1963 The Routers – Let’s Go (Pony)
In 1961, guitar player Michael Z. Gordon formed two groups that began producing records using a combination of regular group members and studio musicians.
While members of the Starlighters, brothers Lanny and Robert Duncan wrote and recorded a demo for Let’s Go (Pony) in 1961. A few of the Routers recorded a version with the help of some studio musicians, and that became their first single in 1962. Let’s Go (Pony) peaked at #19 on the Hot 100, but that was hardly the end of the tune. UK Soccer teams began using the hand-clapping featured on the single followed by the chant of, “Let’s Go,” and before long cheerleaders everywhere followed suit.
The bass guitar player, who also did vocals on some of their recordings, was Scott Walker. Scott became the lead singer for the Walker Brothers in 1964. The group moved to the UK and had two number one records in the UK which became top twenty hits on the Hot 100 in the US in 1965 and 1966.
The group lineup kept changing as they recorded with a rotating group of session musicians. The regular line-up changed to Michael on guitar, Leon Russell on piano, and Hal Blaine on drums. Sting Ray also featured rhythmic clapping, but the single only took the group back to #50 on the Hot 100 in 1963. Different line-ups of the group continued releasing music through 1973, but the Routers never again reached the chart.
The other group Michael formed in 1961 was The Mar-Kets. The group later changed their name to The Marketts. That group also utilized session musicians (again, including Hal) and primarily created instrumentals. Their biggest hit came in 1964 when the single Out Of Limits reached #3 on the Hot 100. Michael co-wrote over sixty songs and eventually transitioned to producing television and film projects.
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