documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

The Searchers – Popcorn, Double Feature (Pye)

“Popcorn, Double Feature” / “Lovers” (Pye 7N 17225) January 1967

At the beginning of 1967 The Searchers chose to release ‘Popcorn, Double Feature,’ a song Tony Hatch brought to the group in the form of a demo disc. It was hoped that their new number with a different sound, would reignite a charge up the singles chart following some folk-rock inspired flops that failed to reach the top 30.

The impressive baroque pop of ‘Popcorn, Double Feature’ failed to generate much interest in Britain but the song, written by the English / Weiss partnership was also recorded by teenager Tim Wilde, Giant Crab and The Fall.

Record reviews from the British music press:

Again, the trouble is lack of immediate distinctiveness. But this is a good song, and the presentation is commercial. (Record Mirror, 21/01/67)

Disc & Music Echo, 21/01/67
Record Mirror, 21/01/67

I found these comments from Tim Wilde, written several years ago, on a music forum. Here he recalls the time that his version of ‘Popcorn, Double Feature’ was recorded.

Tim’s version was eventually released on Tower Records during July 1967, the same month that the American record label issued Pink Floyd‘s ‘See Emily Play.’

Tim Wilde: To provide an answer to part of a question that was raised earlier in this thread.

On the contrary, The Searchers recorded ‘Popcorn, Double Feature’ before I did. When their recording went nowhere, a copy of it was sent as a demo to my manager, Bob Reno, in order to get the song re-recorded by one of his artists. In turn, Bob called on his friend and producer Artie Wayne to produce the song with me as the artist.

In regard to the B side, ‘Too Many Questions,’ I had previously recorded that song for Artie Wayne, but only as a demo (which of course was meant only to demonstrate the song to other artists). After Artie produced me on ‘Popcorn, Double Feature,’ it was decided to throw the demo of ‘Too Many Questions’ on the B side in order to avoid having to record another side.

The interesting thing about our recording of ‘Popcorn, Double Feature’ that you’re not aware of is that it became an instant hit throughout the country. That is, when Bob Reno took me on tour around the country to promote our record, every disc jockey at every radio station we visited from New York to LA informed us that their listeners were crazy about our record and that they made huge numbers of requests that it be played daily.

However, along with all the play requests also came an equal number of complaints. Namely, the record was not available to be bought anywhere. Throughout the tour Bob Reno continually called the record company, Tower Records (a subsidiary of Capitol Records), in order to get them to properly distribute the record as previously agreed. After endless excuses and promises no distribution was ever made. 

Tower Records never distributed a single copy of our record anywhere, in spite of the fact that they knew the record was being so well received in the multitude of markets from New York to LA.

By the end of our long tour it was painfully obvious that for whatever reason, Tower Records did not want our recording to “make it.” I still wonder why – were their earnings so high that they needed to show losses?

Days later Tim came back with the following update:

I’m sorry to say that In an effort to set things right, the information I entered in my posts is not correct. After just listening to The Searchers’ version of ‘Popcorn, Double Feature,’ I realized that it is not the recording which was given to me by Scott English and Larry Weiss after all, and all this time I’ve been erroneously under the impression that it was The Searchers’ recording.

Actually, the tempo of the demo was approximately the same as on my recording. Whereas the tempo on The Searchers’ recording is much faster. Its arrangement is also different than the demo. This means that my recording of ‘Popcorn, Double Feature’ is definitely the original release of the song, and The Searchers’ version was released after mine.

Released versions of ‘Popcorn, Double Feature’
The Searchers (Pye 7N 17225) 01/67
Tim Wilde (Tower 353) 07/67
Giant Crab (UNI 73057) 07/69
The Fall (Cog Sinister SINR 5) 03/90

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