Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Cyrkle

The third and final college group that I’ll profile.

The Cyrkle was a short-lived rock group from the mid-1960s. They avoided being forever more known as a one-hit wonder by being a two-hit wonder.

The band was formed by guitarists and lead singers Don Dannemann and Tom Dawes (bass guitar), who met while studying at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. The other members were Earl Pickens on keyboards and Marty Fried on drums. They were originally a "frat rock" band called The Rhondells but were later discovered and managed by Brian Epstein, the manager of The Beatles. Reportedly, John Lennon provided the unique spelling of their new name.

Before the band could get into the studio however, inner tensions temporarily broke them apart, leaving bassist Tom Dawes free to tour with Simon And Garfunkel. While on the road, Paul Simon played a song for Dawes called "Red Rubber Ball", a tune he co-wrote with Bruce Woodley of the Seekers. When the tour ended, The Cyrkle reconvened and Brian Epstein chose them to open for the Beatles on their 1966 summer tour before crowds of 70,000, a sharp contrast to the usual house of 200 to which they played during their early days. One of the other acts to perform at that time was Barry and the Remains, the second group that I profiled in this series.

The Cyrkle is best known for their 1966 song "Red Rubber Ball," which went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. I once read that Paul Simon was a little miffed at the Cyrkle’s chart success and had wanted his version with Art Garfunkel to come out first. But that may just be rumor.

The band had one more Top 20 hit, "Turn-Down Day," later in 1966, then disbanded in late 1967. Both Dawes and Danneman became professional jingle writers. Dawes later wrote the famous "plop plop fizz fizz" jingle for Alka-Seltzer. Danneman wrote jingles for Continental Airlines and Swanson Foods. He penned the original 7Up Uncola song. So apparently there is life after rock stardom.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

When I first saw the 45 at Manchester Music on Lowell St (across from the Red Arrow), I misread and thought the name of the band was The Crykle. I wondered if it was pronounced Krickle or Kreikel.

Apparently that is not an uncommon reading, as you switch back and forth between Cyrkle and Crykle spellings in your post.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

Ahhh, great that you spotted that, AVI. Making mistakes like this reminds me of my smart Chem-Tech roomie in college who had this mental block in his reports about doing "claculations." We'd both laugh out loud everyting time he'd be writing at his desk and said "Oh man, did it again, 'clackulations!'"