1966 The Innocence – There’s Got To Be A Word
The death of Red Bird Records ended the career of the Trade Winds. They immediately signed with Kama Sutra Records and rebranded themselves as The Innocence. They recorded an eponymous album in late 1966.
While the Trade Winds album had been almost exclusively songs co-written by two members of the group (Peter Anders and Vini Poncia), their new album included a cover of Do You Believe In Magic (the Lovin’ Spoonful was also on Kama Sutra) and several songs written by Don Ciccone. Don had been the primary songwriter and the driving force for The Critters, and the first charting single from the album was a cover of Don’s There’s Got To Be A Word. The record reached the Hot 100 the last weeks of 1966 and peaked at #34 in early 1967.
The next charting single from the album was pretty unexpected: it was a cover of Mairzy Doats. The Merry Macs reached the top of the charts with the song in 1944, and lots of other covers followed that year.
Sadly, the version by the Innocence stalled at #75 and the band’s career stalled as well.
Peter and Vini recorded and released an album as Anders & Poncia, but it appears nobody noticed it.
Vini had a successful career as a producer and songwriter. He co-wrote some songs with Ringo and produced some of his albums. He also co-wrote I Was Made for Lovin’ You for Kiss and produced one of their albums. Other artists he wrote songs for include Jackie DeShannon, Tommy James, and Martha Reeves, and he co-wrote You Make Me Feel Like Dancing with Leo Sayer.
Peter became an EMT for Universal Ambulance in Rhode Island. He died in 2016.
Back when radio was more important to promoting hit records than television or the Internet, it was common for groups to have regional hits that remain unknown in much of the county. Perhaps that explains why I instantly recall all four of the hits by the Trade Winds and the Innocence while most people outside of the Northeast US have never heard any of them.
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