The Ron Hicklin Singers
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The Ron Hicklin Singers were a group of Los Angeles studio singers contracted and organized by Ron Hicklin. They are most famously known as the real singers behind the background vocals on The Partridge Family recordings.
In Los Angeles studio circles in the 1960s through 1980s, they were the vocal equivalent of (and often worked with) The Wrecking Crew, performing backup vocals on thousands of songs, TV and movie themes, and as lead – yet anonymous – singers on thousands of radio and television commercials.
The core group usually consisted of:
- Ron Hicklin, lead tenor
- Tom Bahler, tenor
- John Bahler, tenor
- Jackie Ward, alto
- Sally Stevens, soprano
- Gene Morford, bass
However, this core group was often augmented with other specialist vocalists such as:
- Thurl Ravenscroft, bass (voice of Kellogg's Tony the Tiger of Frosted Flakes cereal for 50 years)
- Mitch Gordon
- Jim Haas
- Andra Willis
- Linda Dangcil
Television and radio work
The group performed themes for major motion pictures in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s:
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, "South American Getaway" written Burt Bacharach
- Death Game, "Dear Old Dad" written by Jimmie Haskell with lyrics by Iris Rainer Dart
- The Mosquito Coast, "Saviour, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" written by William Batchelder Bradbury
The group also sang the themes for major hit-TV shows of the period:
- Love, American Style, with lead vocalist John Bahler (opening theme)
- That Girl, (season 5 opening)
- Happy Days, for which Hicklin himself sang lead (opening theme)
- Laverne & Shirley, along with lead vocalist Cyndi Grecco (opening theme)
- Wonder Woman, with John Bahler singing lead (season 2 opening)
- Angie, along with lead vocalist Maureen McGovern (opening theme)
In addition, they sang many commercial vocals, including campaigns for:
- Kawasaki ("Kawasaki, let the good times roll")
- Datsun ("Drive a Datsun, then decide")
- McDonald's ("You deserve a break today"), written by Kenny Karen
Radio and television station-ID jingle companies throughout the last four decades of the 20th century used the group in their productions, including:
- The Heller Corporation .
- JAM Creative Productions
- TM Productions (now known as TM Studios, a division of Dial Global Media) on syndicated-radio ID jingle packages including:
- Hot Hits
- The "You" campaign
- Good Feelings
Noteworthy recording work
The group also sang on recordings credited to:
- Anita Kerr Singers [Jackie Ward sang alto on the group's Dot Records recordings]
- Percy Faith Orchestra and Chorus
- Ray Conniff Singers
- Henry Mancini Orchestra and Chorus
- Gary Lewis & the Playboys
- Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
- Climax featuring Sonny Geraci
- Paul Revere & the Raiders
- The Brady Kids
- The Partridge Family
- Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps (1959 Crazy Times album)
Works of selected members
The Bahler Brothers can be heard performing tenor harmonies on:
- Hugo Montenegro's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme
- "MacArthur Park"
- "Suicide Is Painless", Johnny Mandel's theme to the 1970 film M*A*S*H, along with Ian Freebairn-Smith
Member Jackie Ward also had a hit on her own as Robin Ward with the 1963 hit "Wonderful Summer".
Where are they now?
This section is about an event or subject that may not be current but does not specify the time period.
Bahler's wife, Janet Lennon-Bahler of the Lennon Sisters, still tours in casinos and resorts around the country as part of an extensive nostalgia circuit, bringing music of the '40s and '50s to a new audience.
Tom Bahler, a long-time close associate of composer Quincy Jones as well as being associate producer and arranger of "We Are the World", lives in California's Santa Ynez Valley north of Los Angeles and continues to occasionally produce as well as record. He is also a songwriter of renown, having penned the Bobby Sherman hit "Julie, Do You Love Me" and Michael Jackson's "She's Out of My Life".
Ron Hicklin himself retired from the business in the mid-2000s, and lives in Palm Desert with his wife, Trudi.
- http://www.cmongethappy.com/interviews/tb/index.html An interview with Tom Bahler
- http://www.cmongethappy.com/interviews/jw/index.html An interview with Jackie Ward
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk8y4e27FZc 1974 Demonstration Reel
Performances on jingles and commercials