Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: According to one music website, Pavlov's Dog's “Pampered Menial” LP charted on two labels [ABC and Columbia] simultaneously on the charts, “a first and last for the music industry.”

Another site reports the same about Pavlov's Dog's single, “Julia.”

Yet another makes all the same claims regarding “Wild Thing,” by the Troggs.

They cannot all be right. Please separate the facts from fiction?
—George Parsons, Madison, Wisc.

DEAR GEORGE: The Troggs story is factual and fascinating. The Dog sites are probably well-intentioned, but much in need of an overhaul.

Yes, both ABC and Columbia charted with individual versions of “Pampered Menial,” but not simultaneously.

In February 1975, ABC released “Pampered Menial,” Pavlov Dog's first album (ABCD-866). In March, they lifted two one-word tracks, “Julia” and “Episode,” from the LP for a single (ABC-12086).

On April 5th, “Pampered Menial” began six weeks of hovering in the lower 10% of the Top 200 LPs. “Julia,” their only single, did not chart at all.

Surprisingly, ABC dropped Pavlov's Dog, leaving them to be picked up by Columbia, who quickly repackaged “Pampered Menial” (PC-33552).

Five weeks after ABC's original dropped off the charts (June 14), Columbia's entry debuted.

Like the ABC entry, this version also remained near the bottom of the charts.

This means the first two sites you reference are wrong.

The third is right about “Wild Thing,” but they could have expanded their Troggs coverage to include six months of events that really are, to use the line you quote, “a first and last for the music industry.”

Here is the complex chronology of the key happenings, all in 1966:

Issued in the UK in April, “Wild Thing” debuted May 7th at No. 27 on Britain's New Musical Express (Fontana TF-689). New York's Atlantic obtained what they thought was the exclusive right to release Troggs recordings in the U.S. and Canada, on their Atco label.

To their surprise, “Wild Thing” 45s were also being distributed here by Fontana (1548) as well as Atco (6415).

The first week of June, furious over Fontana's release, Atlantic et al brought suit against Mercury et al (Fontana) in N.Y. Supreme Court, seeking an injunction against their North American's issue of “Wild Thing,” and any future Troggs music.

“Wild Thing” made its U.S. chart debut on Cash Box (No. 82), on June 18th, with both Atco and Fontana given equal credit as the label.

But the records were not identical.

Atco put “With a Girl Like You” on the B-side, and two months later, it made the Top 30 by itself. Fontana's B-side, “From Home,” never charted.

One week later “Wild Thing” entered Billboard's Hot 100 (No. 75), also crediting both Atco and Fontana.

For the remainder of 1966, every Troggs record, regardless of format, was promoted, distributed, sold, and charted simultaneously on two labels.

August 6, 1966: Unconcerned that “With a Girl Like You” was the B-side of the No. 1 hit, “Wild Thing” (Atco 6415), on sale for two months and already owned by hundreds of thousands, Fontana still issued it. Their 45 is backed with the non-charting “I Want You” (Fontana 1552).

Also in August, both labels rush-released a “Wild Thing” LP, with identical tracks but very different packaging and graphics (Atco 193 and Fontana 67556). Siamesed again, the twin releases shared a chart position each week for four months.

Each step seemed to perpetuate an already nutty situation, particularly evident come September.

The month began with “Wild Thing” (Atco flip side being “With a Girl Like You”) at No. 31 and falling, and “With a Girl Like You” as No. 32 and rising. Of course Atco and Fontana were cojoined on both.

Now that's something you don't see every day. It gave the Troggs two separate records containing “With a Girl Like You,” at consecutive chart positions, moving in opposite directions.

On October 15th, the two highest debuting singles were both “I Can't Control Myself.” Same Troggs song, but on Atco (6444) and Fontana (1557). Both have “Gonna Make You” on the B-side.

Following six months of legal wrangling, Atlantic and Mercury finally agreed to settle the pending litigation. As of early December, Fontana received exclusive rights to all new Troggs material. For an unspecified period, Atlantic would receive royalties on Troggs records made by Fontana. Atlantic would immediately cease manufacturing Troggs records, but their distributors could continue selling existing inventories until gone.

That put an end to one of the recording industry's more bizarre events: Trogglomania.

IZ ZAT SO? With Atco out of the picture, none of the four Troggs singles charted in 1967, though they did score a Top 10 hit in early '68 with “Love Is All Around” (Fontana 1607).

Also in 1968, the Troggs made their first visit to the U.S.

It appears that Atlantic gave up very little in the settlement, and came away pretty much unscathed.

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