Steam (band)

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Steam
Origin New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Pop, psychedelic pop, pop rock
Years active 1969–1970
Labels Fontana, Mercury

Steam was a pop-rock music group best known for the 1969 number one hit song "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye." The song was written and recorded by studio musicians Garrett DeCarlo, Dale Frashuer, and producer/writer Paul Leka at Mercury Records studios in New York City. The single was attributed to the band "Steam" although at the time there was actually no band with that name. Paul Leka and the studio group recorded the first album.

Band history[edit]

J. Deleone, Frashuer and Leka were members of a band from Bridgeport, Connecticut, the Chateaus. At the age of 16, Deleone was being touted as the next Ginger Baker. His drumming style and ability was remarkable. As the Chateaus, they recorded some failed 45's in the early 1960s for Coral. The trio separated but kept in touch. Leka became a songwriter with Circle Five Productions and in 1967, he wrote and produced The Lemon Pipers' "Green Tambourine" and other Pipers' numbers with Shelley Pinz. In 1969, Leka was working at Mercury Records and he convinced the label's A & R man, Bob Reno, to sign on his old Chateaus' band mate and drummer J. DeLeone (performing with Jarrett Scott). With Leka producing, DeCarlo recorded four singles, all of which Reno thought would do well issued as an A-side. To fill up the B-side of the first single, DeCarlo and Leka were asked to cut a throwaway flip side. Their former band mate from the Chateaus, Dale Frashuer, stopped by the studio the night of the recording and inspired Leka to dig up a song the three men had written in 1961 during their Chateaus days but had never recorded. The song was "Kiss Him Goodbye". With DeCarlo as lead vocalist, the trio recorded the song in a single night without the back-up of studio musicians. Deleone used the drum track from one of his other recordings plus singles and played the keyboard himself. To make the song less palatable to DJ's[citation needed], they lengthened the song with a repetitive chorus of "na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye". Nobody believed that Na Na was worth anything and since neither Leka or DeCarlo wanted to have their names on it, the song was attributed to a non-existent band that they named Steam and was a one-hit wonder.

Success[edit]

What happened next surprised everybody who was involved in the project. A DJ in Georgia flipped Mercury's promo copy over and played the B side "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" on the radio. Requests to replay the song began to pour in by phone. Then the radio station put the song on its tight play list and other radio stations picked it up. When Mercury Records' promotional department heard that radio stations in the South were playing Na Na, they authorized the purchase of 100,000 copies in order to put it on the Billboard popular hit chart. When radio stations in other states saw the record appear on the Billboard popular hit chart, they picked it up and airplay of the song snowballed. The investment of approximately $50,000 in promotional funds to buy their own records worked for Mercury and "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" reached number one in the United States for two weeks in December 1969. Dale Frashuer stepped out of the public eye. Garrett DeCarlo began performing again in 2012. By the beginning of the 21st century, sales of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" had exceeded 6.5 million records.

During this same time period, Paul Leka became a producer and arranger for The Left Banke, producing and arranging the majority of their recordings on the album, The Left Banke Too. Soon after "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" became a hit, Mercury Records asked Dale Frashuer, Garrett Scott, and J. De Leone to tour in order to promote the record. They did not want to tour so Mercury Records hired another group of musicians to impersonate the non-existent band named Steam. None of those musicians were notable for any kind of success in the music business and the only reason it's mentioned here is because having other bands impersonate the real recording bands was an interesting yet not an uncommon phenomenon during that era.

Musicians[edit]

Key musicians on the record, "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"

Discography[edit]

Album[edit]

  • Steam (Mercury SR 61254) 1969
    • Side 1
      1. "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"
      2. "I've Gotta Make You Love Me"
      3. "It's The Magic In You Girl"
      4. "Come On Home Girl"
      5. "Love And Affection"
    • Side 2
      1. "Come On Back And Love Me"
      2. "I've Cried A Million Tears"
      3. "I'm The One Who Loves You"
      4. "One Good Woman"
      5. "New Breed, Now Generation"

45s[edit]

  • (Fontana F-1667) 1969
  1. "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"
  2. "It's The Magic In You Girl"
  • (Mercury 73020) 1970
  1. "One Good Woman"
  2. "I've Gotta Make You Love Me"
  • (Mercury 73053) 1970
  1. "I'm The One Who Loves You"
  2. "What I'm Saying Is True"

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]