Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Thomas Dawes, 1943-2007
Thomas Dawes, genius behind the mid-Sixties band the Cyrkle, dead at the age of 64. The Cyrkle was discovered by Beatles manager Brian Epstein, which is how the legend got started that John Lennon came up with their idiosyncratically spelled name, and how the Cyrkle came to open for the Beatles on their final tour in 1966. While one of the band members served a brief stint in the Coast Guard, Dawes played bass for Simon and Garfunkel on one of their tours, which is how Paul Simon came to offer them "Red Rubber Ball," which went to Number Two on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1966. (The Cyrkle supposedly later turned down Simon's offer of "59th Street Bridge Song.")
According to the obituary in my newspaper, "Red Rubber Ball" was the only hit for the Cyrkle, which is why, when it comes to obscure pop acts or long-term game-show guests, please, please, please, folks, turn to OPC first for your information before you go to the AP. "Turn Down Day" went to Number 16 in the fall of 1966, a song written by the team of Dave Blume and Jack Keller, about whom I know very little except that Blume also wrote the score for the Don Knotts film The Shakiest Gun in the West.
Dawes, who was the Cyrkle's bassist and co-lead singer, had written neither of the band's hits, but when they began to dissolve shortly after their second hit, he embarked on a career as a commercial jingle writer. He wrote "Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz," "Coke Is It," and several other tunes that were inescapable in the '70s and '80s. The Cyrkle did have one brief reunion for the occasion of -- I kid you not -- Hands Across America.