Sunday, March 11, 2012
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Five Man Electrical Band
Album:The Best Of Five Man Electrical Band
Signs was the biggest hit and signature song for the Canadian group Five Man Electrical Band in 1971. It's a classic anti-establishment song. The group started out in Ottawa as The Staccatos in 1966 with lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Les Emmerson, bassist Brian Rading, keyboardist Ted Gerow and drummers Rick "Bell" Belanger and Mike "Bell" Belanger. They had a hit in Canada in 1967 with Half Past Midnight and recorded the album A Wild Pair with The Guess Who. When The Staccatos were rejected by US radio stations as too similar to The Beach Boys, they recorded a second album and changed their name to Five Man Electrical Band which was originally the album title. After continued success in Canada, they signed with MGM in the US and moved to Los Angeles. They released a few singles with little success. Signs was the B-side of the single Hello Melinda Goodbye. The group was about to split up when they signed with a new label Lionel Records owned by legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb and producer Dallas Smith. They reissued Signs as a teaser for the upcoming album Goodbyes & Butterflies. Signs reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in1971. The follow up single Absolutely Right reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100. In Canada, Signs, Absolutely Right and I'm A Stranger Here were all top five hits. Les Emmerson also had a solo hit in Canada with Cry Your Eyes Out in 1973. It's unclear when Five Man Electrical Band split up as Emmerson continued to use the group name. He now owns the rights to the recordings and licensed them to the British label Micro Werks for this 2009 comp. Five Man Electrical Band has reunited occasionally and are recording new music according to their website. Tesla had a top ten hit with their cover of Signs in 1990 and Fatboy Slim and others have sampled Signs. So I think it's safe to say that Les Emmerson is making a good living from royalties. Here's a video for Signs by Five Man Electrical Band.