Harpers Bizarre





Evolving from the Santa Cruz surf band, The Tikis, the original Harpers Bizarre emerged in late 1966 with a line-up comprising of lead vocalist/guitarist Ted Templeman, vocalist/guitarist Dick Scoppettone, vocalist/bassist Dick Yount, vocalist/guitarist Eddie James and former Beau Brummels drummer/vocalist John Peterson. The Tikis had been signed to Tom Donahue's Autumn Records from 1965 to 1966 and had released two singles that failed to gain any attention.

The following year, record producer Lenny Waronker had heard Simon And Garfunkel's "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" and believed he could make it a hit. The Tikis recorded it using an arrangement created by Leon Russell, and the song was issued under a new band name, Harpers Bizarre. The record became one of that year's biggest hits, peaking at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #34 in the UK. Follow-up success was harder to come by, with their next release, "Come To The Sunshine" stalling at #37 in June, 1967. Another light, bouncy tune called "Anything Goes" spent seven weeks on the Hot 100 that Fall, but could climb no higher than #43. A re-make of Glenn Miller's 1941 hit, "Chattanooga Choo Choo", complete with ill-advised, steam train sound effects, fared no better than #45 on the Hot 100, although it hit #1 on Billboard's Easy Listening Chart. 1968 saw a cover of Johnny Horton's 1959 chart topper, "Battle Of New Orleans" peak at #95 during a one week stay on the Hot 100.

The band enjoyed successful tours and released four albums before changing musical tastes finally forced them into disbanding in early 1970, shortly after their final LP had been released. Ted Templeman explained that they broke up over whether to continue with their producer: "Well, the lowdown was that the rest of the band didn't want Lenny (Waronker) to produce us anymore, but I did. So, it was me against them. And that was it." Templeman went on to become one of Warner Brothers' primary staff producers, working with The Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison, Van Halen and others. In 1976, three members (without Templeman) reunited to record the album, "As Time Goes By", which made little impact and was to be the group's last original recording. The LP "Feelin' Groovy: The Best of Harpers Bizarre" was issued by Warner Archives in 1997, produced by Ted Templeman, Lenny Waronker and Gregg Geller.

Drummer John Petersen suffered a fatal heart attack on November 11, 2007.