New England (band)

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New England is an American rock band that was mainly active from 1978-1982. The group is best known in the US for their first single, "Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya", which received heavy radio exposure on Album-oriented rock (AOR) stations and reached #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1979. The follow up "Hello, Hello, Hello" also received some airplay. New England described their sound as "power-melodic-googang-song-oriented rock"[1]

History[edit]

New England started their career as Carot Time Cornucopia and soon thereafter renamed themselves The Fossils, playing a mixture of "jazz funk and progressive music, kind of like everyone in mid 1970s".[2] When they were discovered in a Boston area bar by former DJ Eugene "The Friskman" Frisky, their first professional manager, he suggested they rename themselves New England. They subsequently toured locally under that name. About a year later, it was discovered that there was already a band with the name New England, so the band called themselves Newer England for several months. The band New England filed suit over this name, claiming it could lead to confusion, and Newer England became, for a brief time, Newer England's Newest Hitmakers—a reference to the Rolling Stones, whose songs formed a liberal part of their live playlist at the time. When the band finally signed to a major label, their manager at the time negotiated with the other band with the name New England, and Newer England's Newest Hitmakers became New England. The name New England was used for the remainder of the band's existence.

Career[edit]

John Fannon, Jimmy Waldo, Gary Shea and Hirsh Gardner formed the band in the Boston area. They were discovered by Kiss manager Bill Aucoin. Paul Stanley helped the band record and produce their self-titled debut album, along with producer Mike Stone, known for his work with Queen and Asia among many others. The group went on tour in support of Kiss, but New England slid between the cracks of other Aucoin projects. The group's success stalled when their record label Infinity Records failed and was absorbed by its parent company, MCA Records in 1980.

The group moved to Elektra Records for their second album, Explorer Suite. That album garnered little commercial notice. The title track was released as a single, with management at their label Elektra hoping for interest in an unconventional extended pop song, similar to what they had witnessed a few years earlier for their labelmates Queen with the song "Bohemian Rhapsody". However, the songs "Living In The Eighties" and "Converstation" received more airplay than did the intended single. "Explorer Suite" has since become a sought after CD by AOR fans.[citation needed]

Todd Rundgren's production on the slightly harder-rocking third album, Walking Wild, did not improve sales. New England then dissolved with Gary Shea and Jimmy Waldo joining the band Alcatrazz.

Around late 1980, their debut album started to demonstrate unexpected sales as an import in the country of Tuvalu. A track from that album, "P.U.N.K. (Puny Undernourished Kid)", was used in a local UNICEF-sponsored campaign for hunger relief and started to get significant airplay. The song eventually reached #2 on the Tuvalu top 40, and the album hit #4, all as an import. Despite requests, MCA (who had by that point dropped the band) refused to license the album for reissue, and all sales were through import of cutouts from the USA. With no promotion from the label, the band was not able to capitalize on this unexpected success.

After the break-up, all of the members remained in the music industry. In late 2002, New England reunited to record "More Than You'll Ever Know", a song from the Hirsh Gardner solo album entitled Wasteland For Broken Hearts. It marked the first time the group recorded together in 20 years. In recent years, the band has reunited for a few live shows in the Boston area. Gary and Jimmy guest appearances at various musical instrument conventions such as the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show in places like Anaheim, California.

The reissue label Renaissance Records released a CD version of the first album. GB Records released the other two albums on CD, plus a live album and an album of early recording studio/studio sound recordings and reproduction/recordings made before the debut album.

In 2009, Wounded Bird Records reissued Explorer Suite and Walking Wild on CD.

In additional to his contributions to the band New England, Jimmy Waldo is perhaps best known as being the model for the titular character in Where's Waldo.

Reunion[edit]

While occasionally doing single reunion shows for charity, in May 2014 John Fannon discussed New England having new studio work and a possible full tour for 2015 during his solo appearance on the Concert TV series, On Stage with Mantis. A new single was released by the band in April 2015 titled "I Know There's Something There" along with the b-side being a re-record of "Conversation" a song taken from the band's second album "Explorer Suite".

Discography[edit]

Year Album Billboard Top 200
1979 New England 50
1980 Explorer Suite -
1981 Walking Wild 176

Singles[edit]

Date Title US
05/1979 Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya 40
09/1979 Hello, Hello, Hello/ Encore 69
1979 P.U.N.Y/ Shoot (green vinyl) INF 110 -
1980 DDT/Elevator w/ pic sleeve -
04/2015 I Know There's Something There -

Promotional Releases[edit]

1979 Live Concert Series (6 cuts) 12" Infinity L33-1023

1979 Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya /same (3:28/5:22) 12" Infinity L33-1009

1979 Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya /same (3:28/5:22) 7" Infinity INF-50,013

1979 Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya /Shoot (Picture Disc) issued with various b-side adverts 7" Infinity

1979 Hello Hello Hello /same (3:20/3:20) 7" Infinity INF-50,021

1979 Hello Hello Hello (3:20/3:34) 12" Infinity L33-1018

1980 Explorer Suite (4:25/6:44) 12" Elektra AS-11473

1980 Explorer Suite (4:25/6:44) 7" Elektra E-47075

1980 Livin' In The Eighties (3:24) mono/stereo Elektra E-47106

1980 DDT /same (3:01) mono/stereo Elektra E-47155

1980 Don't Ever Let Me Go /same (3:41) mono/stereo Elektra E-47205

Personnel[edit]

  • John Fannon: guitar, vocals
  • Jimmy Waldo: keyboards, vocals
  • Hirsh Gardner: drums, vocals
  • Gary Shea: bass

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kaminski, Adam. "New England, Old Sound". Sound of Boston. Sound of Boston. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Ginokozki, Ginnie (September 1997). "What a long dead trip it's been: The rise and mostly fall of New England". AOR Tipsheet.