Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Beatlemania influenced Jim Pons to put together a band called The Rockwells, in 1964, whilst at San Fernando State College (California), with the money he was awarded after a $1,000 automobile lawsuit. The original line-up soon set about performing classics like Louie, Louie and Twist And Shout at frat parties. The band's quest for self-improvement soon led them to add John Beck and replace Jimmy Kern with Tom Ray.

The band's break came when they got a residency at Ciro's in LA. They then chose a new name The Leaves and had posters designed with pictures of themselves and a marijuana leaf saying 'The Leaves Are Happening'. Pat Boone heard them playing at the club one night and signed them for his Penthouse Production Company. Through this The Leaves were first signed to Mira and released their debut single Too Many People/Love Minus Zero. The 'A' side was a hit in Los Angeles.

The Leaves were the first band to release Hey Joe as a single. David Crosby had first performed the song with The Byrds. They made two previous recordings of Hey Joe before the third fuzztone version, which reached No 31 in the U.S. charts. By now, Bobby Arlin had replaced Bill Rhinehart on guitar. The Leaves had now won a residency at the Whisky A Go Go in LA, where they topped the bill, which on occasions included The Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Quicksilver Messenger Service. In 1965 when they appeared at the Golden Bear in Huntinton Beach, The Rolling Stones opened for them!

However, their follow-up single Get Out Of My Life Woman was less successful. 1966 saw Robert Lee Reiner become an acid casualty and leave the band. But, as a 'four-piece' they lacked the fullness of sound necessary to make them click.

Then they signed for Capitol to produce a second album, augmented by studio musicians and strings. It contained some of their best material including Lemon Princess and Twilight Sanctuary, (issued on their last single), but it did not sell and Pons left during its recording to sign for The Turtles. Pons later did work with Frank Zappa. Beck and Arlin went on to produce a song called Dead Time Bummer Blues which was never released. Arlin later formed the power-trio, The Hook.


Anonymous said...

hi from cy
thanks for the posting...i was not sure what would be on it, however, it turned out to be what i good on you bill.....
cheers from Pck
Cy at Pck

john said...

I've been following the bouncing ball (thanks for the great graphics). Always ready for a Leaves surprise. Thanks.

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