1968 Ohio Express – Chewy Chewy
Songwriter Artie Resnick co-wrote a series of successful singles beginning with Gene McDaniels’ top ten hit Chip Chip in 1961. Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters followed in 1964, and 1965 brought him two hits by Ronnie Dove (One Kiss for Old Times Sake and A Little Bit of Heaven). It took recordings by three different groups, but by 1966 he had co-written the chart-topping Good Lovin’ for the Rascals.
Artie, his wife Kris, and singer/songwriter Joey Levine formed the band The Third Rail and recorded an album. They released the single Run, Run, Run, which reached #53 on the Hot 100 in 1967.
Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz (K&K) were hired by Neil Bogart of Buddah Records in 1966 to produce music for the label. They invented Bubblegum Music and began producing it using studio musicians. They also hired The Third Rail members to write and produce music for them.
In 1966, five musicians from Brooklyn and the Bronx formed a group called The Rare Breed. They recorded the song Beg, Borrow, And Steal. The song was nearly a clone of Louie, Louie. They released the single on K&K’s Attack Records label, but it failed to chart. They also recorded the single Come And Take a Ride in My Boat, which also failed to chart but was later recorded by Every Mother’s Son and turned into a hit. The Rare Breed got into a dispute with their label and disbanded and left the music industry.
Buddah re-released Beg, Borrow, And Steal using the name The Ohio Express in late 1967 and the record promptly shot up to #29 on the Hot 100. It was not the first (or last) time that the label renamed a group and released or re-released a record. Drummer Tim Corwin and four other musicians from Mansfield, Ohio had a band named Sir Timothy & the Royals. They were hired to tour as the Ohio Express and promote the single. It appears that the touring group never actually recorded any of the music that was released using the Ohio Express name.
While that group toured, the members of the Third Rail co-wrote a series of singles and recorded them with Joey singing lead and studio musicians playing instruments. In April 1968 they released the single Yummy Yummy Yummy, which reached #4 on the Hot 100 and helped solidify the concept of Bubblegum Music.
Down At Lulu’s followed in August and peaked at #33 (I’m a sucker for harmony, so I actually liked that record enough to buy the single).
Their third single in 1968 was Chewy Chewy, which reached #15. I did not buy that single. The touring band even managed to lip-sync to the single on television.
Joey grew unhappy with the amount of money that he was earning creating hit records for K&K and left in 1969.
K&K hired Graham Gouldman and the four future members of the group 10CC to take over creating music as the Ohio Express. The musicians recorded Sausalito (Is the Place to Go), a song written and sung by Graham. The single only reached #86 in late 1969. The next three singles issued as the Ohio Express failed to even reach the charts, and the next year, Buddah Records stopped using that name at all.
Tim successfully filed a service mark for the name The Ohio Express and has continually led various groups using the name at oldies shows since the eighties. There was even a brief reunion of the original touring group in 1988.
Joey has made a comfortable living writing and producing jingles for commercials. He also was a member of the studio group Reunion and sang lead on their top ten novelty record Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me) in 1974.
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