Monday’s Music Moves Me: Bubblegum!

In my last Battle of the Bands, I got an interesting comment from Stephen about the song "I’ll Be There" by Emma Bunton, a/k/a Baby Spice:

“Baby” Bunton’s song, however, although polished to a slick, saccharine sheen, actually sounded like something that might have come out of the late ’60s / very early ’70s Bubble Gum Pop era. And, God only knows why, I actually do like some of those rubbery, pink tunes. In fact, Baby Bunton’s outfit on that cover even looks like it came from 1967, and if you told me this song was from “The Summer Of Love”, I might have believed you. It’s almost like The Archies meets The Supremes.

It made me think back to those days in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I felt the same way, because a lot of the music from those days could be considered "bubblegum." There’s a video on YouTube called "The Golden Age of Bubblegum Music" that talks about the genre (if you want to call it that), which I’ll add here as kind of a bonus video (meaning there’ll be a playlist after this).

In other words, Bubblegum was music aimed at tweens and young teens primarily, much like the magazine Tiger Beat was. A lot of those kids had older siblings and were familiar with the music of the day, and record executives like Don Kirshner wanted to capture a piece of that market. Here are ten songs that could be considered Bubblegum, and some might surprise you. My only regret is that I can’t put all of them in.

  1. The Lemon Pipers, "Green Tambourine" Considered to be the first Bubblegum hit, it spent 13 weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and spent three months there. There are some psychedelic elements (the elecric sitar, the echo at the end of each verse, etc.) as well.
  2. The Royal Guardsmen, "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron" Was not just Bubblegum, it had Snoopy from the Peanuts cartoon, who at the time was sitting in top of his doghouse dressed in an aviator’s helmet, goggles, and scarf. The song rose as high as #2 on the Hot 100, kept out of the top spot by…
  3. The Monkees, "I’m A Believer Micky, Mike, Peter, and Davy were actors who just happened to be musicians, which made for good video while studio musicians did the actual playing. The Monkees was TV aimed at the younger set, and while they were content to be teen idols at first, they soon realized that hey, they could play and write their own songs. "I’m A Believer" was a worldwide #1 hit, spending seven weeks at #1 on the Hot 100.
  4. Tommy Roe, "Dizzy" Bill Dahl from Allmusic.com wrote of Roe, "[he was] widely perceived as one of the archetypal bubblegum artists of the late 1960s, but cut some pretty decent rockers along the way, especially early in his career." "Dizzy" was written by Roe and Freddy Weller and reached #1 for four weeks on the Hot 100 in March 1969, as well as the UK Singles chart (for one week) and the Canadian Singles chart.
  5. Tommy James & The Shondells, "Crimson and Clover" Was kind of surprised that Tommy James & The Shondells was included in the list until I realized that they were quite popular in my grammar school, largely because "Mony, Mony" had been such a hit. This represented a pretty drastic change in their sound, but was still popullar with the young’uns, spending two weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and being a Top 10 hit in much of the rest of the world.
  6. The Osmond Brothers, "One Bad Apple" Family bands, such as The Osmond Brothers, The Jackson 5, The Cowsills, and The Partridge Family (another band put together for TV) were popular in the Bubblegum genre. The Osmonds had been performing for some time on The Andy Williams Show, and their popularity centered on the (second to) youngest brother, Donny. This song debuted on the Hot 100 in late 1970 and reached #1 in February 1971, where it stayed for five weeks.
  7. The Archies, "Sugar Sugar" The Archie comics have been around since my mother was a kid, and in 1968 they moved to television, soon forming a band that featured Archie and Reggie on guitars, Veronica on organ, Jughead on drums, and Betty on tambourine. Jughead’s dog Hot Dog was there because, well, you just have to have a dog in a TV cartoon, right? Of course, they weren’t actually playing (No! Really?): the male voices were voiced by Ron Dante, the female voices were voiced first by Toni Wine, then by Donna Marie, and session musicians (probably The Wrecking Crew) played the instruments. "Sugar Sugar" was a huge hit, selling six million copies and becoming the #1 song for all of 1969.
  8. Edison Lighthouse, "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" Now we come to the Tony Burrows franchise. Tony was a session singer who was the frontman for Edison Lighthouse, White Plains ("My Baby Loves Lovin’"), The Brotherhood of Man ("United We Stand") and likely other studio bands (i.e. bands made up of session singers and musicians). This song reached #5 in the US, #3 in Canada, and #1 in the UK.
  9. The Ohio Express, "Chewy Chewy" The Ohio Express had #4 hit with "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" early in 1968; this is the follow-up, which only reached #15 and was their last Top 40 hit.
  10. Bobby Sherman, "Easy Come, Easy Go" Bobby always seemed to show up on the cover of Tiger Beat in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s, and it’s easy to see why: besides being a good singer, he had also appeared in the TV show Here Come The Brides from 1968 to 1970. This reached #9 in the US and #6 in Canada in 1970, a year after Mama Cass Elliott had releasedit on her album Bubblegum, Lemondate, and… Something For Mama.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for February 10, 2020.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

33 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: Bubblegum!

  1. Those were the days…now I only need a bubble gum to make it complete😸 Thanks for the mewsic, we loved all songs💗Heartshaped Pawkisses for a Happy Valentine’s Day🐾😽💞

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  2. I didn’t think of these songs as bubblegum music. Maybe Sugar, Sugar but I thought of the songs from The Partridge Family and even The Brady Bunch kids. I love Snoopy and the Red Baron and think of my Brother with this song

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    1. I never did, either. At least, I never remember thinking of them as bubblegum music. Maybe in comparison to some of the heavier stuff out there (Cream, Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix etc.), but we listened to all of it.

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  3. John,

    I didn’t know these songs were called ‘Bubblegum’ tunes until I started blogging years ago. If I knew then I totally forgot. I’ve grown a lot in mewsic but there’s still so much to learn when it comes to the many genres. I will honestly tell you without apologizes to anyone that I love bubblegum pop those earworms as well as what goes in your mouth. 😀 Great playset, putting me in fabulous mood! Thanks for joining us on the dance floor this week, my dear!

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  4. JOHN ~

    Well, first and second of all, any time yer quoting that strange Stephen character, you are in dark and turbulent waters. Going forward, I REALLY don’t recommend it!

    >>… It’s a category that’s different to everyone. What I would consider bubblegum isn’t what others would, although there’s a lot of overlap.

    Yes, very true! There is no definitive definition of ‘Bubble Gum’ or ‘Bubblegum’ music that I know of. And personally, I don’t think of everything on that list as BG. I feel that I know it when I hear it, but I’ve never attempted to define it very precisely. And each person probably has their own concept of it. BUT(!!!)…

    …one could almost say that ‘Sugar, Sugar’ is an archetype or template example. And ‘Yummy, Yummy, Yummy’ is probably a perfect example of BAD Bubble Gum Pop. (OHHhhhhh… Don’t even get me started!!)

    I like quite a bit of Bubble Gum, but I don’t listen to much of it anymore for fear it will yank the many fillings outta muh teeth!

    Musically, I am all over the map (although Jazz is #1 for me), and as fate would have it, at this moment, I am listening to some of the strongest “anti-Bubble Gum” on record (a compilation CD of Tom Waits recordings, including songs like ‘Frank’s Wild Years’, ‘Mr. Siegal’, ‘Hang On, Saint Christopher’, and ‘I’m Your Late Night Evening Prostitute’ Ha!-Ha!).

    Without Waits, there’d have probably been no Punk. And without Dylan, there’d have probably been no Waits. …It’s amazing how the toe bone is connected to the foot bone, and the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, and the ankle bone is connected to the shin bone, etc., etc., etc.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS

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    1. I was kind of surprised that some of the songs were considered bubblegum. I never thought of The Monkees or Tommy James & The Shondells, or songs like “Spirit in the Sky” or “Little Green Bag” (or for that matter “Green Tambourine”) as being bubblegum. They might have fit the genre in a broad sense, but that was more after the fact.

      It is interesting to see the connections behind different genres of popular music, isn’t it?

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      1. I only listened to a couple minutes of that video you posted, so I didn’t know that… he, she, or they are claiming that ‘Spirit In The Sky’ is Bubble Gum Pop. (?!?!?!) In that case, I’m calling B.S. on the whole thing! Since there is no universally accepted definition of Bubble Gum, I am not willing to acknowledge some unknown maker of some YouTube video as an authoritative source of information. I ain’t buyin’ it.

        ‘Spirit In The Sky’ is just plain Rock. In fact, with that edgy, fuzzed-out guitar solo, it almost even borders on early “Hard Rock”. By no stretch of my imagination is that song Bubble Gum. Nor is ’96 Tear Drops’ and several more that have been mentioned.

        The next thing we know, some schmo is going to be trying to convince us that ‘Anarchy In The UK’ was a late example of Bubble Gum Pop.

        How do I know it’s true?
        Because I saw it at YouTube!
        😉

        ~ D-FensDogG
        STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS

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        1. They seemed to be dismissive of much of the music of the late ’60’s and early ’70’s. What music wasn’t intended to sell to kids and teens? Even Jimi Hendrix and Cream were vying for that market.

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  5. That was a fun theme. Nice choices, a lot of times they are new to me, but I recognize all of these 🙂

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  6. WOW! Monty Python OMG my hubby would love to see this in fact I called him to watch. He said if we did this type of humor he would sign up next Monday. LOL His humor is really kind of different. Monty is along with the Stooges too. Go figure. haha Love the tunes you’ve chosen it’s the era of when I first started high school I believe. Definitely the bubble gum era. I’ve never claimed to be really smart, but when I want to learn something I COME HERE! You go dude… Great JOB!!!! hugs

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  7. A very good post but I just can’t like the music, it doesn’t stick to me. I liked ‘Little Green Bag’, ‘Crimson and Clover’, ‘In the Summertime’. But I also see how The Doors and especially The Sex Pistols were big at the end of Bubblegum. I would prefer to see Johnny Rotten over every bubblegum-song. And now I also understand why ‘I think I love you’ makes a great punkrock cover (if you like that genre that is)

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  8. I felt that my love of bubblegum music was a guilty pleasure but, after your post, not any more. But- Crimson and Clover? I so love that singe, and I did read Tiger Beat for a bit-just don’t consider that son as bubblegum. Ear worm material- yes.

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    1. Tommy James was changing the sound after “Mony Mony,” and musically it was a whole lot different, but the lyrics were still kind of simple and bubblegummy. It was a transition that prefigured “Crystal Blue Persuasions,” which wasn’t bubblegum at all. As they say, your mileage may vary…

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  9. There is a fine line between bubblegum, pop, pop/rock, and power pop. I never really knew where the line was drawn. Sugar Sugar I can see…Crimson and Clover is different.
    All and all I like bubblegum…

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