1965 Beau Brummels – Laugh, Laugh
Sal Valentino grew up in San Francisco, where he pursued a singing career. He was offered a job at a local club and they expected him to bring a complete group to play. His childhood friend, Ron Elliott, was a singer/songwriter and guitar player, and Sal invited Ron to join him. Ron recruited Ron Meagher on bass, Declan Mulligan on rhythm guitar and harmonica, and John Petersen on drums to fill up the group.
The band called itself The Stepping Stones. They got hired by the Morocco Room in San Mateo. San Francisco disk jockey Tom Donahue, one of the owners of Autumn records, saw the band perform there. Tom signed the band with Autumn Records.
The band changed their name to the Beau Brummels and worked on their first album with producer Sylvester Stewart. Sylvester later changed his name to Sly Stone, and he formed Sly and the Family Stone in 1966.
The group’s first single was Laugh, Laugh. The record peaked at only #15 on the Hot 100 in 1965. The single became recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame as one of “The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll,” thanks to its early influence on the San Francisco sound. Ron Elliott began having health problems when the band toured because of his diabetes and the difficulty of eating properly on the road. When the group appeared on the Mike Douglas show, Michael “filled in” for Ron when the band sang over their record.
They released their first album in April 1965. The album contained their second single, Just A Little, and that record crept into the top ten. The two hit singles even propelled the group onto television shows and film. They appeared in the science fiction film Village of the Giants, which was later rebroadcast as an episode on MST3k. They also portrayed The Beau Brummelstones on the Flintstones.
Their second album came out in 1965 and spawned the single You Tell Me Why, which peaked at #38. That was the group’s last top forty record.
When Ron Elliott could no longer continue touring with the group, Don Irving took his place on the road. The army drafted Don in mid-1966.
In late 1966, John left the group to join another band on Autumn Records, Harpers Bizarre. John also eventually also married the sister of another member of that group, Ted Templeman. This left the group a trio, and that led them to name their next album Triangle.
Ron Meagher then also had the misfortune of being drafted. The two remaining members of the band (Sal and Ron Elliott) recorded a new Beau Brummels album with the help of studio musicians in Nashville in 1968, after which they disbanded the group.
Sal formed a new band, Stoneground, that released three albums over the next few years. Ron did some studio work for other groups and also released a solo album.
The five original members reunited and began touring again in 1974. They released a studio album in 1975 and recorded a live album that didn’t get released until 2000. The band fell apart again in late 1975. Various groupings of the members have toured off and on as the Beau Brummels since then.
In 2013 the remaining members reunited one last time and recorded their last studio album.
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