetz and Katz expected that they’d have hits, by any means necessary. If they could knock out a terrific bubblegum single on their own, that was great, but the psychedelic, Byrdsy rock they favored was going to end up as album tracks, if it was released at all.

Nevertheless, the Lemon Pipers would prove the most psychedelic of the so-called bubblegum bands recording for Buddah, as well as the only one that is generally accepted to have played on all their own records. As their producer and main writer, Paul Leka gave them playfully far-out numbers that made use of elaborate orchestration and charmingly simplistic lyrics full of alliteration and fanciful pairings. The result: two of the more cohesive bubblegum albums ever made, and a pair of minor hits to follow the one smash.

The band didn’t think much of “Green Tambourine” on first hearing, and initially refused to record it. A gentle warning from Bogart that they’d do just that if they wanted to stay on Buddah was sufficient to coax out a fine performance. It would be the first Buddah bubblegum single to top the charts.

The Green Tambourine album shows the Pipers in a whimsical Beatlesque vein, dodging Liberace piano trills and raga riffs as they sang about how rice was nice on one’s wedding day, as was living in love’s world of blueberry blue. Leka’s arrangements are dense without heaviness, witty and enjoyable. It’s lightweight orchestral pop fun.

But kids who stuck around till the last track on side two were in for a big surprise. “Through With You” was a 8 1/2 minute garage rock rave up with a great propulsive energy and a mind-expanding, channel-hopping Byrdsy solo leading into an eerie section that’s like a psychedelic whale song, sounding like another band entirely. The same can be said for their first single, another Bartlett original reprised on the album. “Turn Around Take a Look,” is a deceptively simple little tune about stalking, with an insidious hook.

Somewhere between these two sounds was the real Lemon Pipers. You can see why the band was skeptical about becoming a musical mouthpiece for K&K, Bogart and Leka. While “Turn Around” could have been recorded by a number of groups, there weren’t too many that could explore spacerock dimensions and keep a listener’s interest for almost ten minutes. But eight-minute songs don’t sell many singles, so the Pipers’ progressive ambitions were kept carefully in check throughout much of the band’s life.

So who were these Lemon Pipers? Vintage 1968 press releases and liner notes offer some peculiar clues. We learn that 20-year-old singer and rhythm guitarist Ivan Browne digs motorbikes, weird clothes and climbing trees, and lives in a belltower, which helps him get up in the morning. Bill Bartlett (21), lead guitar, from South Harrow, Middlesex, UK, is a senior in the fine arts department, digs Ravi Shankar and aluminum foil, and claims to have seven pet cats –quite an accomplishment for someone in a hit touring band. Organist R.G. “Reg” Nave (22) enjoys SCUBA and skydiving, preferably at the same time. New Zealand-born Steve Walmsley (18) plays bass, and is a poet who likes to catch passing freight cars, with or without trains attached. Drummer Bill Albaugh (18) got himself a pilot’s license for kicks.

The first album reveals an apparent obsession with footwear. “Shoeshine Boy” has an interesting double tracked vocal, and a mournful “Penny Lane” quality. “The Shoemaker of Leatherware Square” is spookily medieval, and quite an odd subject for a pop song. Add these to frothy singles like “Rice is Nice,” “Blueberry Blue,” and of course “Green Tambourine” and you have a strange trip through a psychedelic fantasy land where life is simpler, more sugary, and ones’ shoes look nice.

Album two, Jungle Marmalade, shows the Pipers slipping deeper into demented metaphor with highly entertaining results. The album’s hit (stalling at #51) was Leka and Pinz’ “Jelly Jungle (of Orange Marmalade),” in which the Pipers made a rare attempt at matching the lyrical double entendres practiced by their Buddah colleagues the Ohio Express and 1910 Fruitgum Co. Over an infectious riff the group entices you to “take a trip on my pogo stick/ bounce up and down/ do a trick/ I’ll play a beat on your pumpkin drum/ and we’ll have fun in the sun.” And check out the tongue-in-cheek tribute to enlightenment, “Love Beads and Meditation,” where the singer intones “the tangled mass of membranes that used to be me/ is a memory!” Moving away from orchestration, a countryish side ias revealed on “Catch Me Falling” and on a fine cover of Goffin-King’s “I Was Not Born To Follow.” “Wine and Violet” is cool apocalyptic psych with a freaky backwards tape section, and the 11:52 “Dead End Street/ Half Light” closes the record with some heavy psych slipping into spaced-out reverie.

A lack of chart action seems to have spelled the end for the Lemon Pipers, and the name was retired following album #2. But guitarist Bill Bartlett stayed in touch with Kasenetz and Katz, and his band Autumn again recorded for Buddah in ’73. Four years later, as a member of Ram Jam, he brought K&K a countryish cover of Leadbelly’s “Black Betty” that had earned some minor local airplay. K&K re-recorded it in a rock arrangement and saw it reach the Top 20.

Thanks to Gary Pig Gold and James Porter.

Best of the Ohio Express liner notes

Click to purchase The Best Of Ohio Express


The Ohio Express are the quintessential non-animated American bubblegum band but if their story weren’t so well documented, you’d swear it was a tall tale dreamed up by a drunken record collector.

It’s hard to talk about “The Ohio Express” without confusion, because the name refers both to a touring band based in Ohio, and a studio concoction out of New York City. While both Ohio Expresses contributed to the group’s albums, the East Coast version had most of the hits and were responsible for their signature sound. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The story begins with a perfectly good mid-American high school garage band, popular at teen dances and occasionally pegged to open for national acts like the Turtles. That was Sir Timothy & the Royals, the pride of Mansfield, Ohio. The leader was Tim Corwin (drums), and the Royals were Dale Powers (lead guitar), Doug Grassel (rhythm guitar), Jim Pfahler (organ) and Dean Kastran (bass).

Sir Tim and the boys might have ended up with a song or two on a Pebbles comp had producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz not shown up one day circa 1967, inspired by the Music Explosion’s success with “Little Bit Of Soul” to check out another promising Ohio combo. The underage band was quickly signed to a production contract, and rechristened the Ohio Express, because the producers felt their name sounded too English.

Kasenetz and Katz were fast moving pros whose specialty was making hit records and licensing them to labels. They picked up the Royals because they heard something lucrative in their sound-but who knew how long it might take these kids to write a hit of their own? K&K happened to already have a great song, not so loosely based on “Louie Louie,” that had been a minor hit when released by the Rare Breed on the Attack label. That group reportedly didn’t want to be musical puppets, and declined to work further with K&K. So “Beg, Borrow & Steal” was re-pressed with the Ohio Express name on the label, and it hit the top 40. This opened the door for more Ohio Express releases, but didn’t bode well for any hopes of creative autonomy the band may have had.

With the group headquartered 500 miles from New York, even with frequent visits Tim’s boys never got a chance to be fully in the loop. Their producers searched out songs for the Ohio Express; if it wasn’t convenient for the group to record them, studio musicians would instead. It was around this time that K&K decided to rework the banned Standells single “Try It” as an Ohio Express song. This fairly innocent anthem to sexual experimentation was penned by “Under the Boardwalk” writer Artie Resnick and 17-year-old Joey Levine, who played together with Resnick’s wife Kris in a group called the Third Rail. The Ohio Express liked the song, but the rush to release it meant the single only had Dale Powers singing lead over a session track.

When “Try It” charted in February 1968, Levine and Resnick were asked if they had a follow up in mind. Levine offered “Yummy Yummy Yummy,” which Jay & the Techniques had rejected because it sounded too juvenile. Not a problem for a Super K band! A demo was recorded with Jimmy Calvert’s group, K &K’s house band. Levine sang a dummy lead, only intended to sell the song. Neil Bogart loved his nasal whine, and decreed that he should be the permanent voice of the Ohio Express’ singles. To Levine’s surprised dismay, it was this demo version that showed up on the radio soon after, and climbed to #4 on the charts.

Joey Levine’s promotion to sometime lead vocalist created a conundrum for the touring band. Obviously the successful young songwriter wasn’t about to relocate to Mansfield to join the group. So the five band members took turns trying to sing in Levine’s distinctively bilious style, and Dean Kastran’s pipes provided the nearest approximation. Henceforth the Ohio Express found themselves in the unenviable position of having to learn their own hit records from the recordings.

The first Ohio Express album, Beg Borrow & Steal, was released on the Cameo/ Parkway label, where Neil Bogart worked as A&R man. Soon Bogart entered into a partnership with K&K, bringing them and the Ohio Express over to the new Buddah label, which would soon be known universally as bubblegum central. The first album blended folky garage, soul and frat-rock songs, some from the pens of band members Jim Pfahler and Tim Corwin. The more poppy material came from established writers. A full accounting is hard to come by, but the underproduced originals were probably recorded by the touring band, and the rest by the session team. The cover had a photo of the band surrounded by views of their psychedelic tour van, emblazoned with self-conscious countercultural slogans like “You Have Just been Passed By A Happening.”

The Ohio Express, album #1 for Buddah, opened with the organ- and bass-heavy kiddie pop sound of “Yummy Yummy Yummy,” but it also featured some strong band originals, ranging in style from punky garage to psychedelic pop. But by the Chewy Chewy album the Ohio band was nowhere to be seen. On this and Mercy (both released in 1969), lead vocals and between-song patter were almost exclusively handled by Joey Levine, with material written by Levine and other Super K staffers.

“Mercy” proved to be the last Ohio Express hit. Not only was the bubblegum fad’s popularity waning, but the pressure was taking a toll on both Joey Levine and the touring band. Organ player-and one-time main songwriter-Jim Pfahler had been missing shows. A band argument in the van on the way to a Cincinnati gig with the Lemon Pipers deteriorated until Pfahler hopped out with the keys. Tim Corwin hot-wired the engine and they ditched Pfahler. But there were more problems in store for the group. Turning on the radio, they heard for the first time “their” new single, “Chewy Chewy.” Humiliated by fans calling for the song they couldn’t play, Dean Kastran and Dale Powers quit soon after.

Meanwhile, Joey Levine was exhausted from his frenetic schedule as the Ohio Express’ writer, arranger, lead singer and engineer, and irked that he wasn’t making more money. He and Artie Resnick accepted an offer from MGM’s Mike Curb, and relocated to L.A.

In the absense of all the interested parties K&K tried to keep the Ohio Express name alive, releasing several more singles with a revolving crew of musicians. Replacement keyboard player Buddy Bengert sang lead on “Pinch Me,” while the countryish “Sausalito” was recorded in England by the group that would become 10cc, led by songwriter Graham Gouldman. In 1970, the name was quietly retired.

Today Joey Levine is a successful writer of advertising jingles. His work includes the very bubblegummy Almond Joy theme “Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut,” “Just For the Fun Of It [Diet Coke],” “Sitting on a Ritz [Cracker]” and dozens more. Out on the road, drummer Tim Corwin continues to tour with a version of the Ohio Express that occasionally includes rhythm guitarist Doug Grassel. And on oldies radio, the Ohio Express still chugs along, sending kids of all ages into paroxysms of glee at their obscenely catchy riffs, snotty vocals and hilarious double entendres.

Thanks to Carl Cafarelli, Becky Ebenkamp, Bill Pitzonka and James Porter

Boyce & Hart

Boyce & Hart
by Kim Cooper

Rock star? Feh! What a fifth rate ambition. Okay, say you got yourself an electric guitar, took some time and learned how to play, and now it’s happened. You’re signed to a big label that baby-sits your body in exchange for skimming just 90% off the top

Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth!

Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth
by Kim Cooper

If you do not wish to have your illusions about bubblegum destroyed, you should read no further than this paragraph. The chapter that follows is an exploration of the dark side of a genre which, to all appearances, dwelt entirely in the light. If you still cling to the notion of a happy world composed of sugarcone hills and chocolate milk streams, where cotton candy robins pluck gummy worms from shredded-coconut lawns (and then kiss them kindly and return them to the soil), and the wind blows a lovely scent of peppermint and spice, well, I don’t want to be the one to take that away from you. Don’t worry, your happy candy world is still there, and there are no shadows on the lawns. Now turn the page, quick, before you’re ensnared by my evil heresies.
-The Editrix

Bubblegum music was much maligned in its brief heyday (I968-69), and is pretty much ignored or despised today. A Los Angeles oldies station was recently launched with the slogan “No bubblegum, and no weird stuff.” (To which I responded, “In that case, I’m tuning out!”) Such derision is a pity, for the oddball recordings of the 1910 Fruitgum Co., Archies, Ohio Express, Lemon Pipers, Banana Splits, et al. are quite fascinating, in addition to being catchier than a huge yawn. Emerging out of a producer-driven system that makes Phil Spector look laid-back, bubblegum was made and marketed for a powerful new demographic: the pre-adolescent with cash to burn. Someone should tell Arrow-93 that these kids are all growed up and listening to oldies radio today.

In the late Sixties the American economy was in great shape, and for the first time a whole generation existed that knew nothing of deprivation. Their parents remembered WW2 and perhaps the Depression, and wished to spare their own progeny such pangs. And in direct response to this economic force emerged a startling variety of kiddie-driven commodities: comic books and skateboards, goofy plastic paraphernalia, half-length lovebeads, Sea Monkeys, and a whole new kind of rock and roll.

Bubblegum, however, was meant from the start to appeal to the eight-year-old of the house. It was the rare bubblegum album that had an accurate track-listing on the jacket