A Brief History Of The Cuff Links.
By David R. McLallen
Like many of the bubblegum greats, the Cuff Links were a producer-driven group, in this case, by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance. Ron Dante was fronting several "ghost groups" (as he called them) at the time, and did a quick one-off recording session for the song "Tracy" with Pockriss & Vance - who had written his 1964 hit "Leader of the Laundromat." Dante did all voices for the recording. He promised that if the song became a hit, he would record a full album for them.
"Tracy" was released in 1969 and quickly hit the Top 10, reaching #9 just as "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies (lead singer: Ron Dante) was preparing to leave the Number 1 spot. Ron had two different songs in the Top 10 under two different names!
Dante kept his promise and recorded a full album's worth of material - "Tracy" the album was recorded in less than two days. To arrange and conduct the album, Pockriss & Vance hired an inexperienced young man named Rupert Holmes. The album consisted mostly of songs by Pockriss and/or Vance, with the exception of a couple of covers: Jackie DeShannon's "Put a Little Love In Your Heart" and Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline". A second single, "When Julie Comes Around" was released from the album, but stalled at #41. The album itself reached #138 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.
When Pockriss and Vance decided to do a second Cuff Links album, Ron Dante declined to participate as he finally had an album coming out from Kirshner Records - under his own name! Rupert Holmes took over as vocalist, in addition to his duties as arranger and conductor. He also received credit as co-songwriter on one track, "Jennifer Tompkins". Again, the album included a cover song, Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)". "Run Sally Run" was issued as a single, but only reached #76. Some sources say that Ron Dante did background vocals for this track, but Ron told me in an email that he had nothing to do with it. The album tanked and did not chart, so that was the end of the Cuff Links. Pockriss and Vance went on to work with the Partridge Family, Rupert Holmes eventually got his solo hit with "The Pina Colada Song" and Ron Dante, of course, went on to be one of the most sought after producers in music, working with many different artists, although the two that most people are aware of are Barry Manilow and Cher!"
Following are the covers and liner notes for the two albums. Remember as you read these that the Cuff Links never truly existed until a touring group was put together well after the first album was released. (And without Dante.) All lead and backing vocals on the first album were done by Ron Dante and all lead and backing vocals on the second (with the possible exception of backing vocals on "Run Sally Run") were by Rupert Holmes. Note that no names are mentioned other than songwriters and producers.
TRACY (Decca DL 75160) 1969
Tracy (2:14) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
All The Young Women (3:05) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
Heather* (2:42) Lee Pockriss - Shelly Pinz
Early In The Morning* (2:16) Paul Vance - Leon Carr
Put a Little Love In Your Heart* (2:28) Jimmy Holiday - Randy Myers - Jackie D. DeShannon
Lay a Little Love On Me* (2:45) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
When Julie Comes Around* (2:44) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
I Remember (2:41) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)* (2:45) Neil Diamond
Where Do You Go? (2:57) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
Sally Ann (You're Such A Pretty Baby) (2:46) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
A PAUL VANCE - LEE POCKRISS PRODUCTION
ARRANGED & CONDUCTED BY LEE POCKRISS
*STRINGS ARRANGED BY RUPERT HOLMES
PHOTOGRAPHY: HAL BUKSBAUM
ORIGINAL LINER NOTES:
Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss wrote for the big ones - Sinatra, Mathis, Goulet - from beautiful ballads to pop songs to novelty hits like Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.
In 1969 an exciting new sound came to their attention. A new pop group was doing vocal counterpoint. Counterpoint! - music heretofore reserved for the classicists! The seven-member group also featured sax, trumpet, guitar, bass, drums and organ. It was their technical ability as well as their innovative renditions of current pop songs like Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline and Jackie DeShannon's Put a Little Love In Your Heart that inspired Pockriss and Vance to write for THE CUFF LINKS.
They wrote the song, produced the record, brought it to Decca, and - sure enough! - the (by-now-nine-member) team had a smash hit single called Tracy.
With that kind of success, the team was anxious to get their album together so they called in 22-year old Rupert Holmes and delegated the arrangement of six new songs to him. And since Tracy was so good to them, they were good to the girls and devoted half the album to All The Young Women, Sally Ann, Sweet Caroline, Heather, When Julie Comes Around" and, of course, Tracy herself.
Versatile, vibrant, vocal - this first album assures still much more success for THE CUFF LINKS.
THE CUFF LINKS (Decca DL 75235) 1970
Robin's World* (2:44) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
Thank You Pretty Baby* (2:31) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
Jennifer Tompkins* (2:21) Vance-Holmes-Florio
Down In Louisiana (2:17) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
Mister Big (Oh What A Beautiful Day) (2:50) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
The Kiss (3:47) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
Foundation of Love* (2:33) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
Bobbie* (2:25) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)* (2:29) Tony Macauley - Barry Mason
Run Sally Run (2:21) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
Afraid of Tomorrow* (2:52) Paul Vance - Lee Pockriss
A PAUL VANCE - LEE POCKRISS PRODUCTION
ARRANGED & CONDUCTED BY
LEE POCKRISS/* RUPERT HOLMES
ORIGINAL LINER NOTES:
They're happening on an album again!
The Cuff Links, of course. They're following "Tracy" with this album you're holding. And if you're holding, chances are you'll soon be listening.
And that's when they're happening on an album again!
The nine-member group that has made it and made it and made it has now collected a group of new songs with the emphasis on love and some of the girls who inspire it.
There's Robin and Jennifer and Bobbie and Rosemary and Sally . . . all immortalized in bright new songs. But each with its own point of view.
And then there's the phenomenal love ballad, Thank You Pretty Baby, that doesn't quit from note one to the haunting fadeout at the end.
And, just to keep everybody in mind of what's happening outside of albums, there's the blockbuster, Mister Big (Oh What a Beautiful Day). That should give ecology a giant step or two.
What we're saying here is that The Cuff Links are following their smash first album with this brilliant set. They know it's brilliant and we know it's brilliant . . . now it's your turn to know.
Hear the Cuff Links happening . . . to you.
Tracy/Where Do You Go (Decca 32533) 1969
When Julie Comes Around/Sally Ann (Decca 32592) 1969
Run, Sally, Run/I Remember (Decca 32639) 1970
Lay A Little Love On Me/Robin's World (Decca 32687) 1970
Thank You Pretty Baby/Kiss (Decca 32732) 1970
All Because Of You/Wake Up Judy (Decca 32791) 1971
Sandi/The Oke-Fen-Okee Electric Harmonica Band
(Paul Vance-Lee Pockriss)
The Cufflinks, Atco 45-6867: 1972,
A Vance/Pockriss Production, A,C: Hutch Davie
Some Girls Do (Some Girls Don't)/Poppa's Theme
(Paul J. Vance - Lee Pockriss)
Roulette 7171; 1975
A Vance/Pockriss Production
A - Arranged and conducted by John Abbott
B- Arranged and conducted by Lee Pockriss
THE CUFF LINKS TOURING GROUP