Year of Release: 1969
I appear to be approximately the 24th person online to blog about this one. Oh well. The simple truth is that some flop records have such an impact on the people who hear them that they promptly rush to the internet to tell everyone they know. Then those people tell everyone they know. And the dominos keep toppling until someone asks the not unreasonable question: "So how come this wasn't a hit?" Allow me to tell you.
The Fun And Games were originally a Houston based group called The Six Pentz who morphed into their more well-known moniker to avoid confusion with another similarly named local act. After some turmoil and a series of small-time independent recordings, they settled on a line up of Rock Romano on guitar and vocals, Joe Dungan on keyboards, Joe Ramano on bass, Sam Irwin on vocals and tambourine, and Carson Grahm on drums.
After building up a positive local following in the Houston area they were discovered by Los Angeles based songwriter Gary Zekley, who pitched the idea of a working partnership with them to Uni Records. The label agreed, and the recording sessions produced this tearing great noise. "The Grooviest Girl In The World" is usually classified as bubblegum, but this actually just as easily sits somewhere between garage pop and glam. Filled with shouts of "Hey!", fuzzed up guitars, close vocal harmonies, thumping drums and pure joy, it's as close to pop perfection as the late sixties ever got. Placing this on your turntable is like inviting the contents of a local fairground into your living room - the hooks spin around your head and flash with neon colours until it all becomes a little bit over-exciting. If you don't feel as if you should be doing laps of your living quarters by the time the band sing "Come fly with me in my balloon", I am worried for your state of mind.
It really should have been a huge hit, but Sam Irwin took to the stage at a Los Angeles music industry showcase and began insulting various Uni staffers live onstage, who subsequently lost their enthusiasm for promoting the record. It struggled to number 78 in the Billboard Hot 100 then disappeared again, an unjust end to a fantastic single - but there again, the result was perhaps only to be expected.
Sadly, the fact that it's compiled on the album "25 All Time Greatest Bubblegum Hits" means I can't include it in full here, but it's on YouTube for you all to enjoy.
The flip side "It Must Have Been The Wind" is strangely dopey and jazzy and almost of equal interest, if inevitably overshadowed by its top side. Here the group sound less sugary and much more as if they could be at home on an album of psychedelic obscurities. Obviously a band of many skills, then, but despite their talents the subsequent LP "Elephant Candy" did very little sales-wise, and the band had disappeared by the time the seventies dawned.