1970 Tony Burrows Sings In Four Groups
There have been any number of singers who have recorded hits with multiple groups, but few can approach the success Tony Burrows achieved in a single year.
Tony began singing with various skiffle groups in the fifties and began singing professionally in 1960. The first professional group he joined was the Kestrels. The group members also included Roger Greenaway, and in 1963 Roger Cook joined the group as well. The pair of Rogers eventually formed a songwriting team responsible for songs like You’ve Got Your Troubles by the Fortunes, Long Cool Woman in a Black Press by the Hollies, and several songs Tony recorded with various groups.
Tony released a solo album using the name Tony Bond, and when little came from that, he joined the Ivy League in the mid-sixties. The League fell apart and in some respects reformed as The Flower Pot Men. Roger and Roger wrote and produced most of the new group’s records. Tony’s lead vocals were on the group’s release of Lets Go To San Francisco in 1967 that owed a clear debt to Brian Wilson and his Pet Sounds project. The single reached #4 on the UK charts, but failed to chart in the US. In 1969, the group changed their name to White Plains.
In early 1970, White Plains released the single My Baby Loves Lovin’, on which Tony sang lead vocals. The single reached #13 on the Hot 100 in 1970. Tony left the group and began doing studio vocals for various other groups.
Edison Lighthouse was formed in late 1969 with Tony singing lead vocals. They recorded Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes). The single sat atop the UK chart for five weeks and peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 in the US in 1970.
Tony and Roger Greenaway formed their own duo named The Pipkins. Their biggest hit came from a song written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, a novelty record called Gimme Dat Ding. A CD by the Pipkins included a pamphlet that claimed the song was the first rap record. A video on YouTube includes an interview with the group in 1970 where they discuss working in multiple groups at the same time. The single reached #6 in the UK and #9 in the US Hot 100 in 1970. They released an album and several other singles that had little impact.
Record producer/composer Tony Hiller formed The Brotherhood Of Man in 1969, intending it to have a rotating membership of studio musicians. Besides his frequent co-writer, John Goodison, the group also initially included Tony and Roger Greenaway. They recorded United We Stand, and the single topped the UK chart for the first five weeks of 1970. It also reached #13 in the US Hot 100. Tony left the group after that single, and the group struggled to find another hit. They finally succeeded in 1976 when the song Save Your Kisses for Me won the Eurovision contest.
The most amazing result of all those recordings came in the UK, where four of the singles were all in the Top Ten the same week. The four singles all charted in the US, as did a solo record by Tony: Melanie Makes Me Smile also reached the Hot 100 in 1970, but it peaked at only #87.
In 1974, Tony sang lead on the First Class single, Beach Baby, which reached #4 on the Hot 100. While a list isn’t readily available, Tony claims to have sung lead or backup vocals on over a hundred different top twenty singles in the UK in the seventies.
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