A quintessential example of a combo from the era of ‘bubblegum pop’ was the 1910 Fruitgum Company, a group that seemed by its very name to signal the kind of music it performed. And even though that name is not a familiar one now, in its few short years of existence the group was able to spin out several Top Five records, including its biggest seller, “Simon Says.”
The 1910 Fruitgum Company owed its beginnings — at least in part — to the same guys who put together the Ohio Express. Although details from those days are often fuzzy and personnel changes were frequent, it seems that Buddah Records producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz enlisted some of the guys from a struggling New Jersey group known as Jeckell and The Hydes. Included among them were Frank Jeckell, Pat Karwan, Mark Gutkowski, and Floyd Marcus, with Steve Mortkowitz and veteran vocalist Joey Levine occasionally on hand in the studio too.
It didn’t take long for the group’s light and bubbly formula to hit pay dirt, with 1968’s “Simple Simon” rocketing up the charts to nearly the top. Following on that record’s heels was another Top Five hit, “1, 2, 3 Red Light,” along with a few other good sellers. By then the band was also touring and occasionally appearing on TV, and the following year again hit the Top Five with “Indian Giver.”
But things inevitably slid downhill and within another year the members of the group were going their separate ways. In later years, a few of them have occasionally reunited for oldies shows — if you’re curious, you can find some of those appearances on youtube.