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of cabbages and kings, of arks and attics – the pseudo-psychedelic sound of chad & jeremy 1967-1968 (part 4)

THIS IS THE FOURTH of five ar­ti­cles de­voted to the trio of al­bums and their re­lated sin­gles that Chad & Je­remy re­leased in 1967-1968. OF CABBAGES AND KINGS and THE ARK and the sound­track to 3 IN THE ATTIC re­flect the more ‘pop’-oriented psy­che­deli­cism of the Eng­lish mu­si­cians at the time and have long been held in a bit of con­tempt by older afi­cionados and col­lec­tors of Six­ties psych. Too bad, as they are al­most uni­formly fine record­ings!

By 1968, Chad & Je­remy had not had a Top 40 hit in their home­land of Eng­land since 1964. They had not had a sim­ilar hit in their adopted land of the United States since ’66. Such a track record was usu­ally the death knell for a singles-oriented pop artist in the ’60s.

So, the duo—along with their newly ap­pointed Co­lumbia staff pro­ducer, the ever cre­ative and just as am­bi­tious Gary Usher—decided, “We’re failing on the AM radio with nifty sin­gles. Why not aim for the FM sta­tions with groovy al­bums?”

And so they did …


Three In The Attic (the movie)

“You’ve heard of the sexual rev­o­lu­tion? Well, I’m prob­ably one of its first ca­su­al­ties. Paxton Quigley, that’s me.” So an­nounces our pro­tag­o­nist in the fist few min­utes of the movie. Mr. Quigley is played by Christo­pher Jones, then a hot prop­erty due to his lead role in AIP’s youth ex­ploita­tion movie Wild In The Streets. (Did AIP make any other kind of move?)

“How can one dis­card a semi-hip lava lamp like Three In The Attic as mere sex­ploita­tion sleaze when it quotes Kierkegaard, Zola, and Genet? Or when the leading man shows more flesh than his three fan­tasy love in­ter­ests?”

So be­gins the re­view of this movie on page 426 of Video Hound’s Groovy Movies – Far-Out Films Of The Psy­che­delic Era by Irv Slifkin. After noting the con­flict be­tween “old schoolers” Richard Wilson (di­rector) and J. Urgi Con­tner (cin­e­matog­ra­pher) with the hip, youth-oriented ma­te­rial, Slifkin wrote:

“No wonder screen­writer Steven Yafa did not ap­pre­ciate the even­tual treat­ment of his work and dis­as­so­ci­ated him­self from the re­sults, de­spite sur­pris­ingly witty di­a­logue and an in­tel­li­gence that plays today on a higher cere­bral level than the whole Amer­ican Pie se­ries put to­gether.”

Filming for the movie began in Feb­ruary 1968 with a working title of Paxton Quigley’s Had The Course, the name of Mr. Yafa’s novel upon which the script was based.While this title for the fin­ished product might have doomed the film with its clum­si­ness, it might have shed a little more light on the Chad & Je­remy recording of the same name and helped it garner a little at­ten­tion on the radio playlists. Or, not. The moviewas re­ceived with mixed re­views:

Three In The Attic ap­par­ently starts out to be a tragi­comedy about phys­ical sex vs love. It is lit­tered with padding op­tical ef­fects, ham­pered by un­even dra­matic con­cept, and re­dun­dant in its too-delicious sex teasing. Acting is am­a­teurish, save for Yvette Mimieux, who tries and slightly suc­ceeds.” (Va­riety

Three In The Attic was ac­tu­ally a com­mer­cial suc­cess: it was the 18th most pop­ular movie at the US box of­fice in 1969 and it was AIP’s highest grossing film of the decade!

In fact, its on­going suc­cess caused AIP to take Up In The Cellar—a 1970 movie about a man who de­cides to bed three women star­ring Larry Hagman and Joan Collins—and re-title it as Three In The Cellar and pro­mote it as a follow-up to Three In The Attic!

You can view Three In The Attic in its en­tirety (90:44) on YouTube:


THREE IN THE ATTIC (1968) Christo­pher Jones

Three In The Attic (the soundtrack)

By 1968, Je­remy Clyde’s true pas­sion, “the the­ater,” easily trumped a ca­reer as a mu­si­cian whose records were not selling and whose per­sonal ap­pear­ances were less and less fre­quently at­tended en masse. 

In 1969, he ap­peared in the British pro­duc­tion of Con­duct Un­be­coming, which in­cluded fellow pop star and thespian-wannabe Paul Jones of Man­fred Mann fame. Clyde later toured the US as part of the orig­inal Broadway cast.

So it was that Chad Stuart found him­self al­most a solo artist when he was com­mis­sioned in 1968 to score his first movie. To show solidarity—and con­tinue re­ceiving roy­alty checks—Jeremy con­tributed lyrics to one song and pro­vided the req­ui­site vo­cals so that the name of Chad & Je­remy could be ex­ploited in selling the movie and the album. (Of course, we have es­tab­lished that that name had little drawing power by this time . . )

The sound­track album was is­sued on Mike Curb’s once in­de­pen­dent Side­walk Records, but by then a sub­sidiary of Capitol Records. Capitol de­voted most of the Side­walk re­leases to sound­tracks from B-movies, each with Curb somehow in­volved, if only as the (all too often mean­ing­less) “ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer.”

The back cover of the album (Side­walk ST-5918) states that the music was “Arranged, com­posed, and pro­duced by Chad Stuart.” This more or less con­firmed the record­ings as a Chad Stuart solo en­deavor. As few cared and even fewer ac­tu­ally bought the album in 1968-70, it passed un­re­marked upon in the “new rock” press—then more or less the as­cen­dent Rolling Stone and the waning Craw­daddy mag­a­zines.

And the ubiq­ui­tous Mr. Curb—future head of MGM Records (where he would would create a minor stink in the in­dustry by drop­ping 18 artists from MGM’s roster for al­legedly pro­moting the use of drugs), fu­ture Reagan pro­tégé and Lieu­tenant Gov­ernor of Cal­i­fornia, and all-around and rightwingnut (ex­cept, queerly, he has been a staunch sup­porter of gay rights since the ’70s)—was in­deed cred­ited as Ex­ec­u­tive Pro­ducer.

The first side fea­tures five rock-pop tracks, three of which were written by Stuart, each with a dif­ferent lyri­cist. Side 2 is simply listed as a single track, Back­ground Music, and was also com­posed by Chad.

“This film was quite pos­sibly the worst movie ever made. (But the script was so promising!) It was so bad that the writer sued to have his name taken off the credits. I wanted so des­per­ately to score a movie, I think I would have scored Raising Pigs For Fun And Profit at that point in my ca­reer.

We were used to having su­perb mu­si­cians show up and sight-read the parts with no re­hearsal. Now, left to my own de­vices after Je­re­my’s de­par­ture, I had joined a band.

The minute Good Morning Sun­rise came on, it was blaz­ingly ap­parent that we had ob­vi­ously prac­ticed that song a lot! We played it with that magic syn­ergy that only a real band can achieve.” (Chad Stuart)

The overall sense of mood of the music is so laid back (back­laid?) it bor­ders on being too mellow—and that in­cludes the “up­beat” num­bers! Had some of the brighter tracks been a bit pep­pier, they might qualify as “sun­shine music,” a silly, con­trived sub-genre of straight (white) pop music with an em­phasis on group vo­cals.


Chad and Je­remy - Three in the Attic OST (Side­walk Records 1968)

Good morning sunrise

In April 1969, a single was is­sued from the sound­track and cred­ited solely to Chad Stuart: Good Morning Sun­rise / Pax­ton’s Song (Side­walk 944). The track would not have been out of place on a Moody Blues album of the time, where it would have been a standout with a little more oomph added to the per­for­mance and pro­duc­tion. (For the cyn­ical among you, this is NOT meant con­de­scend­ingly!)

This is the only one of any of any of the Three In The Attic ma­te­rial that was re­leased on a single; the other soundtrack-related re­lease, Paxton Quigley’s Had The Course / You Need Feet (You Need Hands) on Co­lumbia (see above) is ac­tu­ally a Chad & Je­remy track from The Ark.

This Side­walk single is also the only re­lease of these sound­track tracks which gives cor­rectly credits the artist solely as Chad Stuart. (A nod to Now and For­ever for the in­for­ma­tion here.)


CHAD & JEREMY- Good Morning Sun­rise

Oddly, Side­walk did the record a good turn and is­sued it in a pic­ture sleeve! The sleeve is nothing to crow abut: it is a black and white re­pro­duc­tion of the album cover on it. Both this sleeve and the record are rather rare, but like the other sin­gles in these ar­ticle, no one much cares …



 

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