I hope you managed to pull down the 1’s and 0’s and take a listen to The Popcorn Kings Street Beats mix tape from earlier in the week? If not, go and grab it now, we’re not going anywhere!
As we head into the final death throws of the working week, I thought I’d dig into my ever growing new pile of 45s and hit you up with something to get your weekend off on the ‘Good Foot’. Today’s slice of goodness is called ‘The Gorilla’ and comes courtesy of the Chicago outfit, The Ideals.
A short while ago I did a mix swap with Aaron Anderson of Ann Arbour Soul Club fame. Among the many gems he included in his selection was today’s 45.
When the first bars of the single trickled out of my speakers, it provoked what many amongst you might call an irrational trait of mine. You see kind readers, once I hear a record that musically slaps me in the face, I find it incredibly difficult to resist doing everything within my (meagre) powers to track down and own a copy. This fevered feeling won’t, unfortunately for my bank balance, subside until filled with the required shiny, black, record shaped piece of plastic!!
So after a swift jog around my usual internet based record hunting grounds, the 45 had been purchased and was swiftly winging its way back to the safety of my crates for a somewhat thankfully reasonable price.
Released in September 1963, the record coincided with the growing monkey dance craze, which had reached huge levels of popularity at the time due to The Miracles, ‘Mickey’s Monkey and Major Lance’s ‘The Monkey Time’ which were both big hitters on the scene earlier that year.
The Ideals were formed in 1952, and over the ensuing years the groups line up chopped and changed leaving only two of the original members, Leonard Mitchell and Robert Tharp. By the time the group had got round to recording 'The Gorilla' in 1963 Reggie Jackson, Sam Steward and Eddie Williams had all joined the ranks.
After releasing several records with limited success, The Ideals joined up with former Five Chances member Howard Pitman, who not only owned Concord Records, but also wrote ‘The Gorilla’ for The Ideals. The record imediately took off and sold nearly 90,000 copies! It is cited this may have been due to The Ideals mini tour of all the local Chicago schools, complete with a guy dressed in a gorilla outfit in tow!!
The groups local hit out grew Concord Records and Howard Pitman eventually sold on the rights and The Ideals contract to Cortland Records, who pushed ‘The Gorilla' to a national platform.
After downsizing to a trio a couple of years later, The ideals eventually split up around 1967, having been unable to follow up on their brief spell of success.
This is a truly energetic slice of music and went down a storm at our monthly night last Saturday! Previously the 45 had seen a resurgence on both the Northern Soul and Mod scenes some years ago. A quick listen should reveal just why!!
Before I go I want to give you a quick heads up for a forthcoming event on Saturday 28th November, which should tick the boxes for those of you within reach of the South coast.
Eddie Stenner, the man behind the regular Sussex By The Sea nights (he will also be playing at our weekender in February!) has organised Dantes Reunion at The Mud Club in Bognor. With a line up featuring Dr. Bob Jones, Sean French, Keith Barnes, Godfrey Flavell, Paul Clarke, Mark Webster, as well as Eddie Stenner himself on the decks, this should be a cracking night for all concerned!! Don’t sleep on it!!
Go Ape and enjoy today’s 45 (sorry I'll get my coat!), stay safe and I’ll be back with more goodness for you after the weekend.