Long before “Make It With You,” “Everything I Own” and “If” became soft-rock standards for his band Bread, David Gates had toiled behind the scenes as a songwriter, producer, arranger and musician on the Hollywood scene. He worked with everybody from The Monkees to Captain Beefheart before striking out with Robb Royer and James Griffin to form Bread. The band’s debut album was released in 1969, featuring the original version of “It Don’t Matter to Me.” The song soon mattered quite a bit for Bread, though, when it charted Top 10 Pop in a single version. Now, the Australian label Rare Rockin’ Records is turning the pages back to David Gates’ pre-Bread days with the March 18 release of David Gates – The Early Years 1962-1967. It follows the label’s two previous songwriter retrospectives, one each for Burt Bacharach and Billy Meshel (who wrote for Del Shannon, Lenny Welch and Dion before moving on to a long, successful career in music publishing).
The Tulsa, Oklahoma-born Gates first found success on the local music scene, backing Chuck Berry while still in high school and even releasing a regional hit single, “Jo-Baby.” The siren call of Hollywood soon persuaded Gates to make the move west, and beginning in 1961, he soon found gainful employment. By 1964, he had achieved his first major success as a songwriter when The Murmaids took his “Popsicles and Icicles” to No. 3 on the Hot 100 under the aegis of the frequently colorful impresario Kim Fowley. In 1966, The Monkees included Gates’ “Saturday’s Child” on the group’s first album, and he even contributed the title song to Hanna-Barbera’s big screen romp Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear in 1964. As an arranger, Gates worked his magic on Glenn Yarbrough’s “Baby the Rain Must Fall” in 1965.
All the while, he was developing a solo career, recording for labels like Mala, Del-Fi and Planetary both under his own name and under pseudonyms like Del Ashley and The Manchesters. When Gates was hired to produce, arrange and conduct the Uni Records LP debut of Los Angeles pop group The Pleasure Fair in 1967, though, it turned out to be more than just another assignment. One member of The Pleasure Fair was Robb Royer, whose song “Say What You See” would be arranged by Gates and produced by Royer’s sometimes-songwriting partner James Griffin in 1968 for the group The Curtain Calls. Soon, Griffin, Royer and Gates teamed up as Bread. The group went on to score 13 hits on the Hot 100, and Gates notched a further seven as a solo artist.
After the jump: what will you find on David Gates – The Early Years 1962-1967? Hit the jump for more details plus the full track listing and pre-order link!
Rare Rockin’ Records’ 33-track compilation draws on the period between 1962 and 1967 and includes not only The Murmaids’ “Popsicles and Icicles,” but rare songs written by Gates as performed by a variety of artists including The Crickets, The Lettermen, Ann-Margret, Shelley Fabares, Connie Stevens, Jody Miller, Merry Clayton and Gwen Stacey. (The latter is apparently no relation of Spider-Man’s ex-girlfriend Gwen Stacy.) In addition to writing all of these songs, Gates also produced, arranged and/or conducted many of them. Many recall an uptown soul style, some favor uptempo Northern Soul and still others are awash in a Spector-style Wall of Sound. And these are just the tip of the iceberg where Gates’ prolific early career is concerned. All but six tracks are presented in mono, and many tracks are making their CD debuts. The accompanying 32-page booklet includes liner notes by writer and musician Brian Gari, plus photographs and label scans of the original releases. Among the many curiosities is a recording of Gates’ Bobby Vee-esque “Without You” sung by Michael Landon, then of television’s Bonanza, with backing vocals from The Blossoms and the participation of the famous L.A. Wrecking Crew, of course. As a bonus, the collection ends with Gates’ own demo version of “You’ll Be Needin’ Me, Baby” performed on the CD by The Lettermen. (One of Gates’ finest pre-Bread songs, it was also wonderfully recorded by Nino and April.)
David Gates – The Early Years 1962-1967 is set for release on March 18 in Australia from Rare Rockin’ Records, and it should arrive on American shores around April 2. You can pre-order below!
Various Artists, David Gates – The Early Years 1962-1967 (Rare Rockin’ Records, 2013)
- Popsicles and Icicles – The Murmaids (Chattahoochee CH-628, 1963)
- Hey Little Star – Ann-Margret (*) (RCA U.K. 1396, 1964)
- Without You – Michael Landon (*) (RCA Victor 47-8330, 1964)
- Don’t Let Him – Gloria Melbourne (A&M 740, 1964)
- Dorothy Berry – Crying on My Pillow (Challenge 59221, 1963)
- Pebbles – Dorsey Burnette (Reprise R-20,177, 1963)
- Football Season’s Over – Shelley Fabares (Colpix CP 721, 1964)
- Ain’t Gonna Cry No More – Gwen Stacey (RCA Victor 8306, 1964)
- My One and Only Jimmy Boy – The Girlfriends (Colpix CP 712, 1963)
- The Luckiest Girl in Town – Pat Powdrill (Reprise 0286, 1964)
- Tears, Rain – Frankie Fanelli (RCA Victor 8343, 1963)
- If You Ever Need Me – Margaret Mandolph (Planetary P-102, 1964)
- Playboy – The Crickets (*) (Liberty U.K. LIB 10145, 1964)
- Lost in Wonderland – Connie Stevens (Reprise 5610, 1965)
- You Better Watch Out – Dorothy Berry (Planetary P-101, 1964)
- The Fool of the Year – Johnny Burnette (*) (Liberty 55448, 1962)
- Lonely Girl – Gwen Stacey (RCA Victor 47-8451, 1964)
- Silly Little Girl – Margaret Mandolph (Planetary P-102, 1964)
- I Think I’m Gonna Cry – Gail Ganley (TBD)
- Jerry Modine – Are You Putting Me On (Kerwood single, 1963)
- Nothing Left to Do But Cry – Merry Clayton (Capitol 5100, 1963)
- Tell Him – Suzy Wallis (RCA Victor 47-8863, 1966)
- The Prince of My Dreams – Dotty & Kathy (Charter CR-14, 1963)
- The Brighter Side – Carl Edwards (Liberty single 55639, 1963)
- Give Thanks to a Friend – Gwen Stacey (RCA Victor 8306, 1964)
- Never Let Him Go – Jody Miller (Capitol 5353, 1965)
- For My Sake – The Girlfriends (Colpix CP-712, 1963)
- Swingin’ Gates – The Fencemen (Liberty 55509, 1962)
- No One Really Loves a Clown – Johnny Crawford (*) (Del-Fi 4188, 1962)
- Standin’ on the Corner – Dorothy Berry (Planetary P-105, 1965)
- How Do You Say Goodbye – Jody Miller (Capitol 5846, 1967)
- You’ll Be Needin’ Me, Baby – The Lettermen (*) (Capitol 5583, 1966)
- You’ll Be Needin’ Me, Baby (Demo) – David Gates
(*) denotes stereo