Vanilla Fudge

This US rock group were formed in December 1966 and comprised organist Mark Stein (born 11 March 1947, New Jersey, USA), guitarist Vince Martell (born 11 November 1945, New York City, New York, USA), bassist Tim Bogert (born 27 August 1944, Richfield, New Jersey, USA) and drummer Joey Brennan. All were previously members of the Pigeons, a New York-based group modelled on the (Young) Rascals. Brennan was latterly replaced by Carmine Appice (born 15 December 1946, New York, USA), and having established a style in which contemporary songs were imaginatively rearranged, the unit was introduced to producer Shadow Morton, who had a reputation for melodramatic pop with the Shangri-Las.

Dubbed Vanilla Fudge by their record label, the quartet scored an immediate success with an atmospheric revival of the Supremes’ hit, You Keep Me Hangin’ On. The slowed tempo, studious playing and mock-gospel harmonies set a precedent for the group’s debut album which featured similarly operatic versions of the Impressions’ People Get Ready, Sonny And Cher’s Bang Bang and the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby and Ticket To Ride. The audacity of this first selection was impossible to repeat. A flawed concept album called “The beat goes on” proved overambitious, while further selections showed a group unable to create original material of the calibre of the first album. Subsequent records relied on simpler, hard-edged rock.

When Vanilla Fudge split in 1970, the bassist and drummer remained together in Cactus before abandoning their creation in favour of Beck, Bogert And Appice. Stein worked with Tommy Bolin and Alice Cooper before forging a new career composing advertising jingles, while Martell later appeared in the Good Rats, a popular Long Island bar-band. The group briefly reformed in 1983, releasing the album ‘Mystery’ which failed to make any impact.