Archive for the ‘Dee Jay & The Runaways’ Category

Dee Jay & The Runaways

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Listen: Peter Rabbit / Dee Jay & The Runaways
Peter Rabbit / Dee Jay & The Runaways

Recorded in their homemade Milford, Iowa studio, ‘Peter Rabbit’, originally released on the band’s own ILG label (ILG 103), eventually got the attention of Smash Records out of Chicago who reissued it during the winter of ’66. Having supposedly sold 5,000 copies locally in three weeks, it logically ended up attracting the interest of majors. The first of two singles for Smash, ‘Peter Rabbit’ eventually reached #45 nationally during that summer.

But by June 6, it was already #3 on my hometown Top 40 WOLF, the far superior station to rival, safer playlisted WNDR (see chart below). Garage band records populated the airwaves a lot during those 60′s summers. Who knew then they were garage band recordings at all. Or that their sound would find a place in pop history. They were just great singles.

Dee Jay & The Runaways’ Iowa Great Lakes Studio reportedly turned out to be a decent place, smack dab in the middle of nowhere, and became referred to as the house that ‘Peter Rabbit’ built. For aspiring local Iowa rockers, word is the boys offered a three hour recording session and one thousand 45rpm singles on either the IGL or the sister Sonic label, all in for $345. Probably most have appreciated much like Apple stock over the years.

I’d been humming ‘Peter Rabbit’ for weeks, and decided to do some digging, thereby discovering The Smash Records Story, part of bigger and great site, Both Sides Now. If you are looking for several hours of enjoyment, then click through.

Clefs Of Lavender Hill / Dee Jay & The Runaways

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

ClefsLavender, Clefs Of Lavender Hill, Date, WOLF

Listen: Stop – Get A Ticket / Clefs Of Lavender HillClefsStop.mp3

I’m sure this happens to us all – occasionally there are a couple of records that basically get connected at the hip in one’s memory. For whatever reason, with me it’s usually a time period that links them.

On first airing, I was sure ‘Stop – Get A Ticket’ was the new Byrds single. Must’ve been that electric twelve string sound in the solo. Still feels like a Roger McGuinn moment.

No. it was a local garage band, one of hundreds that sprung up as a result of the British Invasion. The Clefs Of Lavender Hill were from Florida, and their followup singles were just, well not very good. This, in fact, was originally a B side, eventually getting national release and reaching a Billboard #80 as a result of play and instant reaction in Miami.

When Corinne, the kids and I ventured down for a long weekend last winter, there was an arts and crafts street fair just off the main drag of Collins Ave, with it’s endless blocks of beautifully restored art deco hotels and such. One local oldies station, their van set up, complete with free bumper stickers and ghastly t-shirts, was blaring a live feed, audible a couple blocks away. I was pleasantly surprised when The Small Faces ‘Itchycoo Park’ came on – man did it sound great and definitely out of place, but when The Clefs Of Lavender Hill got played about half an hour later, I was genuinely floored. Huh? What’s up? I had no idea then it was in fact a massive local smash.

Trust me, when both these songs were mixed in amongst a pretty common array of the usual overplayed hit staples, they were hands down standouts.

DeeJayPeterRabbit, Dee Jay & The Runaways, Smash, WOLF

Listen: Peter Rabbit / Dee Jay & The Runaways DeeJayPeterRabbit.mp3

You’ve all heard of Spirit Lake, Iowa I’m sure. If not, let me tell you ‘Peter Rabbit’ probably still gets played down / over there. This band put the town on the map and from all accounts, the place is still pretty proud of the fellows.

Why not, great single. Heard it constantly at the time. It and ‘Stop – Get A Ticket’ always getting back to back spins on WOLF. These singles played a big part in my soundtrack of that summer. Proof below:

WOLF6_4_66, WOLF, Dee Jay & The Runaways, Clefs Of Lavender Hill