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The Wild Ones without Jordan

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on December 3, 2007 at 1:47:54 am
 

This photograph has great significance to me. This was the band's primary publicity photograph that was used after Jordan Christopher left the group. The photo was taken by Richard Avedon, a very notable photographer. He also took the photograph on the front cover of The Arthur Sound. To me, the photograph symbolizes the band's demise, in a way...I know that the band's notoriety and popularity began to diminish after Jordan Christopher left the group. Personally, I find it to be an excellent photograph, and while I do like the Kriegsman photograph very much, I feel that this one presented a more cutting-edge and "hip" image for the group.

 

Jordan Christopher left the group shortly after the debut of the group's first LP to pursue an acting career (Alden Interview 2). Musically, the Wild Ones didn't need Christopher. Alden had experience recording singles and singing with The Crests before becoming a member of the Wild Ones (Alden Interview 1), and he had no trouble pulling up the slack Christopher left behind. From now on, the insrtumentation of the band will be as follows:

 

  • Chuck Alden - Lead Vocal / Guitar
  • Tom Graves - Organ / Backup Vocal
  • Eddie Wright - Bass / Backup Vocal
  • Tommy Trick - Drums (Wild Ones write-up)

 

Although the group didn't need Christopher musically, they benefited from his fame that resulted from his marriage to Sybil Burton, which was announced in an article in Life magazine and on the front page of the Daily News (1965). Any public exposure the group could have gained after the release of The Arthur Sound LP was greatly diminished after Christopher left. Alden recalls:

Chuck Alden: "...Anyhow, the album came out and Jordan basically came in one night and said...he wants to leave the group. ...I think he thought he was going to be Mr. Hollywood, and so on and so forth…and again, in retrospect, that was dumb! We just had an album come out! And as bad as that album could've been they could've taken one cut, "People Sure Act Funny," anything! And put it out, and it could've been. No doubt about it!"

Justin Tricarico: "So he left the group right after The Arthur Sound came out?"

Chuck Alden: "Yeah! I mean, it came out, and he left the group, that was the dumbest thing he could've done for his own career! Forget about us! You know, there was no marketing anymore! …It was bad enough the album wasn't good, now they weren't even gonna try!" (Alden Interview 2)

 

The group still performed nightly at Arthur after Jordan left, and only left there to fulfill other engagements (Alden Interview 2). Even though the group's chances of fame were diminished after Christopher left, the group continued to meet with moderate, but declining success. The Wild Ones released their first single, "Wild Thing," on November 1st, 1965 (Leipzig: Wild Thing). The single failed to chart (citation needed!). The Wild Ones recorded the song quite differently from the demo recording they were given of Chip Taylor performing the song (Taylor, The Wild Ones: Wild Thing). It is interesting to note that the Troggs recorded the song in almost the exact same style of the demo recording (The Troggs). (The Troggs cover of this song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 30th, 1966 (citation needed!).) Alden and Tricarico expressed regret for not recording the song in the same way (Alden Interview 1).

 

The band secured a small spot in rock 'n roll history by being the first rock 'n roll group to perform on NBC Radio's traditional New Year's Eve program (Tricarico Interview 2). The Wild Ones joined Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Harry James, Gene Krupa, and Fred Waring Jr. in bringing in 1966. The program was captured live from Arthur (Leipzig: NBC Radio).

 

 

The group remained the house band at Arthur throughout 1966. During the summer of 1966, the group toured the United States under the sponsorship of Sears, Roebuck & Co (Leipzig 1966). The tour, according to Sears East Wind, was successful, from a merchandising standpoint. Generally, each performance of the Wild Ones was coupled with some sort of exposure of Sears merchandise. A fashion show preceding the concert was a typical situation. Also, it was typical for the Wild Ones single "Come On Back" to be given away at the performances (Sears East Wind). The single was recorded on the Sears label specifically for the tour (Alden Interview 2). The reader can consult Baker and Dye to gain some insight as to what some typical performances were like and how they were received. The group performed in fifty-six cities during the course of the tour (Wild Ones Publicity Outline). It began on June 30th, 1966 and was completed September 24th, 1966. Extensive radio, TV, and newspaper promotion were a part of the tour (Leipzig 1966). One can see in Gardiner a typical itinerary for publicity opportunities on any given day of the tour.

 

The group stayed together for about a year after Jordan left (Alden Interview 2).

 

Next Page: Dissolution of the Band

 

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