s skippy the bush kangaroo: The Six O'Clock Alarm Would Never Ring

skippy the bush kangaroo

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Six O'Clock Alarm Would Never Ring

There were two real musicians and two others: the kid who kept beating out Paul Williams (the short Canadian whose Phantom of the Paradise is a true classic) for roles such as Circus Boy (and who sang lead on most of the hits), and the English kid with the longish, straight hair.

Don Kirshner wanted a photogenic—telegenic—group he could control and sell. The songwriting would be taken care of by The Professionals: Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Neil Diamond, John Stewart (who wrote the song shown below), Jerry Goffin and his wife "Oh" Carol King, and the other residents of 1619 Broadway.

But something happened on the way to that place. It turned out that the musicians were real musicians, and the two actors—who later toured with Boyce and Hart—understood that the musicians wanted to do more—like write and make music—and supported those efforts.

The musicians had friend (such as Frank Zappa) who added absurdity to shows that otherwise were comedic. The Texan began to write and produce country-rock songs, in the days before Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The four became a group, and began to do interesting things—even (Heaven forfend) publicly credit the studio musicians who worked on their albums, not to mention those who toured with them.

It lead to fights that did no one any good in the short term: Kirshner decided that if they weren't going to be The Prefab Four (as wags later referred to them), he didn't need to keep them around. The country-rock album was delayed until after The Byrds disc proved that the kid Had the Right Idea After All.

After three short seasons, it fell apart. The television series ended, and almost no one missed it. The group made a few albums and a movie over the next few years, but first the bassist and then the lead guitarist left.

The more you look at it, the more you think the bright-eyed English kid kept them all together Just Long Enough. And when they re-formed, nearly twenty years later, recording some new material and even being a tour (apparently, until Don Henley gave them a negative review, at which point the lead guitarist quit the tour and returned to his successful production company). And they tried some more, but the thrill was gone.

And now the English kid has taken that Last Train to Clarksville, being "done too soon" of a heart attack.

RIP, David Thomas "Davey" Jones.

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posted by Ken Houghton at 3:06 PM |


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