The Detergents were an American music group consisting of Ronnie (Ron) Dante, Danny Jordan, and Tommy Wynn. The group's speciality was parody songs, as with their first and best-known hit record, "Leader of the Laundromat", written and produced by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss. It was a spoof of the then current hit song "Leader of the Pack."
The lead vocal on "Leader of the Laundromat" was by Danny Jordan who was Paul Vance's nephew. Jordan had had a 1960 single release on Kapp Records' Leader label: "Just Couldn't Resist Her With Her Pocket Transistor" (writers: Jack Keller/ Larry Kolber), a disc highly reminiscent of the then recent "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" by Leader artist Brian Hyland and like that #1 hit produced by Vance. Vance also produced a 1962 collaboration between Jordan and Artie Wayne: "Find a Little Happiness" a Diamond Records release credited to Jordan and Wayne.
By 1964 Dante, Jordan and Wynn were all staff writers and session singers for Don Kirshner's Aldon Music: that year the three eighteen-year-olds had collaborated in writing the Ronnie Dante single "Little Lollipop" and as the Cabin Kids the trio were recording surf music style songs for planned release on the Screen Gems label when Vance approached them to record "Leader of the Laundromat" as the Detergents.
The success of "Leader of the Laudromat" predicated the abandonment of the Cabin Kids in favor of the Detergents and as such Dante, Jordan and Wynn appeared on several music oriented television shows of the day, such as Shindig! and Hullabaloo also touring with Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars. The group was active from 1964 until 1966.
The Detergents made a second and final appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Double-O-Seven" a lament by a teenager whose girlfriend is neglecting him to see James Bond movies; the track reached #89 in the spring of 1965.
The Detergents again spoofed the Shangri-Las by recording "I Can Never Eat Home Any More," a parody of the Shangri-las hit "I Can Never Go Home Any More."
After "Leader of the Laundromat" was released, the composers of "Leader of the Pack", Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and George "Shadow" Morton, filed a lawsuit against the group. The suit was ultimately settled out of court. Coincidentally just three years later, in 1968, Dante began working alongside songwriter-producer Jeff Barry as the lead vocalist for the briefly, hugely successful cartoon group, The Archies. Thus in 1969, Dante was the lead (though publicly unacknowledged) vocalist of two Billboard Top 10 singles in the same week, as lead vocalist for two different but equally non-existent studio groups: the aforementioned Archies with the #1 hit "Sugar, Sugar" and the Cuff Links, with the #9 hit "Tracy," which was written and produced by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss, who (bringing us full circle) also penned and produced "Leader of the Laundromat" by The Detergents.
Dante himself would go on to produce many of Barry Manilow's greatest hit recordings of the seventies.
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