The Young Rascals
With a series of Top 40 hits featuring their good time take on Blue-Eyed Soul, the New York-based Young Rascals (later the Rascals) helped shape the sound of late 60s Pop.
Eddie Brigati (vocals), Felix Cavaliere (keyboards, vocals), and Gene Cornish (guitar) had been members of Joey Dee’s backup band the Starliters before they teamed with Dino Danelli (drums) and started the Rascals. They began honing their sound in East Coast clubs, particularly a floating Long Island club called the Barge where they created a buzz with their mix of Soul and R&B covers, vocal harmonies, unique instrumentation (the band had no bass player and featured the Hammond organ), and a live-wire stage show that incorporated Edwardian-schoolboy outfits as stagewear.
The Rascals were soon signed to Atlantic Records, who had the band add the “Young” to their name to avoid confusion with a group called the Harmonica Rascals. The newly renamed band’s second single for the label was a cover of “Good Lovin’,” a song by the R&B group the Olympics. Capturing the band’s high-energy live sound and adding a raw, Rock edge to their Soul influences, the single was a smash, reaching No. 1 in the spring of 1966.
Over the next four years the Young Rascals sent a dozen radio friendly songs to the Top 40, including “Groovin’” (No. 1), “A Beautiful Morning” (No. 3), and 1968’s “People Got To Be Free” (No. 1), which preached a message of tolerance and understanding between generations and races (a message the band stood behind, refusing to play to segregated audiences). Later work by the band (who reverted back to the Rascals in 1968) added Jazz and psychedelic influences, but tensions within the band mounted, and the Rascals began to splinter in 1970, disbanding a short while later.
In 2012, the four original members reunited publicly for the first time in over 40 years to perform the hit Broadway show The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream, a combination concert/multimedia theatrical event that tells the behind-the-scenes story of the band and their songs.