Pop Archives

Grandma’s Tonic - Hi Hi Hazel (1966)

(Bill Martin - Phil Coulter)
Australia Australia
#36 Brisbane #23 Perth

Released October 1966, charted January 1967.

Vocals on this record are by Melbourne singer Peter Doyle (1949-2001) who recorded with Grandma's Tonic for a while in the late 60s. He joined The Virgil Brothers in 1968 and The New Seekers in 1970. See also Peter DoyleStupidity.

References: Chris Spencer et al, Australian Rock Discography; Gavin Ryan's chart book for Brisbane; Milesago's Peter Doyle page; and the comprehensive and highly recommended PeterDoyleWebsite.net.
Thanks to Gwyneth.
Further reading: Wikipedia entry on Peter Doyle.

Geno Washington And The Ram Jam Band - Hi Hi Hazel (1966)

(Bill Martin - Phil Coulter)
Original version
#45 UK

Single on Piccadilly label, entered the charts 21 July 1966.

Hi Hi Hazel's writers, Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, collaborated on numerous hit songs, including Puppet On A String, Surround Yourself With Sorrow and Congratulations. They also wrote Kiss Me Now, a hit in Australia for Johnny Young. Bill Martin himself tells the full story, and lists many of his well-known compositions, at BillMartinSongwriter.com.

Of all my songs this is in the top 3. – Bill Martin (email)

Geno Washington, a highly regarded American soul singer, was a serviceman who stayed in the UK after his tour of duty there. He joined British R&B/soul big band The Ram Jam Band in 1965. According to John Bush (All Music Guide), Washington had the grit of a deep soul testifier like Wilson Pickett or Don Covay.

Geno Washington And The Ram Jam Band had four charting singles in the UK from mid-1966 till early 1967: Water (#39), Hi Hi Hazel (#45), Que Sera Sera (#43) and Michael (#39).

British band Dexy's Midnight Runners had a hit in 1980 with Geno, their tribute to Geno Washington.

Further reading: 1. Geno Washington biography at All Music. 2. Geno Washington official Facebook page (still active March 2016) 3. Hi Hi Hazel versions listed at The Originals.

Not to be confused with Detroit R&B-soul singer Gino Washington.

Gary & The Hornets - Hi Hi Hazel (1966)

(Bill Martin - Phil Coulter)

Ohio band of kid brothers, surname Calvert, aged (at one stage) 7, 11 and 14. They released four singles on the Smash label 1966-68, including versions of There's A Kind Of Hush and Baby It's You.

Reference: Kids Rock 4 at Art of the Mix.
Further Reading: Conklin Guitars has a profile of one of the Hornets, Greg Calvert.
Skinny Robbie has a photo of The Hornets at his Wants page;

The Troggs - Hi Hi Hazel (1966)

(Bill Martin - Phil Coulter)
#42 UK #16 Adelaide #40 Perth

Influential version*

Although this didn't chart as a single until 1967, its first release had been a year earlier, in July 1966, on The Troggs' first album, From Nowhere… The Troggs, covering the recent release of Hi Hi Hazel by Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band.

The single of Hi Hi Hazel, released July 1967 on the Page One label, was one of several charting singles 1966-68 by British Invasion band from Hampshire led by Reg Presley.

The Troggs' first hit, Wild Thing (#2 UK, #1 USA), was by American songwriter Chip Taylor, but many of their following hits were originals by Reg Presley, including With A Girl Like You (#1 UK, #29 USA), I Can't Control Myself (#2 UK) and Love is All Around (#2 UK, #7 USA).

*It is reasonable to assume that Grandma's Tonic were covering The Troggs, whose version would have been better known in Australia than Geno Washington's original.

References: Alan Clayson & Jacqueline Ryan, Rocks Wild Things: The Troggs Files as cited by honeydhont (email); M. C. Strong, The Great Rock Discography.

Thanks to Gwyneth for setting me straight on the release date.