THE HULLABALLOOS – Self Titled – (Roulette) – 1965

   what Frank is listening to #52- THE HULLABALLOOS – Self Titled – (Roulette) – 1965

However you look at it the British Invasion of American music was substantial, though admittedly, without the Beatles it would have been decidedly minor. There was a plethora of English bands making an impact on the US charts between 1964 – 1966 with The Beatles  (and to a lesser extent the Stones), who were by far and away the most important in chart results  and influence. But, the British Invasion was well and truly over by 1967 … that's not to say existing English bands didn't continue to have an impact on the charts or new acts break through, but  just, after 1966 there was no mass movement. In fact sustained commercial (Top 10) success, critical success and cultural success (in how many people they have influenced) for an English rock band hasn't existed probably since Led Zeppelin almost 40 years ago (U2 are Irish and I'll give you Coldplay if you want to claim them – though I'm not sure if either band has been really that "influential" … Oh and there was an arguable mini invasion in the early 80s) … but I digress, that last statement is another discussion altogether.

Back to the British Invasion … there were a number of US responses to the British Invasion:

  • Ignore it – and continue on your merry way (eg: Elvis, Dylan, folk , instrumental, surf, blue eyed soul, soul, psychedelica)
  • Challenge it – garage bands were largely a response to the English invasion pop. And lets face it on the rock spectrum The Beatles weren't "in your face" rock … and neither were The Searchers, The Dave Clark Five, Freddie and The Dreamers, or Herman's Hermits (who actually were the third biggest hitmakers after the Beatles and the Stones). And ultimately even in the Stones, The Who, and some of The Kinks (by far the hardest English rockers until 1965) sound positively tame when compared to the garage bands springing up all over the US. Though to be fair all of those bands learnt their song writing craft by listening to The Beatles (or the Beach Boys) pushing the song writing envelope. In any event a lot of the pre-Beatles "Frat Rock" bands mutated into "garage rock" bands (eg: anything on the Pebbles records).
  • Revert to earlier times and more "simple" rock n roll (eg: Flamin Groovies, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bobby Fuller Four)
  • Revert to earlier times and pre rock 'n' roll (R&B: The Blues Projections, Country: The Byrds, Old Timey: The Band)
  • Embrace it – Copy some of the sounds and style (eg: Paul Revere and the Raiders, Blue Things, The Gestures, Syndicate of Sound)
  • Import a "Pom" – (eg: The Monkees)
  • Import a lot of "Poms" and ride the wave – create a English band or bring a English band over from the UK even if they have no following there and call them "England's newest singing sensations" (eg: The Hullaballoos )
"The Hullaballoos" according to the liner notes, on this, their first album, are "England's Newest Singing Sensations" and the notes go on to describe how these four blond Britishers from Hull in England (Hull – get it ? …Hullaballoos) were discovered by John Chichester-Constable squire of Burton Constable Hall (where they were living) and brought to London where American record executives from Roulette records, Hugo (Peretti) and Luigi(Creatore) , saw them and signed them up.
This of course is all total bullshit with the exception of Hugo and Luigi – yep real guys and quite crafty and the band were from Hull (there was a John Chichester-Constable and a Burton Constable Hall as well but as far as I can find he had no impact on rock).
Hugo and Luigi were were Italian cousins born in NYC (1916 and 1920 respectively) who became hitmakers in the pre-rock era and had a hand in everything music – producing (The Tokens, Jimmie Rogers), writing (they did the lyrics for Elvis' "Cant Help Falling in Love"), record executives (Roulette, Atco).
But, The Hullaballoos is probably their most cynical act.
allmusic have a succinct history: So named because they hailed from Hull, England, the Hullaballoos were arguably the most exploitative act of the first wave of the British Invasion. With their wig-like helmets of bleach-blond hair that vied with the Pretty Things and the Stones in length, they had an immediately striking visual presence. Musically it was another matter, for the Hullaballoos were actually not even stars in their homeland, but packaged for U.S. consumption by Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, notorious vice presidents and A&R directors of Roulette Records. Most of their music was written by hack Brill Building songwriters, who were apparently intent on making the band sound as much like Buddy Holly as possible. Indeed, one of their small U.S. hits was a cover of Holly's "I'm Gonna Love You Too" (the other, "Did You Ever," was Holly-esque down to the hiccuping vocal). New York hacks may have devised their Buddy Holly-cum-Merseybeat sound — dominated by driving simple guitar chords and drums — in a superficial manner, but it's catchy and considerably forceful. The Hullaballoos faded almost immediately after a tiny splash in 1965, but that was probably built into the plan from the beginning.
The album cover with the "England's Newest Singing Sensations" and "Recorded in England" is testament to the cash-in on the British Invasion. Even more "Madison Avenue" is their name (despite the fact they were from Hull) – Hullabaloo (note the spelling) was a common word in folk music circles which was popular at the time and also the name of a popular TV Rock show that ran from 1965-66.   It seems The Hullabaloos were marketed and created down to the littlest detail.
So who were "The Hullaballoos"?
I have no idea – there is very little information on them apart from the above (I spent way too much time on this – I went through the LP twice in fact). I did find these bits though:
The Hullaballoos started life as 'Ricky Knight & the Crusaders about 1963,but changed their name to the 'Hullaballoos' when they began to be managed by John Chichester Constable,of Burton Constable Hall in Holderness.John Cambridge who had earlier been in the Hullaballoos with Mick Wayne, and later with Mick Ronson, replaced Steve Chapman on drums
or from another site:

Formed in 1963 in Hull, England, and originally known as Ricky And The Crusaders, the Hullaballoos comprised Rick Knight, Andrew Woonton, Geoffrey Mortimer and Harold Dunn. The quartet made its recording debut the following year with a version of Buddy Holly's "I'm Gonna Love You Too", but although their singles made no commercial impression in Britain, the group became popular in the USA. Adopted by producers Hugo And Luigi, they enjoyed an association with the successful Hullaballoo television show, but by the end of 1965 the lustre of their now anachronistic brand of beat had faded.
Musically, what they have done is taken pre-Beatles rock, added Merseybeat, and considerably sped it up …"The Searchers" on speed. Having said that it isn't half bad and to my ears is better than a lot of other British Invasion stuff.
Best Tracks:
  • I Couldn't Get Along Without You – haunting
  • Did You Ever – OMG – Buddy Holly is alive
  • Party Doll – the Buddy Knox rockabilly song
  • Every Night – OMG -Buddy Holly is alive, again
  • Why Do Fools Fall in Love – the great Frankie Lymon track
  • Who do you think you are foolin – Buddy Holly
  • I'm Gonna Love you Too – a actual Buddy Holly song
I may keep this – undecided.
Visuals – no sound – some legal hitch:
Blog spot:
  • the guitarist on their second album Mick Wayne later formed "Junior's Eyes" which became Bowie's backing band for a while, before going on to work with Steve Winwood, Ringo, Tim Hardin and Phil Collins.
  • John Cambridge (drums) had, earlier, been in the "later" Hullaballoos with Mick Wayne, and later with Mick Ronson was also in Junior's Eyes 

(originally posted: 26/06/2009) 


About Franko

Hi, I'm just a person with a love of music, a lot of records and some spare time. My opinions are comments not reviews and are mine so don't be offended if I have slighted your favourite artist. I have listened to a lot of music and I don't pretend to be impartial. You can contact me on though I would rather you left a comment. I also sell music at Cheers
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