When The Beatles hit the United States airwaves the floodgates were opened and anything British was fair game for the U.S. record buying public. What followed was a deluge of off the wall artists who suddenly had records being released in America. In many cases some of these were never issued in the British Isles. As part one of a four part series here are ten of those releases.
1. THE MOMENTS-"You Really Got Me" World Artists 1031 1964
Steve Marriott's pre-Small Faces band the Moments recorded a few tracks in 1964, two of which were oddly only issued as a 45 in the US. Their cover of "You Really Got Me" was released literally within days of The Kink's versions American debut. Back in 1985 in my zine "Smashed Blocked", I compared it to Phil Daniel's bath house acapella version in "Quadrophenia", which though a bit unfair isn't that far off the mark either. For Small Faces completists only! Of note the flip "Money Money" has a musical backing track that was used in the U.K. release of the tune by Hamilton King (His Masters Voice POP 1356) that was issued three months later.
2. PINK FLOYD-"Flaming" Tower 3786 1967
Here's a weird US only 45 issue of two tracks ("The Gnome' was on the flip) from their British "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" LP that was released in conjunction with their brief and ill fated November 1967 US tour. "Flaming" had been trimmed from their US pressing of their debut LP (which also lost "Bike" and "Astronomy Domine" but added "See Emily Play"). Despite frequent being touted as a different mix the differences are very slight, with the 45 utilizing the U.K. mono mix, which although slightly different from the later US stereo mix is hardly an alternate take as many have suggested.
3. THE IDLE RACE-"Here We Go Round The Lemon Tree" Liberty 55997 1967
The Idle Race's debut release (after morphing from Brum beat group The Nightriders) was this September 1967 U.S. 45 written by Roy Wood of The Move. The latter's version was included on the B-side of their August 1967 U.K. smash "Flowers In The Rain
" (and issued here both sides intact in October as A&M 884). Curiously The Idle Race version was not issued in the U.K. owing to the believe that it would not chart owing to it's previous release by The Move. It differs considerably from their recording eschewing the string quartet backing of the original and considerably more upbeat and "rocked out" and of course features Jeff Lynne's unmistakable voice.
4. THE UNDERTAKERS-"I Fell In Love (For The Very First Time)" Black Watch BW 5545 1965
This US only release by the Liverpool Jackie Lomax led quintet The Undertakers ranks as one of the rarest British Invasion 45's in the United States with copies going for nearly $1,000 in E-bay bidding wars. "I Fell In Love (For The Very First Time)" is a primordial freakbeat number with some catchy sax/fuzz guitar interplay and a powerful recurring riff, easily the best and toughest tune by the band. It was recorded at Talentmaster's Studio in NYC after the band were brought over by producer Bob Gallo and they broke up shortly after recording it (The Pete Best Combo were also brought over by Gallo and recorded there as well).
5. THE FORTUNES-"Fire Brigade" United Artists UA 50211 1968
This is yet another U.S. pressing of a Move cover and a non-U.K. release, though this time The Move's versions of the track in question were issued in both the US and UK. The Move's US pressing of "Fire Brigade" was released in February, the same month as this cover, yet another instance of US record companies attempting to out do an original pressing with a rival version. Though not remotely a patch on the original, this recording is of interest purely for it's kitsch value as it's far too lightweight for my liking. It was also issued in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.
6. THE FRUIT MACHINE-"The Wall" American Music Makers AMM-0021 1969
Late 60's U.K. act The Fruit Machine cut two singles for the British label Spark, neither of which were released here but this January 1969 release (also issued as a double sided promo) was only to be found in America. "The Wall" was first unearthed by Greg Shaw on his "Electric Sugar Cube Flashback" series and is a pop psych dirge of sorts featuring muted trumpets, woodwinds and glockenspiel amid a psychedelic wash known as "phasing". Incidentally one of our readers pointed out that "The Wall" is a cover of a track recorded and released the previous year by The Naked Truth (Jubille 45-5662).
7. JAMIE POWER-"She Don't Know" Jamie 1299 1965
British r&b singer Duffy Power had two releases on the U.S. label Jamie credited to "Jamie Power" for some bizarre reason. "She Don't Know" was the first of the two and not released anywhere else in the world. It's a mid tempo r&b track with strong vocals and a musical backing that falls somewhere between The Soul Agents and The Pretty Things. It's flip-side "Loves Gonna Go", was utilized again on his next Jamie single "There's No Living Without Your Loving
8. THE ANDREW OLDHAM ORCHESTRA-"I Get Around" Parrot 45-9745 1965
Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham vacillated between wanting to be Phil Spector or George Martin, and like the latter he cut a slew of fairly innocuous instrumental versions of his charge's tracks along with contemporary pop covers. Often these would contain voices just singing the song title or chorus but heavy on the instrumentation, sometimes with interesting results and always using the cream of British session players. This Beach Boys cover is no different from that formula but its amazing thanks to some vicious fuzz guitar, silly backing vocals and seriously murky bass. An entire U.S. only LP (containing both sides of this single) was also released called "East Meets West" of Beach Boys and Four Seasons covers.
9. CARL WAYNE & THE VIKINGS-"My Girl" ABC-Paramount 45-10752 1965
With two U.K. single releases on the Pye label future Move lead vocalist Carl Wayne and his backing group The Vikings final release (issued after the Move had actually formed) was this U.S. only Motown track. As Motor City covers go it's fairly competent reading of The Temp's "My Girl" with a musical backing not unlike the Searchers and decent vocal harmony (no surprise as his band mates Chris "Ace" Kefford-bass and Bev Bevan-drums would later apply the same talents in The Move).
10. DAVE CURTISS & THE TREMORS-"Que Sera Sera" Karate 45-514 1965
Beat merchants Dave Curtiss and The Tremors
released three singles in the UK on Phillips in '63-'64 and released this odd ball U.S. only 45 twice in the U.S. (with sides reversed) in 1965. Their reading of "Que Sera Sera" massacres all others with some fuzz guitar and a trashy sound that would do The Milkshakes proud.