THE GOODIES (LEGENDARY 60's GIRL GROUP featuring ORIGINAL LEAD SINGER MARYANN GESMUNDO REGAL)
The Goodies were an American pop girl group of the 1960s. Between 1963 and 1965 they charted with teen melodramas, and remain perhaps best known for their recordings of "The Dum Dum Ditty" and "Sophisticated Boom Boom" before both songs were made even more popular by another 60's girl group, the Shangri-Las.
Sisters Maureen and Diane Reiling, Maryann Gesmundo and Susan Gelber were four friends living in the neighboring towns of Seaford, Levittown and Wantagh on New York's Long Island. The foursome started singing during their days in junior high and high school. While singing in a talent show, the girls were spotted by talent man, Ron Shubert. After the show, he approached the group and mentioned that he liked what he heard and was interested in representing them. Through Ron's contact, the group, originally calling itself The Bunnies, was introduced to producer George "Shadow" Morton. Maureen picks up the story, "We met George through our first manager, Ron Shubert. Ron had seen us at a local talent show, and wanted to represent us. He subsequently introduced us to George."
Morton was already having success with the Shangri-Las, providing them with their first hit single during the summer of 1964, the atmospheric "Remember (Walking In The Sand)". Morton recorded his demos with The Bunnies at a studio in Hicksville, NY. The group readied such future hits as "Leader Of The Pack", "Give Him A Great Big Kiss" and "You Don't Know", the song that Ellie Greenwich would take for her lone Red Bird single. Unfortunately, every time Morton's proteges were about to get their shot, the powers that be at Red Bird insisted that the more established Shangri-Las record the actual release. "The first demo we cut was for our first single, 'Leader Of The Pack'. Because the Shangri-Las were already established at Red Bird, it was decided by the company that they were to get the song as a follow up hit. We then recorded a demo of 'Give Him A Great Big Kiss', which was again taken from us and given to the Shangri-Las. Our third recording, The Dum Dum Ditty, was our first release. That was recorded at Mars Sound in New York."
Not only was the choice of releases out of the group' hands, they discovered that right before their first release, they were also given a new moniker. "We called ourselves The Bunnies when we began singing publicly. After signing with Red Bird Records, a copyright search found the name 'Bunnies' was in use. As we had a record soon to be released, the execs at Red Bird decided to give us the name 'The Goodies' without any input on our part."
Even the publicity photos that were ready with the name "Bunnies" had "Goodies" stickers applied over the group name. Whatever changes took place at the last minute, the good news was that The Goodies were finally going to have their first single released. "The Dum Dum Ditty", co-written by Shadow Morton, Steve Venet, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, made inroads at several East Coast markets in the spring of 1965, including Springfield, MA., Columbus, OH, Louisville, KY, and New York, NY. Of course, the young ladies participated in all the local musical events, such as the WMCA Good Guys New York area tri-state tour and Clay Cole's dance show, events that provided maximum exposure. Some of their traveling companions were chart luminaries like Ben E. King, Ruby and the Romantics, The Tokens, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Jive Five, Lenny Welch, The Crystals, Jay and the Americans, Randy and the Rainbows, Mary Wells, and Bobby Rydell.
However, when the girls were ready for their follow-up single, they found the powers that be in disagreement over what the group's next step should be. Maureen tells of the events that contributed to the group's demise, "We expected there would be a follow-up record. However, we really felt the record company was not supporting our efforts. Soon after the release of 'Dum Dum Ditty', Sue Gelber got married and Maryann moved to Pennsylvania. Diane graduated from High School and went to college."
Despite Ron Shubert and co-manager Larry Martire's efforts in favor of the group, Red Bird's indecisiveness and life changes for the members, marked the end of The Goodies' brief tenure in the music business.
Fast-forward to 2003, a reunion took place between Diane, Maureen and Maryann, courtesy of a chance meeting between Maryann's daughter and a mutual friend. In 2005, The Goodies were invited to a release party given by Rhino Records, upon the release of a CD set entitled, "One Kiss Can Lead To Another-Girl Groups Lost & Found". The Goodies' killer B-side, "Sophisticated Boom Boom" was included in the set. To the ladies' surprise, not only were they invited to the party, they were subsequently invited to sing at the event. Held in November of 2005 at The Cutting Room in New York City, The Goodies took their rightful place besides many other girl-group stars, including The Toys, Margaret Ross of The Cookies, Reparata & The Delrons, Arlene Smith of The Chantels, La La Brooks of The Crystals, Lillian Walker of The Exciters, The Shangri-Las' Mary Weiss, and songwriters Russ Titelman and Toni Wine. Plus, they were part of the Red Bird roster on hand, featuring the Shangri-Las' Mary Weiss and Paulette Holland of The Butterflys. For good measure, contemporary rockers and fans of the genre were there to lend support, including Lenny Kaye and Fred Schneider of the B-52's. The Goodies took the stage and performed like they never were apart. "...The invitation to sing at The Cutting Room was the inspiration to start singing together--it was great to be on stage again. And it was delightful to learn The Goodies still had a following encouraging us to continue singing. As a result of the Cutting Room experience we were invited to do a show with Little Anthony and the Imperials and Maxine Brown at the Count Basie theatre in Red Bank, NJ. We look forward to singing at events in the future."
Although their time in the spotlight was brief, their impact was significant. The Goodies' fine example of early-60's girl-group rock shows just how far one can get with a fresh, energetic singing group, talented writers and a dynamic production, intermingled to serve up a well-crafted, well-executed, hook-laden pop melody.
Girl Groups: Fabulous Females Who Rocked the World By John Clemente, pos 237-240. Authorhouseref>
Formed in Levittown, Long Island in 1964, The Goodies didn’t take long to get noticed. Original members Maryann Gesmundo, Diane Reilling, Maureen Reilling and Sue Gelber were performing with headliner Little Anthony & The Imperials at a school function when they were approached by a local agent/ manager, Ron Schubert, about representing the group.
They made the decision to sign on with Ron, and he quickly arranged for an audition with the up-and-coming songwriter/producer, George “Shadow” Morton. The audition was so successful that within a matter of days they were signed to the hot new label of 1964 – Jerry Lieber, Mike Stoller & George Goldner’s Red Bird Records. Joining the roster with such groups as The Dixie Cups, The Shangri-Las, The Jelly Beans, The Trade Winds & Ellie Greenwich, The Goodies were poised for success.
After tossing around a few tunes and trying to find just the right one, the powers that be at Red Bird chose “Leader of the Pack” and “Give Him a Great Big Kiss” for The Goodies’ first two demo recordings, both of which were ultimately released by The Shangri-Las. Instead, another tune was proposed for The Goodies entitled “The Dum Dum Ditty” and with that, they hit many Top 40 radio play lists.
Recorded at Mira Sound Studios in the wee small hours one morning, “The Dum Dum Ditty” takes off with Maryann’s lead vocals and the perfect harmonies of Diane, Maureen and Sue. WMCA disc jockeys Dandy Dan Daniels and Harry Harrison knew the girls had a hit on their hands and invited them to perform at area shows including the legendary WMCA High School Hops. In addition to their many personal appearances, The Goodies found themselves thrust into the TV spotlight courtesy of such programs as The Clay Cole Show.
While “The Dum Dum Ditty” was taking off on the pop charts, another Goodies recording, “Sophisticated Boom Boom” was added to play lists of many R&B stations. Attending school during the week, The Goodies’ weekends were a whirlwind of appearances with performers such as Bobby Rydell, Ruby & The Romantics, The Crystals, Ben E. King, and other top acts of the day.
The group was forced to break up when lead singer Maryann’s family relocated to Pennsylvania, though the remaining members formed other groups and continued to perform in area shows. After a long hiatus, three of the original members reunited in the fall of 2005. Because of their inclusion on the disc, they were asked to perform at The Cutting Room in New York City for the CD launch party of Warner Brothers – Rhino Industry’s emmy-nominated compilation “One Kiss Leads to Another: Lost and Found”, listed in Rolling Stone Magazine as the number one reissue for 2005 (beating out Ray Charles, The Grateful Dead, John Coltrane and Billy Joel).
They most recently opened for Maxine Brown and Little Anthony & The Imperials at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ to great success. Original lead singer of The Goodies Maryann Gesmundo Regal is now joined by their newest members, Barbara Jean Baker and Tiffany Regal.
Maryann, in 2017, was introduced by Barbara to songwriter/producer JAYAR MACK, who decided to take them on as clients and bring them to JACODA RECORDS. The result is a brand new upcoming single co-written and produced by JAYAR MACK entitled "YOUR LOVE", to be serviced to radio/press in 3rd or 4th quarter of 2018, a second single co-written by JAYAR MACK, JAMES FORBES and THE GOODIES entitled "I SPY A GUY", and a brand new upcoming album to be released in 2020...their first brand new recordings since 1965!
The Goodies enjoy performing a diverse range of music, including a mix of girl group favorites from the 60’s, contemporary pieces and of course their own recordings. They continue to captivate their many fans with their energetic and magnetic performances.