She talks kinda lazy and people say she’s crazy and her life’s a mystery (Edison Lighthouse, 1970)

On February 21, 1970, “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” by Edison Lighthouse entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #68. It would go to #5 on the US singles chart and become a #1 hit in the UK (five weeks in a row).

An interesting marketing phenomena was happening in the music industry around 1970. Pop-music manufacturing was hitting its stride. Radio stations on both sides of the Atlantic were craving new music and 45 rpm singles were selling millions of copies. Album sales were doing fine, but individual songs were what artists were looking to record and what the public wanted hear.

In England, songwriters like Tony McCauley began cobbling together session musicians, taking them into studios and recording their songs under manufactured band names. While some would argue that The Monkees were a manufactured group, at least the same four guys played every gig month after month. These newly created “bands” were ad hoc session musicians, gathering under the premise of being a group. Brotherhood of Man (“United We Stand”) was one British ensemble assembled by McCauley. Another was Edison Lighthouse.

McCauley hired session vocalist Tony Burrows to be the singer on “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes).” Burrows was no stranger to this hired-voice reality. He had been the lead vocalist for The Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding,” White Plains’ “My Baby Loves Lovin’,” and the aforementioned McCauley project “United We Stand” by Brotherhood of Man. Oddly enough, all four songs became Top 10 hits in the UK at the same time, yet Burrows name was nowhere to be seen, and few knew who he was.

When these manufactured groups were asked to appear on TV or in concert, a mad scramble ensued, assembling and signing musicians to become temporary bands. Burrows rarely toured with these pre-fabricated groups, but he would make television appearances to sing the hits — as he did in this performance with Edison Lighthouse.

That said, Tony McCauley really did write some great (and infectious) pop songs.

About poppaculture

I am a seasoned consumer of modern (and not so modern) culture.
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