Josie and the Pussycats (album)

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Josie and the Pussycats: From the Hanna-Barbera TV Show
Studio album by Josie and the Pussycats
Released December 5, 1970
Recorded Spring–fall 1970
Genre Bubblegum pop
Length 23:43
Label Capitol
Producer Danny Janssen
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Promotional photo of the performers.

Josie and the Pussycats is a 1970 bubblegum pop album by a girl group designed to be the real-life incarnation of a fictional band in Archie Comics and Hanna-Barbera cartoons. The album was released by Capitol Records with Danny Janssen's La La Productions.

Besides being both an Archie comic book and a Saturday morning cartoon series, Josie and the Pussycats is also the name of a bubblegum pop singing group from the early 1970s based on the fictional characters. The group was made up of Cathy Douglas[2][not in citation given] (also known as Cathy Dougher, and whose real name was Kathleen Dougherty), Patrice Holloway, and Cherie Moor (formerly known as Cheryl Jean Stoppelmoor and later better known as Cheryl Ladd).

The group also released six singles in 1970 and 1971. All of the songs were re-released on a 2001 compilation, Stop, Look and Listen - The Capitol Recordings.

Background[edit]

In preparation for their upcoming cartoon series, Hanna-Barbera Productions began working on putting together a real-life "Josie and the Pussycats" girl group, who would provide the singing voices of the girls in the cartoons and also cut an album.

The "Josie and the Pussycats" recordings were produced by La La Productions which included producer/songwriter Danny Janssen (who had written for Bobby Sherman and The Partridge Family), his business partner Bobby Young, and songwriters Austin Roberts, Sue Steward (now known as Sue Sheridan) and Bobby Hart (formerly one of the producers/songwriters for The Monkees). They held a talent search to find three girls who would match the three girls in the comic book in both looks and singing ability, and, after interviewing over 500 finalists, settled upon casting Dougher as Josie, Moor as Melody, and Holloway as Valerie.

African-American with part-Hispanic background, Holloway was the younger sister of Motown legend Brenda Holloway. Having signed to the label as a solo artist in 1965, she was the only one of the three finalists with prior ties to Capitol Records (the label that released the Pussycats' album and singles). Her early Capitol singles, all highly collectible, include "Ecstasy," "Stay With Your Own Kind" and "Stolen Hours" (released between 1965 & 1967). Most were produced by Hollywood-based writer/producers Billy and Gene Page.

Stoppelmoor had come to Hollywood from her native South Dakota with a country and western band that broke up and went back home almost immediately upon arrival. Shortening her unwieldy last name and now going as Cherie Moor, she decided to stay and try her luck as a singer, dancer and actress on television. After marrying David Ladd, she would go on to replace Farrah Fawcett in Charlie's Angels prior to the filming of its second season in 1977. She would also release a Gold album and a Top 40 single ("Think It Over") on Capitol the following year.

Janssen presented the newly formed band to William Hanna and Joseph Barbera to finalize the production deal, but was in for a major surprise. Hanna-Barbera wanted Janssen to recast Holloway, as they had decided to portray "Josie and the Pussycats" as an all-White trio, altering Valerie's character to make her Caucasian. Janssen refused to recast Holloway, whose voice he felt he needed for the soul-inspired bubblegum pop songs he had written, and threatened to walk away from the project. After a three-week-long stand-off between Janssen and Hanna-Barbera, Hanna-Barbera finally relented, allowed Janssen to keep Holloway, and changed Valerie back to being an African-American.[citation needed] Valerie had been introduced in the "Josie" comic book in late 1969, and the character had been African-American from the start.

Word quickly spread around Los Angeles about the stand Janssen had taken. To show their gratitude, a number of the most notable soul session players in the city offered their services to La La Productions and the Josie album at a fraction of their regular fees. Among them were Elvis Presley's drummer Ronnie Tutt, Elvis' bassist Jerry Scheff, keyboardist Clarence MacDonald, flutist Wilton Felder and guitarist Mike Stewart.

Overview[edit]

The Josie and the Pussycats sound is very much based upon that of late '60s Detroit acts such as Motown's Jackson 5 and Hot Wax Records' Honey Cone. A cover of The Jackson 5's classic "I'll Be There" is present on the album, and a number of Patrice Holloway's leads find her imitating young Michael Jackson's lead vocals.[3] Ironically, Holloway, who almost didn't even end up in the group, sings most of the album's lead vocals. Holloway also sings lead on the famous "Josie and the Pussycats" theme song, which was written by Hanna-Barbera musical director Hoyt Curtin (and based on a recurring score cue from The Jetsons), William Hanna, and Joseph Barbera. The majority of the rest of the lead parts are done by Cherie Moor. Although she was cast as the singing voice of Josie, Kathleen Dougherty only sings partial lead vocals on two of the Pussycats' songs, "If That Isn't Love," and the cover of "I'll Be There." Also present on the album are covers of Bobby Sherman's "La, La, La (If I Had You)", The Carpenters' "(They Long To Be) Close To You", and Bread's "It Don't Matter to Me".

Although Janssen used strings, horns, keyboards, and oscillators (electronic synthesizers) to create the band's sound, the on-screen cartoon band featured Josie on guitar, Valerie with tambourines, and Melody on drums. No other musicians appeared on-screen with them, creating a disconcerting contrast between audio and visual for the viewers. At least one, but usually two, of the band's songs were heard during the course of an episode of the TV show, especially during a high-action chase sequence.

Josie and the Pussycats: From the Hanna-Barbera TV Show was released on December 15, 1970 by Capitol Records, Six 45 RPM singles were released, four of which contained non-album songs and were only available as part of a Kellogg's mail-order promotion. None of the singles charted, and many people didn't even know the album was available. As a result, sales were far below expectations, and plans for a national tour were shelved. Hanna-Barbera contracted producer Jimmie Haskell and a group of anonymous session singers to do the music for Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, and La La Productions' Josie and the Pussycats group was officially disbanded. Danny Janssen and Patrice Holloway worked together on a few songs after the demise of the band ("Black Mother Goose" and "Evidence," both issued in 1971), and Sue Sheridan (as Sue Steward) cut two solo singles for Capitol under Janssen and Young's supervision. Several years later, Sheridan wrote a few songs for Cheryl Ladd's self-titled 1978 debut album, also released on Capitol Records.

The album, the singles, some alternate takes, and a few songs that only appeared in the animated series were all collected in a limited edition digitally remastered set entitled Josie and the Pussycats: Stop Look and Listen: The Capitol Recordings, released by Rhino Handmade on October 5, 2001. Rhino only pressed 5000 copies of the album. Earlier that same year, Babyface produced a new Josie and the Pussycats album as the soundtrack for the motion picture released by Universal Pictures that same year. This new reincarnation of the Pussycats had a harder, punk-rock sound, as opposed to their Motown-ish 1970 counterparts. Letters to Cleo vocalist Kay Hanley sang lead on all of the Pussycats' new songs.

Discography[edit]

The original 1971 album -- Capitol ST-665[edit]

  • Side 1
  1. Every Beat of My Heart
  2. La, La, La (If I Had You)
  3. Stop, Look and Listen
  4. Hand Clapping Song
  5. I'll Be There
  • Side 2
  1. You've Come a Long Way Baby
  2. (They Long to Be) Close to You
  3. Roadrunner
  4. Lie Lie Lie
  5. It Don't Matter to Me

Stop, Look and Listen - The Capitol Recordings -- Rhino Handmade RHM2 7783[edit]

CD compilation released in 2001, featuring all the original album tracks plus the following:

  1. Every Beat of My Heart [Single Version]
  2. It's Alright With Me
  3. Stop, Look and Listen [Single Version]
  4. You've Come a Long Way Baby [Single Version]
  5. Letter to Mama
  6. Inside, Outside, Upside Down
  7. Josie
  8. With Every Beat of My Heart
  9. Voodoo
  10. If That Isn't Love
  11. I Wanna Make You Happy
  12. It's Gotta Be Him
  13. Lie Lie Lie [Alternate Mix]
  14. You've Come a Long Way Baby [Alternate Mix #1]
  15. You've Come a Long Way Baby [Alternate Mix #2]
  16. Together
  17. Dreammaker
  18. Time to Love

Commercial singles[edit]

  • "Every Beat of My Heart" b/w "It's All Right With Me" (Janssen, Steward; non-album) -- Capitol 2967–1970
  • "Stop, Look And Listen" b/w "You've Come a Long Way Baby"—Capitol 3045—February 1971

Kellogg's mail order singles from 1970[edit]

  • "Inside, Outside, Upside-Down" (Janssen, Steward) b/w "A Letter to Mama" (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera) -- Capitol Creative Products CP-58
  • "Josie" (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera) b/w "With Every Beat of My Heart" (Janssen, Steward) [4]—Capitol Creative Products CP-59
  • "Voodoo" (Janssen, Steward) b/w "If That Isn't Love" (Hoyt Curtin, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera) -- Capitol Creative Products CP-60
  • "It's Gotta Be Him" (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera) b/w "I Wanna Make You Happy" (Janssen, Steward) -- Capitol Creative Products CP-61

Other recordings[edit]

These songs only appeared in the cartoon show; they were never released for consumer purchase. "Clock on the Wall" and "I Love You Too Much" were the only songs not included on the Rhino reissue.

  • "Dreammaker"
  • "Clock on the Wall"
  • "Together"
  • "The Time to Love"
  • "I Love You Too Much"

Cartoon Network did re-working of the Josie and the Pussycats theme song in a short called Musical Evolution, in which the theme song goes through several changes in styles, including disco, punk, country, heavy metal, and hip-hop. It is unclear who provided the singing voices for the characters in the short.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Hale, Mike. "Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space - TV Series - Cast & Credits - Listings - NYTimes.com". Tv.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  3. ^ Unterberger, Ritchie (2003). "Stop, Look, and Listen: The Capitol Recordings" Allmusic.com
  4. ^ "Josie" is an extended version of the Josie and the Pussycats cartoon theme song, while "With Every Beat of My Heart" is an alternate mix of "Every Beat of My Heart" (missing the album version's strings and horns)

External links[edit]