The Ugly Ducklings

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Not to be confused with the American hip-hop group Ugly Duckling.
The Ugly Ducklings
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Rock
Garage rock
Years active 1965–1974, 1979–1982, 1986, 1988
1999–present

The Ugly Ducklings were a five piece garage rock group based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, most notable during the mid 1960s.

They released six singles in 1966 and 1967 on the Yorktown and Yorkville labels, and one album, Somewhere Outside in 1967. In the summer and fall of 1967, the band's fifth single "Gaslight" became a Top 40 hit across Canada, peaking at #17 on the RPM Chart, and reaching #1 on CHUM 1050 in Toronto on October 2 that year, displacing The Rolling Stones' 2-sided hit, "Dandelion" b/w "We Love You". Their first three singles also made the local 1050 CHUM AM charts in Toronto.

Career[edit]

The group was formed in 1965 with Dave Bingham (lead vocals, harmonica), Glynn Bell (rhythm guitar), Roger Mayne (lead guitar), John Read (bass), and Robin Boers (drums). In their early days their music was partially influenced by The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and The Kinks, however the band was still able to create a rough individual sound typified by their solid garage-punk original material and raw delivery.[citation needed]

The Ugly Ducklings recordings have since been featured on several 1960s garage rock compilation albums, including the Garage Beat 66, Pebbles and Nuggets series. Perhaps in response to their wider recognition via these compilation albums, the band released an album in 1980 called Off the Wall (a year after the Michael Jackson album) that included new recordings of two of their 1960s songs "Nothin'" and "Hey Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut", and nine new original songs.[1][2]

In 1998, three CDs of the band's material were released in a three-month period. The first release, Too Much Too Soon, on Pacemaker was arguably superior to the subsequent Unidisc Releases, being much closer to the sound of the original releases. The Unidisc CDs suffer from doctored sound and overblown echo effects which destroyed the sound of the original mixes, especially on the tracks on Somewhere Outside.[citation needed] Also, in 2006, an exact reproduction of the original Somewhere Outside LP was reissued by Sundazed Records featuring the original cover art.

A previously unreleased live version of "I'm a Man" (recorded in the band's spacious rehearsal hall in Scarborough, Ontario in November, 1966) was issued by Sundazed Records in 2004. In 2007, YouTube videos of the band, were posted; including a performance sporting a previously unreleased song, "Hangman", from early 1968 and a "live" performance of "Nothin'" at the Peel Pub in Toronto in 2000. In 2007, lead singer Dave Bingham made available five unreleased albums by the band on eBay, as well as up-dated versions of "Somewhere Outside", "Off The Wall" and "S.N.A.F.U." All of these releases were dedicated to the memory of Roger Mayne (a most prodigious progenitor of the fuzztone guitar), who died of a heart attack in September 2004.

In 2007, East Coast CBC Radio Host & Journalist Bob Mersereau released his book, The Top 100 Canadian Albums. The book was a Top 100 list assembled by polling 600 singers, songwriters, musicians, producers, journalists and collectors from across Canada. The Ugly Ducklings' "Somewhere Outside" came in at No. 72, right in there with the likes of Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, The Guess Who, April Wine, Bruce Cockburn and other big-name Canadian musical acts. Three years later, Mersereau released his The Top 100 Canadian Singles compiled using the same method; The Ugly Ducklings' "Nothin'", which was recorded for only $330, came in at No. 33.[citation needed]

In July 2011, Pacemaker Records of Toronto released 2 CDs of Ugly Ducklings material. "Somewhere Inside" ( a "Live" radio show from Nov. 1966) & "Thump & Twang" a "Live" demo of the group from early 1968, featuring Mike McKenna on lead guitar. The disc featuring McKenna includes versions of "Hangman" & "You Can't Judge A Book" as heard on their respective videos on YouTube. The "Somewhere Inside" disc features a remastered version of the "Live recording of "I'm A Man" along with unreleased demos & "Live" performances from 1966.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Title Cat. No. Chart positions Notes
CAN
1966 "Nothin'" York Town 45001 70 First pressings on black label with silver lettering; second pressings on colored label.
"10:30 Train" York Town 45002 92 Initial A-side "10:30 Train" charted for one week, then replaced on chart by "She Ain't No Use To Me".
"She Ain't No Use to Me" 59
"Just in Case You Wonder" York Town 45003 81 Some promo copies incorrectly give title as "Just in Case You're Wondering".
1967 "Not For Long" York Town 45005 -
"Gaslight" Yorkville 45013 17
1968 "I Know What To Say" Yorkville 45017 -
1979 "The Pain Is All Right" Razor 002 -

Reissued singles[edit]

  • "Gaslight" b/w "Nothin'": Arc Records, 1976
  • "Just In Case You Wonder" b/w "Tobacco Road" (performed by The Nashville Teens): Arc Records, 1979.
  • "Nothin'" b/w "I Can Tell": Sundazed Records, 2000.

Albums[edit]

  • Somewhere Outside: York Town 1967
  • Off The Wall: Razor Records 1980
  • The Ugly Ducklings - (greatest hits): York Town Records 1981
  • Ducktales: Freeway Records 1998
  • Too Much Too Soon: Pacemaker Records 1998
  • Somewhere Outside: Unidisc Records 1998
  • The Ugly Ducklings: Unidisc Records 1998
  • Ducks On C.H.U.M.: Freeway Records 2007
  • Thump & Twang: Freeway Records 2007
  • Metamorphosis: Freeway Records 2007
  • Station Days: Freeway Records 2007
  • Somewhere Outside - The complete Sessions: Freeway Records 2007
  • Off The Wall: Freeway Records 2007
  • S.N.A.F.U.: Freeway Records 2008
  • Into The Seventies: Freeway Records 2009 (compilation of "Station Days" & "Backtracks" by PAPA GREY)
  • Somewhere Inside: Pacemaker Records 2011
  • Thump & Twang: Pacemaker Records 2011

DVDs[edit]

  • 21st Century Garage: Freeway Records 2007

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music Colin Larkin - 1995 " Albums: Somewhere Outside (1966), Off The Wall (1980). Compilation: The Ugly Ducklings (1982)."
  2. ^ Cesare Rizzi - Enciclopedia della musica rock: 1954-1969 -1996 Page 563 "UGLY DUCKLINGS (CAN) 1966 Massimi esponenti della scena garage punk di Toronto, iniziano a suonare con il nome di Strolling Bones ma dopo pochi concerti ... Ugly Ducklings originali pubblicano un onesto album rock, OFF THE WALL."

External links[edit]