1968 People! – I Love You
The Zombies formed in 1961 and had the good fortune to release a few really good singles in 1964. She’s Not There and Tell Her No qualified them to tour the US as part of the British Invasion. After that initial success, the group struggled to find hit records. In August 1965 they released Whenever You’re Ready, which stopped ten slots shy of reaching the Hot 100. Hiding on the b-side of the single was I Love You, a song written by their bass player, Chris White. It wasn’t even put on one of their albums until a compilation album came out in 1969.
The Zombies recorded the album Odessey and Oracle in 1967, but a pair of failed singles were enough to discourage the group. They disbanded and the band Argent arose from the ashes. In 1968, their record company finally released Time Of The Season, which was a hit pretty quickly in the UK but took until 1969 to reach the charts in the US.
Geoff and Robert Levin formed the band People! in 1966. They recruited drummer Dennis Fridkin and keyboardist Albert Ribisi as well as singers Gene Mason and Larry Norman. Geoff and Dennis wrote Somebody Tell Me My Name, which became the band’s second single in 1968. Was it just a coincidence that I Love You once again became a b-side? Fortunately, this time disk jockeys turned the record over and played their version of the song, and this time the song reached #14 on the Hot 100.
The band began touring on the strength of the single. They appeared on American Bandstand three times. On one visit they showed a video they had filmed to promote I Love You.
The Zombies’ record label woke up and re-issued the Zombie’s version of I Love You as an a-Side of its own single, but it was too late.
The People! fell apart almost as soon as they got their first hit. Four of the members had joined Scientology and told the other two they had to join Scientology or quit the group. Their two singers left and the People! never charted again.
After leaving the band, Larry became one of the most important figures in the new Christian music field and has recorded over a hundred albums.
In 2007 the band was inducted into the San Jose Hall of Fame and all six members performed together for the first time in decades. A new version of the group made up mostly of original members formed in 2018.
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