Animation + Rock = Fun: The Danny Hutton Interview

Animation + Rock = Fun: The Danny Hutton Interview


by Chris Davidson

Pal to big Brian Wilson, L.A. scenester of long-standing (and, oh yeah, one-third of Three Dog Night!), Danny Hutton will live forever in the collective bubblegum consciousness for one additional and amazing reason: he worked for the grandpappy of cartoon rock labels—Hanna Barbera Records.  For a year beginning in 1965, Hutton acted as the label’s resident hip youngster and recorded three of the company’s best forays into the pure pop 45 market.  He also lent vocals and studio know-how to the maddest cartoon rock album of all—Monster Shindig, a bizarre horror-rock conglomeration credited to “Super-Snooper and Blabber Mouse, the Gruesomes of the Flintstones, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Wolf Man.”  (What, no Morocco Mole?)

HBR hit with the Five Americans’ “I See the Light” during Hutton’s tenure with the label and went on to release a hefty amount of garage, light psych and pop over the next couple of years, including “Blue Theme” by the Hogs (AKA the Chocolate Watchband).  While the majority of singles appear to have been one-off national distribution deals with bands experiencing regional chart noise, HBR long-players took the animated TV characters as a starting point and crafted dozens of mind-splitting vinyl adventures and hot session-man rock-and-roll.

Danny Hutton arrived at the start of HBR’s pop barnstorming.

Chris Davidson: How’d you get started with Hanna Barbera Records?  Was that your first experience with a record label?
Danny Hutton: I was working in the warehouse for Disney/Buena Vista Records.  I was basically a grunt during the day at work, but at night I hung around in the L.A. musician spots, like IHOP across from Hollywood High and Liberty Records, where I used to see Sonny & Cher, Jan & Dean, and those people.  I had put out a couple of records already.  My first was as the Chartermen on Invicta Records.  It was called “Winken, Blinken and Nod.”  This was done through Kim Fowley, who I was introduced to by Pat and Lolly Vegas.  Kim actually lived up in my attic for awhile.  I also had a single out on ALMO Records called “Home in Pasadena.”  That was released as Daring Dan Hutton.  Then I cut “Farmer’s Daughter” on Mercury as Basil Swift and the Seagrams.  One day, a guy named Larry Goldberg contacted me.  He was trying to get something happening at HBR.  He was sort of an A&R guy, a hustler, not a musician.  But he brought me into the deal as proof of his street credentials.  I was a young musician, so HBR gave me a half-hour tryout.  In that time, I wrote two songs, so they gave me a job!

CD: Did you cut the songs you wrote for the audition?

DH: Yes.  The first song was called “Nothing at All.”  I did all the vocal and instrumental parts on the record, and it was released as the Bats [HBR 445].  It was all me!  The other song was “Big Bright Eyes,” which we recorded as the B-side.  We did the whole session at Western Studios in six hours.  I wrote “Big Bright Eyes” in the studio in ten minutes.

CD: That was one of the best singles on HBR.  “Big Bright Eyes” was later a local hit for you in L.A.

DH: The version that later came out [HBR 453] under my name was the same version as the Bats, but with a different backing track.  We took the original, which was more acoustic and made it more pop.

CD: What about “Roses and Rainbows,” your other L.A. hit before “Big Bright Eyes?”  Wasn’t that the song they used for your appearance on The Flintstones?

DH: “Roses and Rainbows” was a big hit in town.  I think it was helped along when Billboard featured it on a flexi disk in one of their issues.  I really had no intention of performing live at the time.  I considered myself a studio guy.  But the label put the single out under my name [HBR447], set me up with a manager and started promoting me as a solo act.  One day they asked if I wanted to be in The Flintstones, and right after that they showed me the finished product.  I didn’t do anything.  They just used the released version of “Roses and Rainbows” in the show.  Funny story about The Flintstones.  When I met my wife, Laurie, she told me she’d seen the episode I was in and fell in love with me on TV.  She fell in love with me from the cartoon!

CD: Now, that’s a woman!  Can you tell me about the flip to “Roses and Rainbows?”

DH: “Monster Shindig” was on the back.

CD: It’s a wild song and also the title track of a great HBR album [HLP2020].  Did you do the other songs on that record—“Super Snooper” and “The Monster Jerk?”

DH: That was me.  I don’t remember the session too much, but I know I worked on that record.  I contributed a lot to the albums being made at the time.

CD: What else do you recall about your time with the label?  Did you run into any of the other acts?

DH: I was there from the very beginning, when they were just moving in the furniture.  It was about a year all together.  I always felt like it was more of an experiment than anything else, a cartoon company trying out the record business.  The Guilloteens were being worked in L.A. [three singles on the label], but I never met the Five Americans.  They never had a presence in L.A.  It was a great time while it lasted, though, and definitely helped me get a leg up in the business.


Selected Discography of Hanna Barbera Records

SINGLE         GROUP                     TITLE

HBR 445         The Bats                     Nothing At All / Big Bright Eyes

HBR 446         The Guilloteens            I Don’t Believe (Call On Me) / Hey You

HBR 447         Danny Hutton   Roses and Rainbows / Monster Shindig

HBR 451         The Guilloteens            For My Own / Don’t Let The Rain Get You Down

HBR 453         Danny Hutton   Big Bright Eyes/ Monster Shindig Part 2

HBR 454         Five Americans            I See the Light / The Outcast

HBR 462         Art Grayson                 Be Ever Mine / When I Get Home

HBR 468         Five Americans            EVOL Not Love / Don’t Blame Me

HBR 472         Dale & Grace               I’d Rather Be Free / Let Them Talk

HBR 473         Charles Christy            In The Arms Of A Girl

HBR 476         Scat Man Crothers        Golly Zonk! (It’s Scat Man) / What’s A Nice Girl Like You Doing In A Place Like This?"

HBR 477         The Dimensions (Five) She’s Boss / Penny

HBR 482         The Tidal Waves          Farmer John / She Left Me Alone

HBR 483         Five Americans            Good Times / The Losing Game

HBR 485         Riot Squad                  I Take It We’re Through

HBR 486         The Guilloteens            I Sit And Cry / Crying All Over My Time

HBR 488         Ron Gray                    Hold Back The Sunrise

HBR 489         Ronnie & Robyn          Cradle Of Love / Dreamin’

HBR 492         13th Floor Elevators     You’re Gonna Miss Me / Tried To Hide

HBR 494         Dynatones                   The Fife Piper / I Always Will

HBR 495         Scotty McKay   Waikiki Beach / I’m Gonna Love You

HBR 500         Positively Thirteen O’Clock     

Psychotic Reaction / 13 O’ Clock Theme

HBR 501         The Tidal Waves          Big Boy Pete / I Don’t Need Love

HBR 506         Dewayne & the Beldettas Hurtin’

HBR 507         W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band

Hippy Elevator Operator /Don’t Lose The Girl

HBR 508         The New Breed            Want Ad Reader / One More For The Good Guys

HBR 509         The Four Gents            Soul Sister / I’ve Been Trying

HBR 511         The Hogs                    Blue Theme / Loose Lip Sync Ship

HBR 513         Sunny Lane                 Tell It Like It Was / Trollin’

HBR 514         The Unrelated Segments

Story Of My Life / It’s Unfair

HBR 515         The Tidal Waves          Action (Speaks Louder Than Words) / Hot Stuff

HBR 516         The Timestoppers         I Need Love / Fickle Frog

HBR ? The Countdowns          Hold Back The Sunrise / The Shake


ALBUM          GROUP                                           TITLE


HLP 2020        Super-Snooper & Blabber                    Mouse Monster Shindig

HLP 2021        Flintstones                                        Goldilocks

HLP 2023        Yogi Bear & Boo Boo             Red Riding Hood & Jack and the Beanstalk

HLP 2024        Magilla Gorilla                                 Alice in Wonderland

HLP 2025        Pixie & Dixie                                    Cinderella

HLP 2026        Snagglepuss                                      Tells The Story Of The Wizard Of Oz

HLP 2027        Wilma Flintstone                               Tells The Story Of Bambi

HLP 2028        Doggie Daddy                         Pinocchio

HLP 2029        Touche Turtle & Dum Dum                 The Reluctant Dragon

HLP 2030        Johnny Quest                                     20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

HLP 2031        Top Cat                                            Robin Hood

HLP 2037        Jetsons                                             First Family on the Moon

HLP 2041        Atom Ant                                        Muscle Magic

HLP 2043        Squiddly Diddly                                Surfin’ Surfari

HLP 8503        Five Americans                                  I See The Light

HLP 8504        Renaissance Society                            Baroque ‘N Stones

HLP?              Gene Kelly                                        Jack and the Beanstalk TV Soundtrack

HLP ?             Hillbilly Bears                        Hillbilly Shindig

HLP ?             Winsome Witch                                 It’s Magic

HLP ?             Flintstones & Jose Jiminez                  The Time Machine

HLP ?             Yogi Bear                                         Mad Mad Dr No No

HLP ?             The Flintstones                                 S.A.S.F.A.T.P.O.G.O.B.S.O.A.L.T.

HLP ?             Precious Pupp                         Hot Rod Granny

HLP ?             Secret Squirrel & Morocco Mole           Super Spy

HLP ?             Fred & Barney                        Mary Poppins

HLP ?             Super-Snooper & Blabber Mouse          James Bomb

HLP ?             Jetsons                                             First Family on the Moon

HLP ?             Sinbad Jr.                                         Treasure Island

HLP ?             Pebbles & Bamm Bamm                     Good Ship Lollipop

Hanna-Barbera by Becky Ebenkamp

by Becky Ebenkamp

While the studio may not garner the type of respect reserved for animation behemoths Disney and Warner Brothers, indisputably, Hanna-Barbera rules the cartoon kingdom in one contest: the battle of the bands.   Sure, The Alvin Show may have technically invented the animated music video, and Filmation proved a worthy competitor in the ‘70s with The Brady Kids and The Archies.   But per cartoon capita, HB gave us the most rock ‘n’ roll bang for our buck, serving up more beat-crazed bands—both of the real and imaginary variety—than you could shake a tambourine at.   The result: instant bubblegum.

The Impossibles (1966) were HB’s first experiment with a full rock ‘n’ roll concept cartoon, although rarely was more than a line or two of lyric heard before these superheroes-masquerading-as-pop-stars were summoned to go fight crime via a TV monitor in Coil Man’s guitar.  The shaggy-haired trio married a jangly Rickenbacker-type sound with generic teenybopper lyrics, an effect that rendered them a less contemplative Beau Brummels.  Songs are hooky, but these snippets are unsatisfying, and one gets the sense that full songs were never penned.  Case in point, the lyrics to “Caesar’s Place”:

Let’s go to Caesar’s Place
Let’s go to Caesar’s Place
Let’s go to Caesar’s Place
Let’s go to Caesar’s Place

Get the picture?


A year after Gram Parsons introduced the Byrds to the pedal steel guitar, the Cattanooga Cats were busy adding some country flavor to Saturday morning TV.   Scoots, Country, Groove and go-go girl Kitty Jo didn’t solve any crimes, but as a band on constant tour they were presented with many a wacky adventure to sing their way out of.  But while the Cats’ look and accents clearly originated below the Mason-Dixon line, their music was pure pop, with song duties handled by singer/ songwriter Michael Lloyd, who headed psychedelic cult faves The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Smoke and October Country.   Peggy Clinger  of recording group the Clinger Sisters handled Kitty Jo’s vocals and wrote material as well.  Producer of the project: Mike Curb.    Lloyd and Clinger didn’t need any help rattling off perfect three-minute pop songs in even less time, so HB’s relatively hands-off strategy paid off.   Furthermore, songs penned and performed by the youthful musicians—Lloyd was 17 at the time—instead of hacks trying to knock off Billboard hits lent the project a credible vibe and allowed for the dissemination of cryptic counter-culture messages like free love and non-conformity, as witnessed in the winning theme song:

The Cattanooga Cats don’t go meow
Wouldn’t try if they knew how
They’re doin’ their thing

The idea that this was going to be something special is relayed fully in the show opener, where the song is paired with animation master Iwao Takamoto‘s stroblelike series of op art images and shots of the kitty cat group playing their instruments to a psychedelic light show.   In the children’s-game-as-metaphor-for-love songwriting subgenre, the Cats’ “Mother May I” and “Alle Alle Oxen Free” stand up to “Simon Says,” “1-2-3 Red Light” or any other 1910 Fruitgum Company song for that matter.  In the latter, Lloyd’s breathy vocals imbue the lyrics and bouncy organ with a deliciously dangerous, dirty feel:

Hey little girl starin’ down at me
From your window can’t you see
It’s gonna be a groovy day
Why don’t you come out and play

Alle Alle Oxen Free
C’mon run on home with me
Just by nimble and be quick
We’re gonna jump the candlestick

Eleven tunes were released on a Forward Records LP, and many more were featured during the show’s psychedelic “videos,” where lyrics were visually interpreted with animation reminiscent of Yellow Submarine and Peter Max.

While the studio probably didn’t realize it at the time, the launch of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969) signaled a new direction in cartooning and ignited a trend that would stampede the airwaves over the next decade.  With Scooby, HB laid out the plot and character archetypes  that would be trotted out again and again and again as the ‘70s dawned and animation became increasingly recyclable: the rockin’ sleuths.

Of course, the Scooby Gang never strapped on Stratocasters, but bubblegum music composed and sung by Danny Janssen accompanied the meddling teens as they took chase from ghouls, mummies and various villains in the show’s second season.  Not to mention a theme song (Written by David Mook/Ben Raleigh) so inherently swell that even a Third Eye Blind couldn’t wreck it. 

Highlights include “Tell Me, Tell Me,” with a great fakeout opening that steals its gospely strains from Joe Cocker’s version of “A Little Help From My Friends”  (something scarier than any Scooby episode).  Thankfully, the tune quickly shifts to a winning combo of longing-for-love lyrics, off-kilter time changes and Partridge Family structure, all reeled in with a catchy “Na-na-na-na-na-na-na” hook.   “Recipe for My Love” has the singer struggling with the issue of a how to concoct his girlfriend, although the reason why he needs to isn’t clear (Did they break up?  Is she out of town on a business trip?).  Ingredients include the bubblegum-friendly “cup full of sunshine,” “touch of a rainbow” and “a little bit from a song I know.” But, he adds wistfully, “All that couldn’t make up my baby and what my baby means to me.”  Janssen’s songs are available on Scooby-Doo’s Snack Tracks, released by Rhino in 1998.

1970 was a year that unleashed a pair of female-led musical trios that straddled the fine line between exploitation and feminism.  In Russ Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, the hedonistic Carry Nations slept and rocked their way to the top.  But considering its broader audience comprised of young, impressionable viewers, HB’s girl group had much more impact on our collective psyche.  Like the Carry Nations, Josie & the Pussycats played their own instruments.  Dressed in feline outfits that appeared to be lifted off the marquee of L.A.’s Pussycat Theater porn chain, these good girls chased the bad guys around the globe as their touring schedule allowed, and later they were blasted into outer space.  The show featured performances by the band, and songs also accompanied chase scenes.

For the recording of songs for the show and a companion LP, attractive female singers took on the roles of cartoon band members: Cathy Dougher as Josie, Patrice Holloway as Valerie and future Charlie’s chick Cheryl Ladd as ditzy drummer Melody.  This was no rush job: The tunes are laden with clever hooks, sophisticated harmonies and unique instrumentation that belie the throwaway nature of bubblegum.  Versions of current hits like Bread’s “It Don’t Matter to Me” and the J5’s “I’ll Be There” pale in comparison to Pussycat originals such as  “Inside Outside Upside Down and “Hand Clapping Song,” but vocal parts and other nuances on the cover songs imply that the project was approached with time and care. 

Butch Cassidy strove for rock n roll credibility in a teenybopper world, as did David Cassidy, his progenitor, doppelganger—and, one can assume— inspiration.  Vehemently resentful of his teen idol image, the Partridge Family star’s bio is so full of “I was into Hendrix, man!”-type outbursts, it seems as if the has been suffers from some rare rock substrain of Tourette’s syndrome.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids (1973) professed their rock roots through a sound heavier than a lead zeppelin (and other poppy HB fare) and lyrical signposts that marked their Saturday morning slot as a wimp-free zone.  During performances, the band customarily got beeped to go fight crime via Butch’s mod ring, so we don’t often hear more than bits and pieces—a wailing guitar here, an overly dramatized lyric there.  But this axe-to-grind is evident in songs like “Just a Rock n’ Roll Song,” where the hip-huggered heartthrob sings, “You can call it dumb, or bubblegum, but you can’t help singin’ along,” adding the taunt, “Have some!” before launching into a masturbatory ‘70s guitar solo.  Okay, okay, we believe you!

Characters—including drummer Harvey, voiced by Micky Dolenz—spit out rock references at the drop of a hat.  When the group rescued a vaguely exotic prince who was a fan, rock ‘n’ roll trivia weeded out an imposter: The fake didn’t flinch when Butch said he’d be playing the “Rolling Tones’” song “Yesterday” at a concert.  When the prince correctly identified who wrote “Woodstock” and “Alice’s Restaurant,” the true royal was revealed.  The moniker of the gang’s obligatory pooch: Elvis.  Off screen, musicians were hired to tour the country as the Butch Cassidy band, but no album was ever released.

Confucius say, “The family who sleuths together, grooves together.”  At least that’s the M.O. of the Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan.  Blatantly mocking China’s one-child policy, the show revolves around legendary private eye Charlie Chan, here a cartoon widower raising ten Chan children (which may explain why Mrs.  Chan is no longer with us).  The junior Chans are also crime solvers, a job that, naturally, requires them to rock!

By 1972, HB’s animation had become pretty rote, and costs were cut by recycling not only backgrounds, but plots, characters and movements as well.   A single animated band sequence serves as the “video” for every song the Chans performed, noticeable from its familiar procession of group shot cutting away to sister Suzie playing the tambourine, cut to guitar fingerboard, cut to hulkazoid brother Henry, who hunches over his drum kit like a giant Chinese crab.  As the younger, non-musical Chans watch their siblings perform, it appears as if someone is yanking a common chain to activate their synchronized movements.  In one episode the singer/ guitarist Stanley’s head actually disappears for a few frames. 

What HB didn’t skimp on, thankfully, was the Chan band’s music, which flourished under the direction of Monkees’ creator Don Kirshner and Ron Dante, fresh out of his previous gig for Mr. K as lead singer of the Archies.  While Jeff Barry wrote most Archies’ tunes, Dante handled music-writing duties for the Clan and sang Howard Greenfield’s (“Love Will Keep Us Together,” “Calendar Girl”) lyrics.   Songs incorporated the most pleasing elements of Dante’s previous chart-topping project: soaring vocal melodies, hand claps and the participation of Hugh McCracken, David Spinoza and other Archies’ session players.  Creeping bass lines suited the show’s mystery theme.  

“I tried to use a little different sound for my vocal and not make it a copy of the Archies’ sound,” Dante recalls.  “The Archies’ sound was a little more hushed, and this was more full-out strong singing; more pop than bubblegum.”  Greenfield’s lyrics generally centered on an espionage theme, often as a metaphor for love.  “I’ve Got the Goods on You” details a cheating partner, while “Whodunnit” seeks to find the culprit of the protagonist’s lovesickness.  “I Got My Eye on You” requires no further explanation.   Additionally, the Clan’s songs introduce the Ugly American to the Chinese cultural condition, and lyrics showed a cliche-free sophistication and sensitivity relatively unheard of in the stereotype-friendly cartoon world.   “I’m the Number One Son” relays the culture’s respect for elders and tradition, a new concept for a viewership comprised of the tail end of the egocentric Baby Boom:

When I was just a boy
My daddy said to me
You know the apple shouldn’t fall
Too far from the family tree
Countless generations hang their hopes on you
Ages of tradition depend on what you do

Okay, that’s a pretty heavy trip to lay on a kid, but it’s a responsibility countered with pride:

The first born of my father
It makes me feel so glad
Whenever people tell me
You’re just like your dad
Out of all the fathers
I’m glad that I got mine
Out of all my brothers
I’m the first in line

I’m the number one son of the number one man
The number one hope of my family clan
Gonna be like my dad any way that I can
I am his number one son

Dante described HB’s approach as fairly hands off, which explain the range of quality from cartoon to cartoon.  “Howie and I believed this was a quality project and took the time to write the best songs we could,” he said.  “ We had very little contact with the producers of the show.  All our direction came from what we wanted to project with the music…” Failing to realize their potential, HB never released the Chan Clan songs on vinyl.

Jabberjaw (1976) featured a rock—and I use that term loosely—band called the Neptunes, whose Jaws-era albatross was an oversized shark channeling the spirit of Curly from the Three Stooges.  Painful to watch and listen to, the proto-disco songs, thankfully, went away as soon as a caper diverted the group’s attention.

HB’s influence on bubblegum cartoons lives on today as hip animators who grew up with these shows unleash their satires and tributes.  In an episode of Ralph Bakshi’s ‘80s series The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse , characters found themselves trapped in an HB world, escaping each toon only to wind up in another.  As they fled a Scooby set, a bubblegum song dropped references to mood rings and other ‘70s kitsch.  Arguably, Saturday Night Live’s sole funny recurring segment is Robert Smigel’s animated offering The Four Ex-Presidents, where a retired Ford, Reagan, Carter and Bush rescue Bill Clinton from space aliens, communists and other unsavories.  Each skit culminates with the former commanders-in-chief rocking out in an Archies-style band. 

In 1995, The Cartoon Network—a division of Warner Brothers, as is Hanna-Barbera today—aired Saturday Morning Cartoons, with alternative bands performing show themes and songs from musical episodes.  In the station’s Cartoon Cartoon original programming, the Powerpuff Girls break out into “Love Makes the World Go ‘Round” a dose of pop ecstasy so cheery it has the capacity to restore color to a city drained of it by an evil mime.  A Dexter’s Lab segment sees the protagonist being chased by a scary, Keane-eyed waif to the tune of a bubbly pop song.  The station even made the insufferable Jabberjaw digestible via an interstitial video where the show’s characters come to life off a lunchbox and jam with punk band Pain.


Music played a central role in the aforementioned TV shows, but many a Hanna-Barbera classic featured a rock-n-roll episode, a failproof plot device enlisted about as often as the perfunctory “trip to Hawaii” or “robot goes haywire.” Usually, these episodes centered around an accidental dance craze or an unlikely subject becoming a pop star and living out the hellish machinations and experiences detailed in the Byrds’ “So You Want to be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star?”  Must see ‘toon TV includes:

The Flintstones: Since the show was essentially a parody of modern American life, creators of the Flintstones never missed a chance to poke fun at pop culture’s disposable nature, and in particular, the star-making machine: Over its 1960-66 course, the series had six pop music-themed episodes.  In an early one, a Col. Tom caricature makes Fred over as Elvis impersonator Hi-Fi, a plan thwarted when fed-up Wilma convinces fickle teens that he’s actually a square.  During the post-payola/ pre-Beatle musical vacuum of 1960-63, the Flintstones managed to chronicle the most interesting genres in music: when singer Rock Roll (voiced by Hal Smith of Otis the Drunk fame) suffers an allergic reaction to pickled dodo eggs, Fred fills in to sing “The Bedrock Twitch,” a Twist-craze spoof.  Surfing is exploited in Surfin’ Fred, an episode where The Fantastic Baggys’ “Surfin’ Craze” plays on a radio and Jimmy Darrock croons “Wax Up Your Board.”

Once the Beatles were unleashed, their influence soon crept in to cartoonland.  When Pebbles and Bamm Bamm become famous with their song “ Let the Sunshine In”—no relation to Hair’s hippie anthem—the duo is discovered by Brit “Eppy Brianstone.” Extraterrestrial flavors-of-the-week the Way-Outs knock a group called the Beasties off the charts in another episode.  The Beau Brummels were an amazing electro-folk group in their own right, but a genius marketing ploy—their name—positioned them parasitically close to the Fab Four in record bins.  The band’s brief tenure under the pop spotlight was immortalized in an episode where the Beau Brummelstones performed their hit “Laugh, Laugh” on TV show Shinrock (Based on ABC’s Shindig!).  Episodes featuring a singing Ann Margrock and HBR recording artist Danny Hutton, who would later become one-third of Three Dog Night, are also worth mentioning. 

Magilla Gorilla: In one of his customary attempts to flee Peebles Pet Shop, Magilla spies a group of surfers en route to the beach and laments, “I wish I was a hotdog and could hang ten.” An attempt to return a  runaway board sets in motion a series of events that culminates in the primate shooting the pier.  Impressed by the hodad’s bravado, the clique performs the Martha & the Vandellas-sounding dance song “Makin With the Magilla” for their new king of surf.

The Hillbilly Bears: Incessant mutterer Pa Rugg, head of the bear clan and the spiritual father of King of the Hill’s indecipherable Boomhauer, gets discovered by a pair of slick record execs scouring “The Hill Country: Where the sound of today’s big tunes are born” for the Next Big Thing.  Pa appears on The Big Rockin’ Show, where he adds the occasional mumbled overlay and guitar twang to “Do the Bear” a Yeah- Yeah-Yeah tune performed by a trio of gals with long, back-combed hair and hip huggers. 

The Jetsons: Borrowing from Bye Bye Birdie, the Jet Screamer episode has Judy Jetson winning a date with the intergalactic pop star.  He performs “Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah,” basically a rockabilly tune infused with “futuristic” keyboards and other electronic weirdo noises. 

Scooby-Doo: The gimmick for The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972) franchise was its celebrity guests stars.  Musical walk-ons include Davy Jones, Mama Cass and Sonny & Cher.  Some sang, others didn’t.

Many thanks to Ronn Webb (, Ron Dante, Michael Lloyd, Monica Bouldin (Warner Brothers), Laurie Goldberg (Cartoon Network), Johnny Bartlett, Kelly Kuvo and Anita Serwacki for their assistance.

British Bubblegum: the Works of Tony Macaulay, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway

by Derrick Bostrom

While most folks associate bubblegum music with American pop of the late ‘60s, quite a few of the genre’s most charming songs actually came from England.  And, like their U.S.  counterparts, many of these songs were recorded by bands that never existed.  Part of the fun of being a bubblegum fan, in fact, is discovering how the same people appeared on so many different records.  British singer Tony Burrows, for instance, sang on hits by four different fake bands in one year (Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes),” White Plains’ “My Baby Loves Lovin’,” the Brotherhood of Man ‘s “United We Stand” and the Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding”).  Burrows’ dubious accomplishment has won him a fan following, but many of the men who worked with him are also beginning to achieve cult status.

The records of Tony Macaulay, the writer/producer of Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” and Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, the team responsible for White Plains’ “My Baby Loves Lovin,” stand out particularly, evoking the high-gloss ersatz quality of British bubblegum at its finest.  Sounding at once completely unique and yet exactly like everyone else, contemporary yet commonplace, producers like Macaulay and Cook/Greenaway filled a badly-needed niche for radio programmers tired of the likes of Sinatra and Mantovani, yet not ready for Hendrix and Joplin.

Unlike most American bubblegum, the British variant owed less to garage rock than to more traditional show-biz products.  “Manufactured” artists under the tight control of their record labels were the norm.  Government controlled British radio didn’t even open up to rock until 1967, and this was only in response to the insurgence of "pirate" stations broadcasting from ships in international waters.  And even then, they preferred softer-edged, poppier sounds to the guitar groups spawned in the wake of the Beatles, still considered by some to be a fluke of little lasting consequence.

Tony Macaulay of Pye Records was one of the first wave of producers to benefit from the rise of BBC’s rock station, Radio One.  Macaulay (born Anthony Instone) worked as a song plugger for Essex Publishing in the early ‘60s.  By mid-decade, he had moved to Pye Records as a staff producer, where he was teamed with the Foundations.  Unenthusiastic about the project, Macaulay and arranger John MacLeod presented the group with an unused song they had written two years earlier.  

“Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” became Macaulay’s first hit, reaching the number one position in the U.K. and selling over 3 million copies worldwide.  It took months to reach the charts, however, taking off in the fall of 1967 only after Radio One added the record to its playlists.  The Foundations enjoyed a string of hits with Macaulay at the helm, including the proto-bubblegum “Build Me Up Buttercup” (co-written with Michael D’Abo).  All of them owed an obvious debt to The Motown Sound, particularly that of the Four Tops.  Ironically, in an interview from the period, Macaulay claimed, “We have managed to find a groove for the Foundations which is, we like to think, unique, and will continue to be developed and copied by other bands for a long time in the future.” Unfortunately for the Foundations, the band was forced to copy their sound all by themselves when Macaulay left Pye Records in 1969.  They struggled along for a couple more years before they disbanded.

During his tenure at Pye, Macaulay also worked with Long John Baldry.  A pivotal figure in the ‘60s British blues scene, by 1967 Baldry apparently hungered for mainstream acceptance.  Macaulay and MacLeod concocted a series of recordings for him very much in the Tom Jones mold.  “Let the Heartaches Begin” was Macaulay’s second U.K.  \chart topper.  Among their other notable records, the team also produced “Mexico (Underneath the Sun In)”, which was chosen as the official theme of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

In addition to his duties at Pye as a staff producer, Macaulay also wrote for Herman’s Hermits (“I Can Take or Leave Your Lovin’”) and Jefferson (“Baby Take Me In Your Arms”) with John MacLeod.  He also began to collaborate with Geoff Stephens (the guiding light behind the New Vaudeville Band’s “Winchester Cathedral” in 1965).  Together, they wrote Scott Walker’s “Lights of Cincinnati” and the Hollies’ “Sorry Suzanne”.

In early 1968, Macaulay began working with Pinkerton’s (Assorted) Colours.  He produced two singles for them, the Macaulay/MacLeod original “There’s Nobody I’d Sooner Love” and a cover of Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman,” but neither record did much business.  The following year, the group, renamed The Flying Machine, released Macaulay and Stephens’ “Smile a Little Smile For Me.”  Though it initially flopped in Britain, the single took off in the U.S.  The LP that followed was a rush-job that relied heavily on studio musicians, helping fuel the impression that the Flying Machine didn’t actually exist.  Adding to the confusion, a long-defunct band also named Flying Machine (featuring a young James Taylor) seized the opportunity to release some of their early recordings.

In the meantime, Macaulay left Pye for Bell Records.  When the Flying Machine refused to follow him (choosing instead to honor their existing Pye contract), their collaboration ended and Macaulay found other artists to bestow his gifts upon.  One of these was Tony Burrows, a singer who’d been working with another up-and-coming production team, Cook and Greenaway.

Burrows first worked with Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook in the Kestrels, a singing group that mostly provided vocal backgrounds for other artists in the recording studio.  Though they never managed to score a hit of their own, they opened many tours with the Beatles, and hold the distinction of having taught the Fab Four how to bow in unison.  Cook and Greenaway struck up a songwriting partnership, and soon afterward they scored their first hit with “You’ve Got Your Troubles” for the Fortunes.  After the Kestrels disbanded, the two Rogers scored a hit of their own, a George Martin produced cover of the Beatles’ “Michelle,” under the names David and Jonathan.

The Cook/Greenaway songwriting partnership continued with Gary Lewis & the Playboys’ “Green Grass” and “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by Whistlin’ Jack Smith.  “Batman” was actually recorded by the Mike Sammes Singers, but Decca Records decided to release it under a pseudonym.  After the record charted, a singer was quickly hired to portray Jack.  Cook and Greenaway also wrote material for Roger Cook’s group, Blue Mink (“Melting Pot”), and supplied Coca-Cola with the famous “It’s the Real Thing” jingle.

Meanwhile, Tony Burrows had joined John Carter and Ken Lewis’ Ivy League, later following them when they quit that group to form a studio project called the Flower Pot Men.  They scored one hit, “Let’s Go to San Francisco,” then disbanded shortly afterward.  Their record label, Decca, wanted to release a handful of unreleased Flower Pot Men tracks under the name White Plains, so they hired Cook and Greenaway to prepare an album.  Burrows signed on to supply lead vocals, and soon the group hit in 1970 with the Cook/Greenaway composition “My Baby Loves Lovin’.”

Burrows then teamed up with Tony Macaulay on the ultimate British bubblegum record, and perhaps the defining song of a generation, “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)”.  Macaulay and Barry Mason (who’d written “Delilah” for Tom Jones) wrote “Rosemary” in just under an hour, but Macaulay was certain it would be a hit.  So apparently was Burrows, who petitioned to have it released as a solo single under his own name.  Macaulay instead concocted a fake group, Edison Lighthouse, hiring different musicians to act as the touring band.  

Burrows agreed to do the television promotions, however, and soon he found himself appearing on the BBC’s Top of The Pops as not one but three of his four fake groups on the same night.  After the show’s producers discovered what was going on, they asked that Burrows not appear on the program again.  This informal blacklist helped stall his solo career.  He released two dynamite Macaulay penned/produced discs shortly thereafter, “Melanie Makes Me Smile” and “Every Little Move She Makes,” but neither record met with much success.  Burrows eventually went back to his studio work, reaching the Top 10 only once more, on 1974’s “Beach Baby” by yet another fake band, John Carter’s First Class.

Meanwhile, Macaulay supplied material for Pickettywitch, a group put together by John MacLeod to support singer Polly Brown.  They had a Top 10 hit with Macaulay and MacLeod’s “That Same Old Feeling,” a tune that more than a half dozen groups had released unsuccessfully, including the Foundations, the Flying Machine and the Fortunes.  They released several charting follow-ups, including Macaulay and MacLeod’s “Sad Old Kinda Movie,” before Polly Brown left the group for a solo career.

Macaulay also returned to his Motown style in 1970, with Johnny Johnson & the Bandwagon’s “Blame it on the Pony Express” (a Top 10 record in England, though Bobby Sherman got the hit in the U.S.), and “Something Old, Something New” by the Fantasticks in 1971.  Both songs were collaborations with Cook and Greenaway, as was 1971’s hit for the Fortunes, “Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling Again,” and the Hollies’ “Gasoline Alley Bred.”

But much of Macaulay’s attention in the early ‘70s was diverted by a legal dispute with his publishers that dragged on in the courts for years.  He finally won his case on appeal in 1974, in a landmark decision which encouraged other artists (Elton John among them) to challenge the terms of their contracts.  By the time of his court victory, Macaulay had begun to write for musical theater.  He collaborated with playwright Ken Hill on Is Your Doctor Really Necessary? in 1973 and on Gentlemen Prefer Anything the following year.

While Macaulay took his lumps in court, Cook and Greenaway meanwhile, reached their zenith.  They were named Songwriters of the Year for both 1970 and 1971 by the British Songwriters Guild.  Their hits from the period included “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” for the Hollies and “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” for the New Seekers (originally another jingle for Coca-Cola).  In 1972, Roger Cook released the first of a series of solo albums, with songs like “Eating Peaches in the Sun” and “I’ll Bet Jesus was a Lonely Man” and began to steer a course completely unrelated to his pop work with Greenaway.

By mid-decade in fact, the partnership was all but over.  One of their last hits together was Carol Douglas’ “Doctor’s Orders,” which was originally written for the British singer Sunny.  They sold their publishing company, Cookaway Music, and Roger Cook moved to Nashville.  He began to contribute songs to country artists like Crystal Gayle (“Talking in Your Sleep”) and Don Williams (“I Believe in You,” “Love is On a Roll”).   In 1997, Cook was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Greenaway continued working with pop artists like David Dundas (“Jeans On”) and Our Kids (“You Just Might See Me Cry”).  He collaborated with Tony Macaulay on a series of hits with the Drifters (“You’re More Than a Number in My Little Red Book,” “Down on the Beach Tonight,” “Kissin’ in the Back Row of the Movies”) and wrote “It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye” for Crystal Gayle.  But increasingly, he became more involved in administration, serving as president of Britain’s Performing Rights Society.  In 1995, he was named Senior Vice President, International, of ASCAP.

For Macaulay, the mid-’70s found him writing for middle-of-the-road artists like Elvis (“If I Get Home on Christmas Day,” “Love Me, Love the Life I Lead”), Tom Jones (“Letter to Lucille”), Andy Williams (“Home Lovin’ Man”) and the Fifth Dimension (“Last Night I Couldn’t Get to Sleep at All”).  In 1976, he wrote and produced his best-known MOR hit, David Soul’s “Don’t Give Up On Us,” which reached #1 in both the U.S.  and the U.K.  Two follow-up singles written and produced by Macaulay, “Silver Lady” and “Going In With Both Eyes Open,” also topped the U.K. charts.

Also in 1976, Macaulay and Greenaway collaborated with Adam West on something called “The Story of Batman”.  But by the late 70s, the hits were becoming few and far between.  The Marmalade scored one with Macaulay’s “Falling Apart at the Seams,” as did Duane Eddy with “Play Me Like you Play Your Guitar.” In 1977, Macaulay produced an album for Saturday morning television stars the Hudson Brothers.  Though it garnered no hits, it did represent a passing of the torch of sorts, as Mark Hudson went on to work with the sticky sweet midwestern combo, Hanson.

Macaulay wound up the decade writing and producing tracks for Gladys Knight & the Pips, and his ballad “Can’t We Just Sit Down and Talk it Over” appeared on an album by Donna Summer, but by the end of the ‘70s, he had all but abandoned popular music for theater and film composition.  He scored only one pop hit during the entire decade, “Alibis” by Sergio Mendes.  His major musical project of the ‘80s was the theatrical production Windy City, which played over 300 performances in 1982.

Nowadays, Macaulay no longer makes his living as a songwriter, but the music world hasn’t forgotten him.  In 1995, singer Alison Krauss took a version of “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” to the top of the country charts, and “Build Me Up Buttercup” was featured prominently in the hit film There’s Something About Mary.  His productions are readily available through reissue labels like Rhino (their Have a Nice Day series), Varèse Sarabande (the essential Bubblegum Classics CDs, one of which is entirely devoted to Tony Burrows), and Britain’s Castle Music’s Sequel imprint (a two-CD set of Pinkertons/ Flying Machine).

As the ‘60s and ‘70 recede further and further from view, interest in the kind of pop music produced by Macaulay and Cook/Greenaway continues to grow.  What was once dismissed as purely disposable hackwork takes on a greater luster with the continuing passage of time, finally emerging as indisputable pop classics.  Songs like “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” and “Smile A Little Smile For Me,” aside from their obvious kitsch appeal, can bring back memories and feelings that the more accepted “classic hits” are powerless to evoke.  Like all great bubblegum, these records need not merely be rescued from the ash can of obscurity, they deserve room on the top shelf with the greatest hits of all time.

Thanks to: Sonia Bovio, Ian Gilchrist, Steve Hammonds, Bruce Kimmel, Cary Mansfield, Bill Pitzonka, Gordon Pogoda, Al Cunniff, Tom Troccoli, Gregg Turkington

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