Gary Puckett & The Union Gap

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Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
Origin San Diego, California, United States
Genres Pop rock, pop music
Years active 1967–Present
Labels Columbia Records
Website Gary Puckett official website
Past members Gary Puckett
Kerry Chater
Gary Withem
Dwight Bement
Paul Wheatbread
Barry McCoy
Richard Gabriel

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (initially credited as The Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett) was an American pop rock group active in the late 1960s. Their biggest hits were "Woman, Woman," "Young Girl," and "Lady Willpower."

History[edit]

Singer Gary Puckett (born October 17, 1942, Hibbing, Minnesota) grew up in Yakima, Washington - close to the city of Union Gap - and Twin Falls, Idaho. He began playing guitar in his teens, and graduated from Twin Falls High School before attending college in San Diego, California. There, he quit college and played in several local bands before joining the Outcasts, a local hard rock group comprising bassist Kerry Chater (born August 7, 1945, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada),[1] keyboardist Gary 'Mutha' Withem (born August 22, 1946, San Diego),[1] tenor saxophonist Dwight Bement (born December 28, 1945, San Diego),[1] and drummer Paul Wheatbread (born February 8, 1946, San Diego).[1]

In 1966 the band toured the Pacific Northwest without Wheatbread, who was recruited as the house drummer on the television series, Where the Action Is; he later rejoined the line-up. As The Outcasts the band produced two singles, but they were unsuccessful. Under manager Dick Badger the band was renamed The Union Gap in early 1967, and kitted themselves out with Union Army-style Civil War uniforms as a visual gimmick. They then recorded a demo, which was heard by CBS record producer and songwriter Jerry Fuller. Impressed by Puckett's tenor voice and the band's soft rock leanings, Fuller signed them to a recording contract with Columbia Records.[2][3]

The band recorded their first single, "Woman Woman", a song written by Jim Glaser and Jimmy Payne, in August 1967.[2] It became their first hit, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and being certified as a gold disc.[4] This was followed during the next two years by "Young Girl" (#2), "Lady Willpower" (#2), "Over You" (#7), and "Don't Give In To Him" (#15).[3] All were produced by Fuller, who also wrote "Young Girl," "Lady Willpower," and "Over You". Although the band never had a #1 record in the United States, "Young Girl" reached No. 1 on the UK singles chart, and No. 6 when it was reissued in the UK six years later. Controversial at the time and later for its risqué lyrical references to underage romance, Allmusic labeled the groups lyrics "bizarrely pedophilic".[2] "Young Girl" was the second million selling disc for the band, which it reached less than two months after issue; "Lady Willpower" and "Over You" also won gold discs.[5] The band headlined at a White House reception for Prince Charles[6] and at Disneyland in 1968, and were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1969, losing out to José Feliciano.

The band, however, wanted to write and produce its own material, and Puckett resented singing the power ballads written by Fuller. In 1969 Fuller prepared a 40-piece studio orchestra to record a new song he had written, but Puckett and the group refused to record it, the session was canceled, and Fuller never again worked with the group.[2] The band returned to the charts with "This Girl Is a Woman Now," produced by Dick Glasser, but later releases failed to make the Billboard Top 40. Chater and Withem left the band; Bement took over on bass guitar and keyboardist, Barry McCoy, and horn player, Richard Gabriel, were added. In 1970 Puckett began recording as a solo act, but with limited success; the Union Gap remained his live backing band until they were dismissed following an appearance at the 1971 Orange County Fair. Puckett's recording contract was terminated one year later.[2]

Solo careers and personal lives[edit]

Gary Puckett in Boston, circa 2005

After the Union Gap was disbanded, Puckett had modest success as a solo artist, mostly performing and re-recording the band's songs. By 1973 he had essentially disappeared from music, opting instead to study acting and dance and performing in theatrical productions in and around Los Angeles. A comeback tour engineered by music writer Thomas K. Arnold brought him to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1981, and from that point on he became a regular on the national oldies circuit.[2] He has also released some new material, including a 2001 holiday album entitled Gary Puckett at Christmas.[7] In 1994 and 2002 Puckett performed at the Moondance Jam near Walker, Minnesota. As of 2010, Puckett continued to perform live concerts in venues across the U.S., including "package" oldies circuit tours with The Association and The Lettermen. On June 20, 2010, Puckett performed for the first time in Union Gap, Washington, the namesake city of his former band.[8] Puckett is married to Lorrie and they have two daughters, Syd and Michaela; they currently reside in Clearwater, Florida.[9] Bement later joined the oldies act Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids. Chater relocated to Nashville, Tennessee where he worked as a songwriter, and had a minor solo hit in 1977 with "Part Time Love." Wheatbread turned to concert promotion, and Withem returned to San Diego to teach high-school band.[2]

On his 2010 Australian tour Puckett was joined by Australia's Lucky Starr, a regular on popular television programs Bandstand and Six O'Clock Rock.

Current band lineup is Woody Lingle (bass and vocals), Jamie Hilboldt (keyboards and vocals) and Mike Candito (drums and vocals)

Union Gap present day

References in popular culture[edit]

ESPN's Chris Berman called Kirby Puckett Kirby "Union Gap" Puckett.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year (A-Side)
(Songwriters)
B-Side
(Songwriters)
Chart Positions
US UK[10] AU
November 1967 † "Woman, Woman"
(Jim Glaser, Jimmy Payne)
"Don't Make Promises"
(Tim Hardin)
4
48
6
March 1968 † "Young Girl"
(Jerry Fuller)
"I'm Losing You"
(Jerry Fuller, Gary Puckett)
2
1
2
June 1968 ‡ "Lady Willpower"
(Jerry Fuller)
"Daylight Stranger"
(Jerry Fuller, Gary Puckett)
2
5
4
September 1968 ‡ "Over You"
(Jerry Fuller)
"If The Day Would Come"
(Kerry Chater, Gary Puckett, Gary Withem)
7
-
8
March 1969 ‡ "Don't Give In To Him"
(Gary Usher)
"Could I"
(Jerry Fuller, Gary Puckett)
15
-
24
August 1969 ‡ "This Girl Is a Woman Now"
(Victor Millrose, Alan Bernstein)
"His Other Woman"
(D. Allen, Kerry Chater)
9
-
16
March 1970 ‡ "Let's Give Adam and Eve Another Chance"
(Richard Mainegra, Red West)
"The Beggar"
(E. Colville, Gary Puckett)
41
-
-
June 1974 ‡ "Young Girl" (re-issue)
(Jerry Fuller)
"Woman, Woman"
(Jim Glaser, Jimmy Payne)
-
6
-

† - Billed as The Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett
‡ - Billed as Gary Puckett & The Union Gap

Gary Puckett solo

  • "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" (#61) / "All That Matters" - Columbia 45249 - October 1970
  • "Keep The Customer Satisfied" (#71) / "No One Really Knows" - Columbia 45303 - February 1971
  • "Life Has Its Little Ups And Downs" / "Shimmering Eyes" - Columbia 45358 - 1971
  • "Hello Morning" / "Gentle Woman" - Columbia 45438 - 1971
  • "Hello Morning" / "I Can't Hold On" - Columbia 45509 - 1971
  • "Bless This Child" / "Leavin' In The Morning" - Columbia 45678 - 1972

Kerry Chater solo

  • "Part Time Love" (#97) / "No Love On The Black Keys" - Warner 8310 - March 1977

Albums[edit]

Month and Year Album title U.S. Pop Albums[11] UK Albums Chart[10]
February 1968 † Woman, Woman
#22
-
May 1968 ‡ Young Girl
#21
-
June 1968 ‡ Union Gap
-
#24
November 1968 ‡ Incredible
#20
-
December 1969 ‡ The New Gary Puckett and the Union Gap Album
#50
-
July 1970 ‡ Gary Puckett & The Union Gap's Greatest Hits
-
-

† - Billed as The Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett
‡ - Billed as Gary Puckett & The Union Gap

Gary Puckett solo

  • The Gary Puckett Album (#196) - Columbia C-30862 - October 1971

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Gary Puckett and the Union Gap Biography". Musicianguide.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Gary Puckett | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  3. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 232. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  5. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 250. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  6. ^ "The Official Gary Puckett Union Gap Website Gary Puckett Bio". Garypuckettmusic.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  7. ^ "Gary Puckett | Discography". AllMusic. 1942-10-17. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  8. ^ [2][dead link]
  9. ^ "GPMusic.com - Photos". Garypuckettmusic.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  10. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 442. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  11. ^ Jason Ankeny (1942-10-17). "Gary Puckett | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]