Just Play Some of That Bubblegum Pop

8.8 Bubblegum Pop Music

Bubblegum music is arguably THE most disparaged genre of music known to mankind. Sure, the music was totally prefabricated. If the song was not being played by a “band” put together for a TV show or a group of cartoon characters, the idea was to sell music to what we call today the “tweeners”. If you do not know, the tweeners are those pre-teenage kids that have disposable income (thanks to Mommy and Daddy) to purchase on seemingly innocent lyrics set to a beat that’s easy to dance to and rocking guitars.

8.8 the archies
The Archies

Now, there have always been artists that were marketing to the teens and tweens. From Frank Sinatra in the Forties, to Elvis in the Fifties, to all the teen idols and bubblegum artists of the Sixties and Seventies, to the boy bands and young male and female singers from the TRL era, we have always had sugary music geared to the youth of America.

8.8 the monkees
The Monkees

In the Sixties, bubblegum began with the formation of The Monkees for a TV show. The “Prefab Four” rode the gravy train for a couple of years until they wanted to exert artistic control. So, in an effort to combat that “problem”, producers began a Motown-type situation where they hired some great songwriters, musicians and vocalists to create music. Many of the following hits were written, sung AND performed by the same people but given a different group name based upon the “sound”. Some of the producers even had their groups made into Saturday morning TV shows, like the animated Archies or the live action group in costumes such as the Banana Splits. You may not believe this, but there was one band that was created to sell cereal whose music was released as a cardboard record on the back of a cereal box, The Sugar Bears.

8.8 sugar bears
The Sugar Bears

Now, how does this genre work with alternative music? Well, many of the early punk and new wave artists LOVED this music and played and recorded versions of this music. The Ramones were known to play cover versions of bands like the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. Also, the Sex Pistols covered the version of “(I’m Not) Your Steppin’ Stone” recorded by Paul Revere & the Raiders, as opposed to The Monkees’ version. Finally, the L.A. punk band The Dickies had a minor hit with a cover of the “Banana Splits Theme”. And, these were just the tip of the iceberg.

The real reason bubblegum was so important to the development of punk/new wave music was the energy. These artists were some of the first to whom this music was geared, so bubblegum had to influence their art. Additionally, some of the early punk songs sounded a lot like bubblegum songs. The best example would be the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop”. Go ahead and choose a bubblegum sound and then play the Ramones and tell me you don’t hear the similarities in not only the brilliant simplicity of the two songs, but also the manic energy shared by the songs.

8.8 the kids from the brady bunch
The Kids from The Brady Bunch

So, the next time you have a hankering to listen to Harpers Bizarre version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” or The Cowsills’ cover of “Hair”, do not be ashamed and be proud of your love of this music.

And, now for this countdown of an underappreciated genre of music that actually has exerted a huge influence on today’s alternative music. ON WITH THE COUNTDOWN!!!

8.8 jackson 5
Jackson 5
  1. The Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back” (1969)
  2. Blue Swede – “Hooked on a Feeling” (1974)
  3. The Five Stairsteps – “Ooh Child” (1970)
  4. Tommy James & the Shondells – “I Think We’re Alone Now” (1967)
  5. The Monkees – “I’m a Believer” (1967)
  6. The Pipkins – “Gimme Dat Ding” (1970)
  7. Reunion – “Life Is a Rock (But Radio Rolled Me)” (1974)
  8. The Foundations – “Build Me Up Buttercup” (1968)
  9. The Cowsills – “The Rain, the Park and Other Things” (1967)
  10. Harpers Bizarre – “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” (1967)
  11. Tommy James & the Shondells – “Mony Mony” (1968)
  12. The McCoys – “Hang on Sloopy” (1965)
  13. Edison Lighthouse – “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” (1970)
  14. Vanity Fair – “Hitchin’ a Ride” (1969)
  15. The Archies – “Sugar Sugar” (1969)
  16. Ohio Express – “Chewy, Chewy” (1968)
  17. Michael Jackson – “Rockin’ Robin” (1972)
  18. The Kids from The Brady Bunch – “Candy (Sugar Shoppe)” (1972)
  19. The First Class – “Beach Baby” (1974)
  20. Sweet – “Little Willy” (1972)
  21. The Sugar Bears – “You Are the One” (1971)
  22. Bobby Bloom – “Montego Bay” (1970)
  23. The Jackson 5 – “ABC” (1970)
  24. The Banana Splits – “I Enjoy Being a Boy (In Love with You)” (1969)
  25. The Flying Machine – “Smile a Little Smile for Me” (1969)
  26. Ohio Express – “Yummy Yummy Yummy” (1968)
  27. Tommy Roe – “Dizzy” (1969)
  28. Jefferson – “Baby, Take Me in Your Arms” (1968)
  29. The Fun & Games – “The Grooviest Girl in the World” (1968)
  30. The Rock and Roll Double Bubble Trading Card Company of Philadelphia – “Bubble Gum Music” (1968)
  31. The Partridge Family – “I Think I Love You” (1970)
  32. The Love Affair – “Everlasting Love” (1968)
  33. Sweet – “Wig Wam Bam” (1972)
  34. Daddy Dewdrop – “Chick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)” (1971)
  35. Spiral Staircase – “More Today Than Yesterday” (1969)
  36. The DeFranco Family – “Abra-Ca-Dabra” (1973)
  37. The Archies – “Bang-Shang-A-Lang” (1968)
  38. Music Explosion – “Sunshine Games” (1967)
  39. The Lemon Pipers – “Green Tambourine” (1968)
  40. 1910 Fruitgum Company – “Indian Giver” (1969)
  41. The Osmonds – “Yo-Yo” (1972)
  42. The Royal Guardsmen – “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” (1966)
  43. Dawn – “Knock Three Times” (1970)
  44. The Brotherhood of Man – “United We Stand” (1970)
  45. Michael Jackson – “Ben” (1972)
  46. Bobby Sherman – “Julie Do Ya Love Me” (1970)
  47. Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods – “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” (1974)
  48. Paper Lace – “The Night Chicago Died” (1974)
  49. The Raiders – “Indian Reservation (The Lament of Cherokee Reservation Indian)” (1971)
  50. Terry Jacks – “Seasons in the Sun” (1974)
8.8 banana-splits
The Banana Splits

I sure hope you had a great time reminiscing this much maligned musical genre. Go ahead and don’t be ashamed that you know most of these songs. Personally, I danced to many of these songs at the sock-hops at my dad’s first school where he was principal. Long live Bubblegum Pop!!!

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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