Who Is Bubblegum?

(Clockwise from left to right: Bingo,Snorky, Fleagle & Drooper)

Alphabetically, here's a good sampling of the Classic Bubblegum era Super Groups you can memorize in order to impress your friends (and some witty things to say about them when pressed to start a real juicy argument):

Archies - Betty Rubble had nothing on Veronica!

Banana Splits - Fleagle died of a heroin overdose and Bingo became Alice Cooper!

Crazy Elephant - They were neither elephants nor crazy!

George Baker Selection - They were from the Nederland's and were singularly responsible for Paloma Blanca! Their case was overturned in the circuit court!

John Fred & His Playboy Band - The "Playboys" were male "play mates!"

Lemon Pipers - They were not named after poorly designed passenger airplanes (that's an inside joke: hey, Dad!)

Music Explosion - Jamie Lyons was the Jim Morrison of Bubblegum without all the livestock and bad poetry!

1910 Fruitgum Co. - The makers of Eddie And The Cruisers had never heard of the 1910 Fruitgum Co. when they made their historical "reality based" movie! (After reviewing this quip a year later, I have no idea what it means. But I like it anyway, so it stays!).

Ohio Express - The progression of Rock 'N Roll influences goes something like this: Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Ohio Express, Talking Heads, REM, and Pink!

Steam - They ran out of "steam" after their only hit, Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)!

Sweet - After Little Willy, they really stopped sucking!

Tommy James & The Shondells - Your older sister loved Tommy because she thought he was cute, you loved Crimson & Clover because you thought it was psychedelic!

Attempts were made to copyright the above quips, but they were denied due to lameness. Feel free to use them secure in the knowledge that Andy and the all-mighty government won't come after you.

Who Is Not Bubblegum?

In case you had any funny ideas, the following are not in any way part of the Classic Bubblegum era. Read on if you must. While you call up memories of your older sister listening to this krap, I'm going to call up my lunch!

The Beatles
I'm a lot of fun at Beatle get-togethers (and don't think things like that don't happen!), especially when I try to make the case that Bubblegum music began with The Beatles. Think about it for a minute though: Hello Goodbye started it off with the simple lyrics, the Sgt. Pepper costumes, and, well, Paul. Then All Together Now became another Beatle entry with kiddie sing-song lyrics and . . . OK, stop thinking about it. (I recently tried to convince a friend of mine -- a Beatle book author himself -- that Please Please Me -- was the first recorded bubblegum song ever and he almost hit me!)

The DeFranco Family
Families have no business in Bubblegum. The best Bubblegum situation is when the writers, singers and musicians never meet each other. Plus, the lead singer of this group had a name and looked like a girl.

Ricky Nelson
Teen Idol.

David Cassidy
As a solo artist, he was Teen Idol. As lead singer for The Partridge Family (family!?!), he was fabricated enough to qualify as Bubblegum.

Shaun Cassidy
Teen Idol; cute division.

Leif Garrett
Teen Idol; freak division (although I've seen his "4-Hanky" VH-1 profile a few times and I like that new song he's working on . . . in jail!).

The Osmonds
Don't you remember? Donny was a little bit rock 'n' roll and Marie was a little bit country? Sorry, they don't qualify as Bubblegum unless "Puppy Love" means something other than what we think it means! (However, the undercurrent of encouraging sexual activity put forth in so many Bubblegum songs hasn't missed the target with Marie.)

Davy Jones
Closer as a solo artist than when he was with the ground-breaking experimental underground group The Monkees. Even with that oft-seen episode of The Brady Bunch his appeal (and subject matter of his songs) was Teen Idol Puppy Love crap.

Bobby Sherman
OK, here's the ruling: no actors! Classic Bubblegum is faceless, nameless, concert-less and doesn't include future paramedics (gynecologists, maybe!). Although, as a song title Easy Come, Easy Go may qualify.

Village People
Despite being nameless, appearing in costumes, using liberal amounts of sexual double-entendres and utilizing kid-friendly song titles (YMCA, In The Navy . . . oh, why am I telling you?) the Village People were DISCO for crying out loud! Nice suggestion "Keith O" but classic gum ended like 3 weeks before the "People" made the scene! And if the above items are the only criteria in making the Classic Bubblegum "list" then I'd have to add the Talking Heads, Split Enz and the Goo Goo Dolls I think.

Paul Revere & The Raiders
The name sounds Bubblegum. The lyrics sound Bubblegum ("Shhuuu . . . I can almost taste it baby"). Even the period costumes look Bubblegum. But sorry, Bubblegum fans, we can't claim Paul, Mark Lindsay, and any of The Raiders as one of our own. Even with all this evidence, Paul Revere & The Raiders were merely a very successful Garage rock band. With hits like Hungry, Kicks, Good Thing, Steppin' Out and Just Like Me, any one of these classics would be a fine addition to the Bubblegum pack. But they were the first to cover Louie Louie, hit big with Indian Reservation and, as The Raiders, produced one of the best under-appreciated singles of all time with Powder Blue Mercedes Queen. Mark Lindsay went on to follow in Bobby Sherman's footsteps.

UPDATE: After digging a bit deeper into their catalog, I found a few bubblegum candidates with Birds Of A Feather, Cinderella Sunshine, Do Unto Others, and Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon. Nothing wrong with a few stabs at bubblegum and in the Raiders defense, they remain the most successful garage band of  all time and these brief forays into gumland will never diminish that distinction.

Tony Orlando & Dawn
To me there is a fine line between the Classic Bubblegum era of the Ohio Express and 1910 Fruitgum Co. and the "bubble gum" tag attached to the likes of Tony Orlando & Dawn, Donny Osmond, Bobby Sherman, and even Britney Spears. The classic era singers stayed hidden behind posed group photos (with or without them and preferably in a NJ junk yard!) or animated cartoon characters. Tony Orlando was an over-aged teen idol crooner who toured, slept with groupies over the age of 30 and his songs favored sappiness over sex featuring doo-wop harmony left out in the shed behind the garage. You can knock three times but classic bubblegum won't answer.



Songs written by Neil Diamond (then & now)
Songs written by
Neil Sedaka (then, now & forever)
Anyone named
Neil (record company owners excepted)

Andy Gibb
No one ever even remotely connected to Classic Bubblegum music took drugs. That fact eliminates Andy right off the bat.

Paper Lace (The Night Chicago Died)
Bo Donaldson And The Heywoods (Billy, Don't Be A Hero)
First Class (Beach Baby)
Hues Corporation (Don't Rock The Boat Baby)
This group of one-hit wonders from around 1974 officially broke all the ties left to the Classic Bubblegum era and created a lot of confusion over exactly when Bubblegum ended. Right here baby, right here.

Terry Jacks
Reads poetry, thereby disqualified.

Rick Springfield
Former Soap Star. Not Bubblegum Star. (His stint as a Zoot had a few gummy moments though).

Kylie Minogue
Former Soap Star.

Women singing all at once is an obvious violation of the Bubblegum Rules.

Menudo/New Kids On The Block
Kicking someone out of a group because they reach a certain age is a Bubblegum no-no. Kicking someone out because they want to have their name put on a album cover is reason enough though.

Michael Jackson
Classic Bubblegum appeals to kids, Michael Jackson merely finds kids appealing.

Songs come pretty damn close but they're too young, too cute and come from the wrong "O" state.

Spice Girls
Women taking over the helm? Too little, too late. Please come back girls!

Britney Spears
Only if Betty Boop were allowed in!

. . . but I love the Pink!

Backstreet Boys/98 Degrees/'N' Sync/Take That

But You Knew It, Anyway . . .

Rock Me Gently - Andy Kim (Andy is usually gum-to-go, but not here)

Fox On The Run - The Sweet (This is the song they used to break away from their gum past. They never looked back).

Will You Be Staying After Sunday? - The Peppermint Rainbow

Baby You Come Rollin' Across My Mind - The Peppermint Trolley Company (Evidently the decision to use the word "peppermint" in your name precludes you from bubblegum consideration. Consider this a heads-up.)

Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead - The Fifth Estate

Come On Down To My Boat Baby - Every Mother's Son (Every subsequent cover of this song qualifies but not the original.)

Finders Keepers - Salt Water Taffy

Playgirl - Thee Prophets (An instant "Golden Oldie" when it was released in 1969)

Western Union - The Five Americans

Montego Bay - Bobby Bloom

Little Arrows - Leapy Lee

Close, but thankfully, not:

Donovan (Hurly Gurly, Sunshine Superman)
Honorary Bubblegum dude.

The Doors
Despite Love Me Two Times and Hello, I Love You, they are not.

Dumb, Danish, and done.


Honorable mention for lyrical contributions only:

Little Richard for Tutti Frutti.

The Beatles for I Am The Walrus (goo goo ga joob).

e-mail Andy and make your argument goody: