LINDEN – In 1965, five Linden teens formed a band whose music symbolized the lighthearted bubble gum genre, which contrasted against the hard rock counter-culture songs of protest and social action.
In an age when Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and others were striking blows against the empire that America had become, the 1910 Fruitgum Company jingled out popular, catchy tunes with carefree lyrics that carried no message.
During 1967, the band was signed to record label Buddah Records, under the guidance of bubblegum whiz-kids Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, where they released five LPs under their own name and a variety of singles.
In quick succession, the band scored five Top 40 Hits: Simon Says (#2, 1968); 1, 2, 3 Red Light (#3, 1968); Goody Goody Gumdrops (#31, 1968); Indian Giver (#4, 1969) and Special Delivery (#31, 1969). May I Take A Giant Step and The Train just missed, peaking at #45 and #52 respectively.
Original group members Frank Jeckell and Floyd Marcus recruited five new performers in recent years to put the 1910 Fruitgum Company back in business again, performing live on November 17, 2007 at the Caravan of Stars XIV, in Henderson, Tennessee.
Jeckell, the only original member now performing, has been joined by Glenn Lewis of Rahway, Bobby Brescia of Somerset, Oscar Dominguez from the Bronx and Phil Thorstenson from Hamburg.
Mick Mansueto, who acts as front man during concerts, also organizes the tour schedule. Marcus, the drummer, no longer performs with the band.
The reconstituted group performed Tuesday at the Raymond Wood Bauer Promenade on North Wood Avenue, as part of the city recreation department’s free summer concert series.
On July 4, the group will be performing with Terry Sylvester of The Hollies at Meisel Avenue Park in Springfield.
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