May 06, 2024

The Vanilla Fudge Featured

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When this new group called Vanilla Fudge came into the Electric Factory from Long Island, NY to play on March 7 & 8, 1968, they were as young or younger than most of us who attended the concert. They made an immediate sensational impact with musical skills.

They were riding the crest of their huge hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ on”. Their cover of The Supreme’s hit. It has been said that the idea for creating a slowed down version of the song was born when members of the band members were at a party. Someone accidentally played the original hit version of the song at the wrong speed. The idea for a new hit was born.

The Electric Factory crowd left with the impression that Vanilla Fudge was about to become a super group. They never did achieve the status of being one of the elite bands, but their exceptional talents have made them legendary.

After their big initial hit, the band recorded four more albums before disbanding in 1970. All the albums made it into the top forty charts, but only their initial album was certified gold. The only other single to make it to the top forty was “Take Me for a Little While” (# 38).

Why did a group with so much talent not fair better? The simple and short answer is their lack of ability to write their own material. They were great at doing fantastic arrangements of other songs but couldn’t come up with their own hit material.

Their outstanding abilities led to the individual members being asked to play in other bands. Carmine Appice, one of the all-time great drummers, and Tim Bogert became members of Cactus. That led to them joining up with Jeff Beck in 1972. Mark Stein played with Tommy Bolin and Alice Cooper among other things.

All the members keep busy doing other things, but they were all drawn back to Vanilla Fudge magic. They reunited in 1982 for two years. Then again in 1987 for a couple of years before reforming in 1999 until today.

Mark Stein and Carime Appice (Listen to their interviews, Mark Stein and Carmen Appice Part I and Part II) have done some recent material on DEKO. Guitarist Vince Martell also released some solo albums. Original bass player Tim Borgert died from Cancer in 2021. Pete Bremy has been his replacement since 2010.

On May 2, 2024, right before The Vanilla Fudge appeared before a sold-out crowd at the Sellersville Theater, the entire band had dinner together. The three original members related how they not only remembered their appearance at the Electric Factory, but just how much that concert meant to them.

Just as they did way back in 1968 at The Electric Factory, they blew away the cheering Sellersville audience. They are still not doing original material, but their arrangements make them much more than a cover band.

From their opening song “Break on Thru to the Other side” a cover of The Doors hit song; it was the arrangements that brought the crowd to life. It sounded nothing like the original. That was true of the other songs they performed all night. If you did know the words of these songs, you would think they were originals. The arrangements made them that different.

The set included “Stop! in the Name of Love” Just like back in the first days of the band, it was a Supremes song. It is the most recent single. It was released in 2021 and dedicated to the late Tim Borgert. The video is available on YouTube.

Vanilla Fudge still sounds great. If only they had some original material, they would be known as one of the top groups of all time.

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