Richard and the Young Lions

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Richard and the Young Lions was an American garage rock band from Newark, New Jersey.


The Young Lions originally called themselves The Emeralds. When Richard Tepp joined the band the group changed their name to The Original Kounts. After being discovered by Larry Brown, (a.k.a. L. Russell Brown) and Ray Bloodworth and joining Bob Crewe Productions, the name was changed to Richard and the Young Lions.

The core of the group consisted of Tepp (lead vocals and tambourine), Bob Freedman (rhythm guitar and vocals), Marc Lees (lead guitar and vocals), Norm Cohen (drums), Ricky Rackin (guitar and bass guitar), and Jerry Raff (piano).

They were a one-hit wonder with their song "Open Up Your Door". That song was the first ever recorded using an African hair drum and a fuzz bass.[citation needed] It reached No. 1 in Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Elyria, Ohio; and Salt Lake City, Utah; No. 2 in Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada; No. 3 in Tucson, Arizona; and the Top 10 in many other cities in the US and Canada. Nationally, it peaked at No. 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 24, 1966 and No. 91 on the Record World Top 100 Pops chart on October 8, 1966. The corresponding Cash Box listing was at No. 70 on October 22, 1966.

The band made several television appearances including The Hy Lit Show and The Jerry Blavat Show out of Philadelphia, PA. They also appeared in the Detroit market on Robin Seymour's Swingin' Time show, out of Windsor, Ontario. A video of that appearance on Swingin' Time has survived to this day and can be found on line. And the band also made two appearances on the Upbeat TV show out of Cleveland, OH, hosted by Don Webster.

Their follow-up releases failed to generate sufficient sales to reach the charts.

Band membership[edit]

  • Current members:
    The Twig
    Lou Vlahakes
    Fred Randall
    Rick Robinson
    Mike Fornatale
  • Past members:
    Bob Freedman
    Marc Lees
    Norm Cohen
    Ricky Rackin
    Jerry Raff
    Eric Rackin
    Lawrence Smith
    Shelly Riff
  • Richard Tepp died of leukemia in 2004.


A documentary on the band was produced in 2004, entitled Out of Our Dens: The Richard and the Young Lions Story[1] by James Hannon and Leon Leybs, and narrated by preeminent radio personality Pat St. John. It featured the group's history from their early days to their reunion shows in the early 2000s.

Cover versions[edit]

The Invaders, a punk group featuring the original singer from The Sonics, recorded a cover version of "Open up Your Door" (retitled "Open up Yer Door") in 1979. The Romantics, a hit pop group from the 1980s, recorded the same song, which appeared on their album, In Heat, and on two of their live albums. "Open Up Your Door" has also been covered by; Bill Kennedy's Showtime, The Raving Mojos, The Demolition Doll Rods, The Flakes, The Goldstars, The Hunchmen, The Stance, and The Future Primitives. And their song, "You Can Make It" was covered by Las Membranas.



  • "Open Up Your Door" / "Once upon Your Smile": Philips 40381 (1966) (both US and Canadian pressings)
  • "Nasty" / "Lost and Found": Philips 40414 (1966) (both US and Canadian pressings)
  • "You Can Make It" / "To Have and to Hold": Philips 40438 (1967) (both US and Canadian pressings)

Compilation albums[edit]


External links[edit]