Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dave Dee Dies

Yeah ... trying saying THAT one ten times fast!!! (lol)

We got this sad news from the OFFICIAL Forgotten Hits Grim Reaper, Ron Smith (of early Friday Morning.

Although Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich never really made much of an impact here in The United States ... their only chart entries here were Bend It (#100 in Cash Box, #110 in Billboard, 1966); Zabadak (#46 in Cash Box, #52 in Billboard, 1968) and The Legend of Xanadu (#123 in Billboard, 1968 ... predating Olivia Newton-John's tribute by a dozen years) ... they were chart staples back home in England ... where no less than thirteen of their singles cracked The British Top 40. (See list below)

First, Ron's obituary:
Dave Dee, leader of the British band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, died in a hospital in Surrey, England, Friday morning after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 65. While the group's only American charted record was "Zabadak" (#52) in 1968, they had eight top ten hits in England,including the #1 record, "Legend Of Xanadu". Formed in Wiltshire, England, they were originally called Dave Dee and the Bostons and even workded -- briefly and unsuccessfully -- with producer Joe Meek before signing with Fontana Records and changing their name to include all the members. Dave left for a solo career (yielding one top 50 record in England) in 1969 while the others continued as D,B,M & T before disbanding in 1972. The group reunited in the nineties and Dave continued to play with them until shortly before his death, though his main occupation was as a justice of the peace.
Dave -- whose real name was Dave Harmon -- was once a police officer and as a cadet, was at the site of Eddie Cochran's fatal car crash in 1960. It was Dave who took Eddie's Gretch guitar from the scene and held on to it until it could be returned to Eddie's family. Legend has it Dave learned to play guitar on the instrument.
-- Ron Smith
P.S. Although they were not a big hit in America (though "Zabadak" got to #34 in Chicago) -- it's the connection with Eddie Cochran that's interesting!

We covered Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich several years ago in Forgotten Hits, with most of the discussion focused on their first U.S. Hit, Bend It, a favorite with our readers. (Although it never charted here in Chicago, I remember hearing it on the radio ALL the time ... even the ultra-conservative WIND's Howard Miller used to play this tune!)
We learned at the time about a second "CLEANER" version being issued ... it seems the ORIGINAL version was interpreted as being "too sexual" ... so suddenly the moves described in Bend It where changed to construe DANCE steps instead!!!
I've got BOTH versions of this tune posted for you today (even the so-called "clean" version isn't all that clean ... they're both dubbed from my original 45's purchased way back when) ... but I'll bet that MOST of you who were around in 1966 will remember hearing this tune, despite its one-week showing at #100 on the national charts!

People buying this 45 at the time would have had NO idea which version they were purchasing, as both singles were released with the same Fontana catalog number ... and nothing was indicated on the label regarding a new version having been issued.

Original Version

"Clean Version"

Some of our original Forgotten Hits discussion is noted below as part of yet another '60's FLASHBACK.
First, our original 2002 article profiling the band ... and then a brand new discussion, circa 2006, when "Bend It" came up again in one of our Comments Pages. Enjoy.

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich don't even really OFFICIALLY qualify as a One-Hit Wonder...their ONLY U.S. Chart Hit didn't make The Top 40 on EITHER of the National Charts ... Zabadak peaked at #46 in Cashbox and at #52 in Billboard in 1967. (It did get to #34 here in Chicago and was a #3 British Hit.)
In fact, this was yet another British band that was never able to match their "homeland" success here on our shores, despite the on-going British Invasion. They racked up 13 Top 40 Hits in Great Britain, including eight Top Ten's. The song in question this morning, however, is from 1966. Although it never charted nationally or locally, Chicago radio played the heck out of a tune called Bend It
for about a month or so ... and that's our featured track today.
I wonder if anyone else out there remembers this song. I must have bought half-a-dozen copies of this 45 over the years trying to find a good "clean" recording ... seems every one I picked up had a substantial amount of distortion. Along the way, I stumbled across a completely different mix released with the exact same catalog number as the version they were playing on the radio ... I had no idea how or why this would be the case, but always found that very interesting. (I've since learned that, although supposedly a song about a new dance, Bend It was deemed to be too suggestive, particularly in the way the vocal was delivered ... so a new, cleaner, less-breathier version was quickly recorded in hopes of crossing over to the American market. Once the first version had been banned by radio stations all over the country, they didn't even bother to give the "new" version a spin.)
The version I've sent along today is the one that I grew up with ... and is FAR superior to the alternate mix. For good measure, I've sent along a copy of their "near-hit" Zabadak, too. (It almost sounds like some sort of African chant or something!!!) Now where else are you EVER gonna find a Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich 2-Fer?!?!?!!
BTW: Bend It peaked at #2 on the British Charts.
LITTLEKNOWFACT #1: Prior to pursuing a musical career, Dave Dee (real name Dave Harman) was a British police cadet. In fact, he was one of the officers called to the scene of rocker Eddie Cochran's fatal car crash back in 1960.
LITTLEKNOWFACT #2: Although always known simply as Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich (after starting out as Dave Dee and the Bostons), their REAL names were: Dave Harman (Dave Dee), Trevor Davies (Dozy), John Dymond (Beaky), Michael Wilson (Mick ... although SEVERAL different drummers would go on to "play" the role of Mick over the years) and Ian Amey (Tich).
Since we included it in our original mailing, here is their only Top 50 American Hit, Zabadak, too!

While I was up in Boston, one station was running a Top 1000 Hits for the Fourth of July weekend, and they played a song I hadn't heard in FOREVER!! Don't know the title or artist - but I sang along with the whole song ... I amaze myself sometimes!! It started out "Bend it, Bend It" ... went slow, then fast ... If you have it, I'd love the wav.
The song you're referring to is Bend It by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich ... we featured it in Forgotten Hits about five years ago ... and got a GREAT response. The most amazing thing about this song is that it was never a hit ... yet when we spotlighted it a few years back, virtually EVERYBODY on the list remembered the song being played ... and LOVED it ... yet somehow it never made a dent on the national charts. (It spent exactly one week at #100 in Cash Box and "bubbled under" at #110 in Billboard ... yet EVERYBODY I've spoken to about it remembers this song ... it seems as if this should have been a MONSTER hit!!! Perhaps MORE curious is how a song that peaked at #100 for exactly one week made a Top 1000 List of ANYTHING!!! Their far-inferior record Zabadak hit #46 and appears on a number of British Rock compilations ... but no Bend It!!! What's up with that?!?!?) I remember being VERY disappointed when I bought an additional copy of the 45 with the exact same catalog number only to find it was a COMPLETELY different mix of the song ... not even CLOSE to the version they were playing on the radio. (For some reason, I seem to remember WIND being the station that played this one the most here in Chicago ... how weird is THAT?!?!?!) But I am all too happy to feature it again today because my guess is we'll have a number of people on the list ... and, who knows, perhaps even Beckham ... bending it to this one!!! And, let's face it, you're not likely to hear it any time soon anywhere else!!! (For the record, this song was a #2 smash in Great Britain where Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich were all the rage for quite a while!) kk
Thank you so much for Bend it!! Of course I remember Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich --but I didn't put the two together ~~~ LOL


WLS played "Bend It" a lot. Ron Riley's British Billboard Sunday night show gave it plenty of exposure. That's how I heard and loved it. Same with their follow-up, "Save Me". They played "Zabadak", of course, also. I quickly loved all the Dave Dee music. I thought it funny when the group's first US LP was their Greatest Hits! How often has that happened? I, too, have both "Bend It" Fontana US 45s with the different versions on the same label number. Pretty wild indeed. Besides their head knocking sounds like "Bend It", they also did their Jay & the Americans feel on "Zabadak" harmony as well as later novelty and ballad numbers. They were more versatile and great than many think. Try out "Marina" on their hits CD. Beautiful song! "Wreck of the Marie Antionette" predates that Edmund Fitzgerald 45 by years. Anyway, DDBM&T was great in my book!
Clark Besch

Kent -
I love to read everything you send. I just don't respond usually but I was wondering if you have the other version of "Bend It" ... its the one I know. I never heard this one before ... well, never before you sent it out ... before! Thanks!

I think I still have a copy ... it's STILL by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich ... it's just a COMPLETELY different mix (and, to my ears anyway, nowhere NEAR as fun!!!) Actually, now that I found it, it's not even a different mix ... it's a completely different recording ... even all of the LYRICS are different!!! We'll feature it here today so you guys can compare!!! (This is NOT the version they played here in Chicago ... in fact, I'm not even sure exactly WHY it exists!!!) kk
UPDATE: O.K. Here's what I've found out: TWO sets of lyrics were recorded for this song ... What the Goldmine 45 Price Guide refer to as the "clean lyrics about a dance" is the version that we are sending along today. The OTHER version (aka "the dirty version that has absolutely NOTHING to do with a dance") is the FIRST version we sent out the other day. So there you have it ... a controversy of Lou Christie / Rhapsody In The Rain proportions, circa 1966. All of which only proves (I guess) that, even at the ripe old age of 13 when this record first came out, I was ALREADY a dirty old man!!! (kk)

The "clean" version's main problem is the so-so laugh at the break. Sounds dis-interested or, I suppose, less "dirty"?? Great fun song either way.
I still don't understand how this song could POSSIBLY have not been a hit!!! Like I said before, EVERYBODY knows it and remembers it ... from all over the country!!! How did this NOT make the national charts?!?!? (kk)
This song was covered in Oklahoma by another local band and was such a big hit that it ranked on KOMA's top 500 all-timers in 1990! I remember it being a fun bit on the great mid-70's Brit Tv'er "Doctor in the House" (not sure of the title). Hey, I agree with you about the "dirtier" version being the BETTER version ... BUT, often these types of songs got on the radio via the "clean" version. Altho WLS wanted the clean version of the Mauds' song "Hold On", I believe I heard both back then on WLS! "Bend It" got plenty of play either way. "Gloria" (by Them), "Let's Spend the Night Together" by the Stones, were shut out a lot, I agree. "The Ballad of John & Yoko" was banned on a few stations but got #1 airplay on many (#1 for four weeks on KLMS in Lincoln), others, I don't know why. "Eve of Destruction" was banned on a few stations and WLS did ban both of the above. As for Lou Christie's "Rhapsody in the Rain", it was hurt in sales more by "Outside the Gates of Heaven" than itself. WLS had an easy "out" by going with the simultaneously released Co & Ce cash-in release. You are correct about banned songs, but many including "Rhapsody" got plenty of play in one way or another. I seldom felt like I could not hear a song when I wanted to or hear it in order to buy it and do so. I just don't think "banning a song" on the radio usually hurt sales much. My main point is that I NEVER heard of "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys being banned and seemed to hear it on ANY station back then. Still, you are correct. I have always wondered why Mark Dinning's classic "Top 40, News, Weather & Sports" was Top 10 all over, but never made above #81 in Billboard. They had to change the lyrics and re-release it altered, but no radio station dropped the song to my knowledge. And, it's a wonderful song!
Clark Besch

The fact that God Only Knows never officially charted on WLS makes me wonder if, in fact, they really DID play the song ... being the more "conservative" Top 40 station in town, they very well may have banned it. In that it went to #4 as a B-Side on WCFL, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that THIS is where we heard the song back in '66. As for recording "multiple" versions of a song in an effort to get airplay, the all-time king has just GOT to be High School USA by Tommy Faceda, who cut 28 DIFFERENT VERSIONS of this song, each naming different local high schools depending on where that particular version of the record was being sold!!! (We've featured a few of these over the years ... and sent out even more copies to people who requested a specific region!) This one had nothing to do with objectionable lyrics ... it was just a GREAT marketing ploy. (Well, maybe not THAT great ... the record only peaked at #28!!!) kk

Your expertise in this area is scary. Always educational reading your comments. Thanks for the hard work.

Rick Barr

As promised, The DAVE DEE, DOZY, BEAKY, MICK and TICH British Hit List:
1965 - You Make It Move (#26)
1966 - Hold Tight (#4)
Hideaway (#10)
Bend It (#2)
Save Me (#4)
1967 - Touch Me, Touch Me (#13)
Okay! (#4)
Zabakak! (#3)
1968 - The Legend of Xanadu (#1)
Last Night In Soho (#8)
The Wreck of the Antoinette (#14)
1969 - Don Juan (#23)
Snake In The Grass (#23)

NOTE: I checked on to see what kind of "Best Of" collections that they might have on this group and found an interesting compilation that describes five titles this way:

You Keep Me Hanging On - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich ... and Lamont Dozier

In Dreams - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beacky, Mick and Tich ... and Roy Orbison

This Boy - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich ... and John Lennon

The Everly Brothers Medley (featuring Bye Bye Love, When Will I Be Loved and Let It Be Me) by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich ... and Felice Bryant

Stairway To Heaven / Pinball Wizard Medley - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich ... and Jimmy Page

Despite the $32 sell price, I was just too curious NOT to check these out ... are these really NEWLY recorded "duets" with these other legendary artists?!?!? I'll let you know when the CD arrives!