Lyrically speaking this week’s oldie might be the quintessential recording when it comes to capturing the lingo of the late 1960’s.
Harry Elston was singing with the Hi-Fis in the mid ’60s opening the show for the late Ray Charles in tours across the Country. When the Hi-Fis broke up in 1966, members and friends, Marilyn McCoo and Lamont McLemore went on to co-found The 5th Dimension and Elston started “The Friends of Distinction.”
Though he played only nine seasons in the National Football League Jim Brown is considered to be the best running back of all-time. He abruptly quit football early to go into acting (“The Dirty Dozen” and other films). In 1968 “The Friends of Distinction” was performing throughout Los Angeles. Their manager was Jim Brown who helped them sign a contract with RCA Records.
The group’s first single was released in 1969. Lead singer Harry Elston took an instrumental by trumpeter Hugh Masakela and wrote lyrics to it that became a #3 smash. I was a kid and remember attaching an RCA transistor radio to my Raleigh bicycle (with black banana seat) and hearing that song on WRIT and WOKY radio stations in Milwaukee.
Here are Harry Elston, Floyd Butler, Jessica Cleaves, and Barbara Jean Love on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Harry Elston turned 82 this week and I stopped riding a Raleigh bicycle decades ago.