1966 The Cyrkle – Turn Down Day
Don Dannemann and Tom Dawes met while waiting on line for physicals when they arrived at Lafayette College in 1961. They formed a band called the Rhondells with a few other students and began playing at frat parties. Their group was not connected with Bill Deal and the Rhondels. The other members of the group drifted away except for the keyboard player, Earl Pickens. Marty Fried joined the group as their drummer in 1963.
Entertainment lawyer Nat Weiss heard the band perform in Atlantic City in 1964, and they impressed him with their sound. Nat booked the Beatles for some of their early appearances in the US and introduced the group to Brian Epstein (the manager for the Beatles).
Brian began managing the group. He suggested they change their name to the Circle. John Lennon probably suggested they adopt some strange spelling, and they became the Cyrkle. Tom began playing bass and guitar by using a special double-neck guitar that made it possible to swap back and forth.
Don had to leave the group temporarily to meet an obligation with the Coast Guard. During that stretch, Tom played bass on a Simon and Garfunkel tour. Tom came back with a desire to record two songs that Paul had written with Bruce Woodley of the Seekers. The important song was Red Rubber Ball. They convinced Columbia Records to sign the Cyrkle and release that single in 1966. The record reached #2 and provided enough credibility for the group to open for the Beatles on their Summer tour in 1966.
The group’s first album also contained their second single, Turn Down Day. That single only reached #16 and became their last stop on the US Hot 100 top Forty.
Michael Losekamp joined the group playing keyboards. The group recorded a second album and at least eight more singles but gained no additional traction. They threw together the soundtrack of a forgettable film (The Minx) using some of their uncollected singles in 1967. After that, the group disbanded.
Don and Tom went on to successful careers, writing jingles. Their most well-known jingles include “Pop Pop Fizz Fizz” for Alka-seltzer and 7 Up The Uncola. Tom also found success writing songs and produced two albums for Foghat.
Don and Michael reformed the Cyrkle with four additional musicians in 2016 and continue to make appearances on the oldies circuit. The group maintains a website at http://www.thecyrkle.com/home.html.