Pandas and Arnie

The Pandas with WMEX DJ Arnie Ginsburg

 

 

"Once Upon a Time"'s raw, guitar-driven sound caught the attention of major record labels, most notably Don Costa Productions (best known for Frank Sinatra soundtracks, Little Anthony & The Imperials, and Gene Pitney). Don Costa's label, Musicor, signed the Pandas and re-released "Once Upon a Time," nationally. As part of the deal, the record company provided studio support from seasoned session guitarist Hugh McCracken and vocalist Toni Wine (co-writer of the Mindbenders' "Groovy Kind of Love"). Both went on to work in the studio with Steely Dan in the seventies and both can be heard on "We Can't Go On This Way," what was to become the Pandas second hit recording for Musicor.

As with their first release, "We Can't Go On This Way" hit Boston's Top 10 in August, 1966, right alongside the Beatles chart-topper, "Yellow Submarine"/Eleanor Rigby." The record's "B" side, another Teddy Dewart ballad entitled "Smoky Fire," became one of the Panda's most requested live numbers. With "We Can't Go On This Way" as a hit, Teddy & The Pandas began to appear at major venues, including the Boston Garden, and the Rhode Island Arena. In addition, they toured with the Dave Clark Five, The Beach Boys, the Lovin' Spoonful, and Paul Revere and the Raiders, among others. Apparently a William Morris agent had mentioned the band to Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders, "If you want to see an act, you ought to see these guys; they are incredible!" According to the band's bassist, Billy Corelle, "This same agent was with the Beach Boys when we toured with them.

 

 

The Pandas with the Dave Clark 5

The Pandas with the Dave Clark 5

 

The Pandas and the Beach Boys

The Pandas with the Beach Boys

 

 He had seen us before, and wanted to take us to the West Coast with him. But we were already committed to dates." In the latter part of 1966, Teddy & The Pandas traveled for a six-week national tour with Musicor label-mate Gene Pitney. The lineup was an impressive one. It included not only Gene Pitney, but B.J. Thomas, Bobby Goldsboro, Neil Diamond, Len Barry of "1,2,3" fame, Rick Derringer and The McCoys ("Hang On Sloopy"), the Outsiders ("Time Won't Let Me"), Chad and Jeremy, and Norma Tanega, as well. Musicor recorded several of the performances, and Teddy & The Pandas contributed "Once Upon a Time" and "Bye Bye (Out the Window)" to the resulting album, "The Gene Pitney Show." Soon after, Teddy & The Pandas appeared on Dick Clark's fast-paced television series "Where the Action Is," and on "Upbeat," a syndicated program televised from Cleveland.

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