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

Neal Ford & the Fanatics – Gonna Be My Girl (Hickory Records) 1967

“Gonna Be My Girl” / “Shame On You” (Hickory 45-P-1433) January 1967

In their home City of Houston in Texas, Neal Ford & The Fanatics were a massive attraction. Indeed this 45 hit the number 1 spot in Houston at the end of January 1967.

At first the garage punker ’Shame On You’ was cited as the plug side and was played on various radio stations in and around Houston.

But the so called flip ’Gonna Be My Girl’ written by guitarist Jon Pereles started to get some plays as well and this song went down much better with the kids and so became the top side.

’Gonna Be My Girl’ was the lead off track on Neal Ford & The Fanatics album on Hickory but curiously remains uncompiled after all these years! (10/08/08)

What Neal Ford thought about this single:

BT:   “Shame on You” has become something of a cult classic among psych/garage fans.

NF:    Here’s the real story on “Shame On You”.  I wrote the song around 1965 (I think). We recorded it at Jones Sound Recording in the Heights. The owner Doyle Jones and Mickey Gilley were the engineers. I took the tape to Nashville and got an offer from Hickory Records owned by Acuff/Rose Publishing.

At the time they were being very successful with acts like The Newbeats -“Bread and Butter”, Sue Thompson and other pop acts. The main song that they were interested in was “Shame On You”. 

If you look on the single you will see that it was released as the “A” side and was being promoted as the single until Joe Ford at KNUZ flipped it one day and played “Gonna Be My Girl” which was written by Jon Pereles.  The phones lit up and KILT jumped on the flip side also and it leaped to # 1 staying on top of the charts for weeks.

This changed the whole direction of our album and future recording efforts. Prior to that we were doing a harder rock oriented music like “Woman”, “I Will Not Be Lonely”, “Pain” etc.  “Gonna Be My Girl” took us to doing more of Jon’s compositions which was a much lighter pop/rock sound.

I called it Hard Bubblegum.  In retrospect, I wish we had stayed more in the original style.  “I Will Not Be Lonely” was my original direction for us and the real me at the time.  I never intended to sing “Shame On You” as you hear it on the record. It just developed to that in the studio.

I’m totally shocked to see it on so many internet sites and on so many compilation CD’s. It and “I Will Not Be Lonely” are getting more play and recognition now than back when we did them.

for the full 2008 interview go here.

This photo of The Fanatics is from early 1965. Absent was Neal Ford, who was in the Navy Reserve and had been activated for 6 months. Jon Pereles, Johnny Stringfellow, Dub Johnson, John Cravey, Steve Ames. (U of H Libraries Special Collections)
Backstage with The Beach Boys, April 1966. For more photo go here.

NEAL FORD & THE FANATICS – ’Good Men’ CD on Big Beat

This is a highly recommended CD release by Neal Ford & the Fanatics, a group from Houston, Texas. I’ve already got their singles and the studio album on Hickory Records but there’s even a load of unreleased recordings for me to dig…

There are seven previously unreleased cuts from the 1966/67 period when they were one of the hottest combo’s in their locale, including five number 1 records on the local Houston charts.

These long lost and previously unreleased recording are all KILLER and are easily on a par with the more familiar songs, including the brilliant ’The Seasons’ and a fuzz fuelled original version of ’Every Night A New Surprise’ (instro) written by original keyboardist Steve Ames. Amazing that these two tracks remained in ’the can’…

’Every Night A New Surprise’ was later recorded and released by The Moving Sidewalks. (01/12/13)

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