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Authors: Jeff March and Marti Smiley Childs


In July 2011, authors Jeff March and Marti Smiley Childs published Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone, Vol. 1. The book was a collection of interviews with top ‘60s performers including Bobby Vee, Chris Montez, and members of groups like The Association, The Kingston Trio, Herman’s Hermits, and The Zombies. However, that collection was “Volume 1” in name only. In fact, the two collaborators had put out a book called Echoes of the Sixties back in 1999 using exactly the same format. Now, Echoes has been re-issued as an E-book, so readers who missed the original paperback can now enjoy the conversations with 43 stars like Gary "U.S." Bonds, Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, and members of The Fireballs, The Tokens, The Angels, Peter & Gordon, The Beau Brummels, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, The Lovin' Spoonful, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Country Joe and the Fish, and Iron Butterfly.

As with the later Pop Stars, each chapter of Echoes includes a capsule overview of the various performer’s musical histories that includes comments and observations from the musicians involved. Then, after short discographies, each interviewee has an “Epilogue” in which readers are told what the group members did after their chart topping days were over. Many former stars left music behind and found different career paths. In those cases, we’re told about their family lives and what accomplishments the hitmakers have made in non-musical endeavors.     Only a few of this batch of interviewees continued in the business, and their successes were typically off stage. Peter Asher, of Peter and Gordon, famously went on to work with acts like James Taylor. Members of The Tokens shifted over to the production booth to produce other groups like The Chiffons and Tony Orlando and Dawn. Other ensembles, like the most famous lineup of Iron Butterfly, would go in and out of the music scene and finally hook up together for reunion tours and concerts.

It’s important to note these portraits aren’t complete biographies of any of the bands and weren’t intended to be the “final word” on any musician or group. For example, all but one of the members of Country Joe and the Fish were interviewed, and the missing man is Country Joe. Mike Pinder was the only Moody Blue to share his memories, and he takes the opportunity to refute claims he left the band due to a nervous breakdown. Other insider stories include Erik Braun of the Iron Butterfly learning Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane had a crush on him. Problem: she was 28, he was 17, a situation that delighted other members of the Airplane. Where do you find Egyptian costumes if you’re Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs or Civil War uniforms if you’re in the Union Gap? March and Childs will tell you.

Of course, as the original book came out in 1999, more than a decade of history isn’t included in Echoes. Sal Valentino of the Beau Brummels finally completed the solo album he mentioned in his interview, and the internet has now made the cartoon version of “The Beau Brummelstones” on The Flintstones one of Valentino’s favorite memories. Philip Margo of The Tokens is now earning a name as a science-fiction novelist, and Peter Asher just produced a very good tribute album and concert honoring Buddy Holly. Still, there are plenty of anecdotes and observations from the musicians themselves to make this a worthy addition to any rock and roller’s reading library. March and Childs go into pop corners not widely explored elsewhere, and hearing from the original creators is a far more reliable source than anything on the net. Besides, Echoes is an enjoyable read, assuming you enjoyed the music being recalled in the first place.


Follow Here To Purchase Echoes of the Sixties