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Early Days at the Peppermint Lounge

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 10 months ago

These photographs, the postcard, and the newspaper clipping from the previous page are all scanned from a scrapbook created for my father by his late first wife, Anita Parascondola. I remember, at my father's mother's funeral, I met Ms. Parascondola's son, who my father served as a stepfather to while he was in the Wild Ones. Her son asked me if I had seen this scrapbook. I told him I hadn't, but later I realized that I had and I simply didn't  remember it. I found it to be a great wealth of information and interesting materials relating to the Wild Ones. One interesting piece of material that was saved was a note that Jackie Gleason wrote to my father and had delivered to him while he was playing on the bandstand at Arthur which reads "One man's opinion...you're the whole business up there! Good show!". The note can be viewed in the bibliography section.

Once the group was finalized, the Wild Ones got an audition and began playing opposite the Younger Brothers (which was the current house group) at the Peppermint Lounge at 128 West 45th St. in Manhattan. Eventually they became the house band at this venue (Alden Interview 2; "Peppermint Lounge Postcard").

 

The Peppermint Lounge is a historically significant venue. (Vanity Fair refers to it as an "inauspicious dump destined to become a pop landmark.") It can be considered the "birthplace" of the twist. The single "Peppermint Twist" by Joey Dee and the Starlighters (this group was the house band at the Peppermint Lounge in 1961) was recorded here in 1961, and, according to Vanity Fair: "In a curious anomaly, a small wreck of a bar in midtown Manhattan with an occupancy limit of 178 achieved what Clark's nationwide TV show [American Bandstand] had failed to do: make the dance [the twist] into a worldwide fad." The New York Times reported that "The Twist, nowadays, is for squares" in 1964 (qtd. in Vanity Fair), the year the Wild Ones became the house band at the Peppermint Lounge. [Further discussion of the twist is beyond the scope of this project, I recommend that interested readers refer to the Vanity Fair article on the topic for further reading.]

 

The band left the Peppermint Lounge for Arthur in mid-April 1965 (Alden Interview 2).

 

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