The Fifth Estate (band)

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The Fifth Estate
The Fifth Estate.JPG
Background information
Also known as The D-Men in 1963 to 65
Origin Stamford, Connecticut, USA
Genres Garage rock, power pop, rock and roll, R&B, rock music, baroque pop
Years active 1963 – present
Labels United Artists, Kapp, Red Bird, Jubilee, Fuel 2000 / Universal Music Group, Varèse Sarabande
Members Rick Engler
Bob Klein
Doug Ferrara
Ken Evans
Bill Shute
Former members:
Wayne Wadhams
Chuck LeGrow

Early years (as The D-Men)[edit]

"The D-Men 1964".

The band began in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1963, as The D-Men. Early on, as The D-Men, the band played many small shows and local clubs but soon gravitated to Greenwich Village and larger clubs where they often played six nights a week for long stretches. They released three singles, two on Veep/United Artists and one on the Kapp labels, which along with much of their later material has become collectors' items and established them as a central part of the garage rock movement. Boston Skyline released a 28-song collection of their music in 1993 and published a 41-page booklet of their story.[1]

The band made a number of appearances on television, including Hullabaloo, on which they performed "I Just Don't Care". The program was at that time co-hosted by Brian Epstein, who expressed an interest in signing them. They later won a Murray the K call-in contest for best new release over The Dave Clark Five and The Animals in 1965. In 1966 they changed their name to "The Fifth Estate".

The Fifth Estate[edit]

The Fifth Estate released the single "Love Is All A Game" on the Red Bird label, which became a regional hit, and still receives airplay around the country as they again have become more highly regarded through their connection with the garage band revival and garage rock movements in general.[1] They had a national / international hit in 1967 with a sunshine pop version of "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead", which reached No. 11 on the Hot 100. The song was recorded and released around the world in five different languages (Japanese, Italian, French, German and English), and incorporated parts of "La Bouree," from "Terpsichore" by 17th-century composer Michael Praetorius. According to Cashbox, the song is in the Top 100 record releases of 1967[2] and has been the biggest hit with the highest American chart position of any Harold Arlen or Wizard of Oz song performed by any artist.[3] That same year, The Fifth Estate recorded their version of "Heigh Ho!", another film theme, this time from Disney's first feature length film, 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Although "Heigh Ho!" made it into the top 40 on the Canadian CHUM chart, sales for both "Heigh Ho!" and their next single, "Do Drop Inn", proved disappointing in the US as each single skimmed the bottom of the American charts. Although not making an impact in America, in 1968 "Morning Morning", an original song that incorporated the band's core guitar and harpsichord driven sound, was a sizable hit in Australia and England on the Stateside label. It now receives substantial radio, internet and Sirius XM play in the US and around the world.

The original five member band lineup was consistent for six years. In that time they recorded about 100 songs, and released 13 singles and one album. Sam & Dave joined them on stage and sang "Soul Man" with them at one of their theater shows, while one of the Vandellas sang and recorded one of their tunes with them as her next release. They also appeared in a 1967 TV episode of Malibu U, with weird overlays and film footage. In 1968, on "The Frodis Caper", the last of their 58 television show episodes, The Monkees covered The Fifth Estate's version of "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead".[4]

The Fifth Estate also toured with acts such as Count Five, The Electric Prunes, The Music Explosion, The Buckinghams, The Ronettes, Gene Pitney, The Lovin' Spoonful, The Turtles, The Byrds, The Easybeats. They also did the Upbeat with another Greenwich Village band, The Velvet Underground.[5][6]

In 1970, they all went off on different projects, but have since reformed and continue to perform and record. Their new album, TIME TUNNEL, was recorded in 2010/11 and is in full release as of 1-2-12. It was produced with the assistance of and mixed by Shel Talmy, the original producer for The Kinks, The Who, The Easybeats, Manfred Mann, early Jimmy Page and David Bowie.

On Sept. 19, 2012, The Fifth Estate - Anthology 1 was released by Fuel 2000/Universal Music Group. It's a 2-CD set with a 20 page booklet and 40 songs, more than half never released before.

In May, 2014 the German label Break-A-Way Records released a 14 song vinyl album of the band's early 1964 - 1966 material called "I Wanna Shout!"

On August 12, 2014, following the continued success of the 2012 Anthology 1 release, Fuel 2000 has also released a 14 song CD of new material from the Fifth Estate called "Take The Fifth." This again like their 2012 Time Tunnel album was mixed and executive produced by Shel Talmy of Kinks & Who fame.


  • Rick Engler - guitar, fuzz bass, lead vocals, harmonica
  • Ken 'Furvus' Evans - drums, vocals
  • Doug 'Duke' Ferrara - bass, lead harmony vocals
  • Wayne 'Wads' Wadhams (d. 19 August 2008) - harpsichord, piano, organ, lead vocals
  • Bill Shute - guitar, shugro 8, vocals
  • Chuck LeGros - vocals, harmonica (1966)
  • Bob 'Bobby Lee' Klein - lead vocals, keyboards, guitar (1969 + 2006>)

US 60s singles discography[edit]

as The D-Men
  • "Don't You Know" b/w "No Hope For Me" (Veep/United Artists 1206-A / July 1964)
  • "I Just Don't Care" b/w "Messin Around" (Veep/United Artists 1209-A / March 1965)
  • "So Little Time" b/w "Every Minute of Every Day" (Kapp 691-A / May 1965)
as The Fifth Estate
  • "Love Is All a Game" b/w "Like I Love You" (Red Bird RB 10-064 / 1965)
  • "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" b/w "Rub-a-Dub" (Jubilee Records 45-5573 / 1967)
  • "The Goofin Song" b/w "Lost Generation" (Jubilee Records 5588-A / 1967)
  • "Heigh Ho" b/w "It's Waiting There for You" (Jubilee Records 5595-A / 1967)
  • "Morning, Morning" b/w "Tomorrow Is My Turn" (Jubilee 5607-A / February 1968)
  • "Do Drop Inn" b/w "That's Love" (Jubilee Records 5617-A / April 1968)
  • "Coney Island Sally" b/w "I'll Let You Know" (Jubilee Records 5627-A / July 1968)
  • "Night On Fire" b/w "I've Never Been" 3 members as Medicine Mike (Evolution Records 1011 / September 1969)
  • In 1969, two unauthorized singles were released under the band name and without their participation.

Albums '60s–present[edit]

  • Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead (Jubilee Records JGS 8005 / 1967)
  • Ding Dong! The Witch Is Back: 1964-1969 (Boston Skyline BSD 116/1992)
  • Time Tunnel (Roxon Records LLC RR1001 / 2011)
  • The Fifth Estate - Anthology 1 1964-1969 (Fuel 2000 / Universal Music Group 2012)
  • I Wanna Shout! (Break-A-Way Records Break 039 / 2014)
  • Take The Fifth (Fuel 2000 Records Fuel 302 062 017 2 / 2014)


  1. ^ a b Booklet "The Witch Is Back", Boston Skyline BSD 116, published 1993.
  2. ^ (Cashbox Top 100)
  3. ^ Reuters: McPhee's "Rainbow" hits Oz gold. (BILLBOARD article)
  4. ^ Episode 58 "The Frodis Caper."
  5. ^, Fifth Estate HTML, 2004.
  6. ^ "Billboard" (talent section) section one, August 6, 1966.
  • Roxon, Lillian: Lilian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia (Grosset and Dunlop, Universal Library Edition, 1972) p182 ISBN 0-448-00255-8

External links[edit]