Brute Force (musician)
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Stephen Friedland (born September 29, 1940), known as Brute Force ® , is an American singer and songwriter. He wrote and performed with The Tokens in the 1960s and wrote songs for Peggy March, Del Shannon, The Chiffons and The Cyrkle, and others.
He wrote and recorded the LP I, Brute Force – Confections of Love for Columbia Records in 1967. One song on the album, "No Olympian Height", was covered by The Other Voices (produced by Ellie Greenwich and Mike Rashkow) and released on Atlantic Records in 1968. He also recorded and released the album Extemporaneous on BT Puppy Records in 1970. Original copies of this album are scarce and it is now a very collectible disc.
In July 1968 he and friend, Ben Schlossberg Jr., participated in an expedition to swim from Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska to Siberia, 50 miles across the Bering Strait. They made it halfway, stopping between Big Diomede and Little Diomede Islands.( Life Magazine, September 1968. The Scene/Wales, Alaska, Cold Swim From Here to Tuesday, by John Frook)
In 2010, Bar None Records reissued and released Brute Force's first solo album I, Brute Force – Confections of Love with bonus tracks not contained on the original 1967 vinyl edition. Brute Force's mind-busting single "The King of Fuh" was also included among songs by James Taylor, Badfinger, Mary Hopkin and others on Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records, released in October 2010.
Razor Films/Andrew Fuller producer has been in production of a documentary BRUTE FORCE about Friedland since 2010,( Ben Steinbauer, dir., Winnebago Man) with various screenings in the US and Europe.
"The King of Fuh"
Brute Force may be best known for a song that barely saw a release. "The King of Fuh", a song written by Friedland, produced by The Tokens, prominently including a double entendre, referring repeatedly to the Fuh King, a King in the Land of Fuh, The record was admired by Beatles George Harrison and John Lennon. Harrison acquired the track, produced by The Tokens in New York City, and overdubed 11 strings of the London Phiharmonic Orchestra, arranged by John Barham. After learning that partner EMI and Capitol in the USA would never distribute the single, Apple Records pressed and distributed 1,000 copies in 1969 (catalogue number Apple 08). John Lennon and Yoko visited Ken Mansfield, US manager of Apple Records, advocating its release in the USA, and called him a "tight a**ed censor..." for not agreeing to distribute the single, (pg 212, The Beatles, The Bible and Bodega Bay, by Mansfield). In the early 70s after the initial Apple pressing and release to friends and media, and no radio play, Friedland teamed up with Jeff Cheen and issued the record on Brute Force Records with an alternate B Side, "Tapeworm Of Love", in its original doo-wop version, which received airplay on the Dr. Demento radio show. More recently (2005), the Revola label issued both "King of Fuh" and its original B side ("Nobody Knows") as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of the BT Puppy Records Extemporaneous.There is a piano/voice rendition on Extemporaneous. In 2010, King of Fuh was released by Apple Records on their first "best of" compilation album, Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records. In 2012 the first cover of King of Fuh by the group Felonius Bosch was released on Omnium Records on the album Phenomena. The song also is on The Bar-None Records reissue of Columbia/Sony I, Brute Force, Confections of Love. and on RPM Records, Lovers From The Sky.
After leaving show business for a period of time and working as a paralegal, Friedland began performing in many comedy venues, and acted in the film Ghostbusters, appeared at a Beatlesfest in New Jersey, performing "King Of Fuh", and subsequently was interviewed by Brett Alan on a Beatles radio show on WNNJ radio, also in New Jersey.
Brute Force traveled to Los Angeles in 2001 to play the Scramarama festival at the historic Palace Theater downtown, and toured England in 2004 with Misty's Big Adventure, playing in Liverpool, Birmingham, London and Nottingham, plus a personal performance of a unique song to thoroughbred mare "Premier Bid" upon the occasion of her 30th birthday in Goole Fields. In honour of Brute Force, the horse's owners named a foal "Special Bru" after the singer in late 2004. He performed with his daughter Lilah, known as Daughter of Force, in the Truck Music Festival, UK.
In June 2006, The King of Fuh, a musical comedy, written by Friedland, was produced at the Players Club, New York City, with Brute Force himself as the King.
Brute Force continues to perform at venues in the 21st century. In 2015 he appeared briefly in the film Birdman, and plays The Director in the English version of the Enrique Iglesias/Nicky Jam music video, Forgiveness.
9/2015, Friedland returns to his birthplace, Jersey City, NJ, as the BRUTE FORCE documentary has a screening at the Golden Door Film Festival with a performance by Brute and Daughter of Force at Brightside Tavern.
- Kim Cooper; David Smay (8 July 2005). Lost in the Grooves: Scram's Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed. Routledge. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-135-87921-1.
- Jim Testa (August 17, 2015). "60s legend Brute Force to appear at Jersey City's Golden Door Film Festival". NJ.com. Retrieved 7 November 2015.