1969 The Arbors – The Letter
In the mid-to-late sixties, artists began to experiment with studio tricks to produce unusual-sounding records. Many psychedelic records made use of such tricks, but perhaps the most obvious example comes from a group that initially recorded typical Adult Contemporary songs.
The Arbors were two sets of brothers who began singing together at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1964. The group moved to New York and began recording for Date Records (a subsidiary of Columbia Records). Their 1966 single Symphony For Susan only reached #51 on the Hot 100, but it peaked at #18 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart. You can read more about that release in my blog.
They had similar results with their next two singles before recording a cover of The Letter in 1969. The song had topped the Hot 100 for The Box Tops in 1967, and the Arbors recorded a version that extensively used phasing. The record got up to #20 on the Hot 100 and #26 on the AC chart.
The group followed that success by recording an entire album of covers of recent rock hits. The group’s last recording for the album was a mashup of I Can’t Quit Her by Blood, Sweat & Tears and two lines from Simon and Garfunkel’s For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her. They released the song as a single and it reached #67 on the Hot 100 in 1969.
After that, the members of the group stopped recording records and spent over three decades making a living by creating music for jingles and commercials for radio and television.
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