Friday, July 4, 2014

Big Daddy: What Really Happened to the Band of '59

Big Daddy, a bunch of crack SoCal instrumentalists/vocalists, got together in the 1970s as a nostalgia band playing hits of the '50s and '60s, and had pretty much faded from view by the end of the decade. Founding member Bob Wayne was friendly with Richard Foos and Harold Bronson, co-heads of Rhino Records, and Bronson and Foos were frequent visitors to Wayne’s studio, Sunburst Recording in Culver City. Circa 1983, Foos got into his head that it was time to take an LP that all three men had in their collections and do it one better: Take a Sad Song by Godfrey Daniel, a one-off novelty record on Atlantic from 1972 where a group of studio musicians recorded 1950s-sounding versions of the day’s hit parade – Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, et al. In view of this mission from God to get the band back together, Bob reassembled Big Daddy and they created this 1983 self-titled album of mash-ups where some of the most ubiquitous pop hits of the early 1980s found themselves warped back to the Eisenhower administration.

It’s been a long time since any right-thinking person listened to “Eye of the Tiger” or “Ebony and Ivory” for pleasure, but such is the level of Big Daddy’s skill and love for good pop arrangements that you’ll never catch yourself thinking “Boy, these songs really got what they deserved.” Except maybe the Barry Manilow cut.

For more about Big Daddy and the rest of the classic Rhino Records artist roster, don’t miss this interview with Harold Bronson on the Fogelnest Files podcast, where Harold talks all about the history of the label and plugs his book, The Rhino Records Story.

LP artwork


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