Pop Archives

John Rowles - M’Lady (1968)

(Steve Karliski)
New Zealand (recorded in UK)New Zealand (recorded in UK) New Zealand (recorded in UK)
#1 NZ

Single on CBS (NZ), charted May 1969.

Released in the UK on MCA, November 1968, B-side of Say Goodbye. Produced by Mike Leander.

From the late 60s, singer-songwriter-guitarist John Rowles (b.1947) became one of New Zealand's most successful musical exports and a big star at home over several decades.

Rowles moved to Australia in 1963, performing with compatriot Eddie Low in Melbourne before they both joined Sydney band The Dingdongers. In 1966 he appeared solo on TV talent show New Faces (Australia) billed as "The Secret" and subsequently released three singles on Kommotion, Sunshine and CBS in 1966-67 using the alias Ja-Ar.

It wasn't until 1968, though, that his career took off after he moved to London, reverted to John Rowles, and recorded two hit records under the major British producer-arranger Mike Leander.

Appealing to fans of easy listening, romantic songs that had made Engelbert Humperdink a star the previous year, If I Only Had Time (#3 UK, #2 NZ) was an English-language version of French singer Michel Fugain's Je n'aurai pas le temps (1967). Hush, Not A Word To Mary (#12 UK, #9 NZ) was by top British songwriters Mitch Murray & Pete Callander. Both songs also did well on the Australian charts.

Rowles had several more charting singles in New Zealand and in parts of Australia, including an original song written with Nat KipnerCheryl Moana Marie (1970), which also had some success on the US charts early in 1971 (#1 NZ, #9 Sydney, #18 Melbourne, #22 Brisbane, #4 Perth, #64 Billboard, #78 Cash Box).

The singles charts tell only part of the story: follow the links below for more details of Rowles's career.

References, further reading:
1. Bruce Sergent's John Rowles history.
2. [John] Rowles and [Eddie] Low reunite, Howick and Pakuranga Times, 23 April 2009.
3. John Rowles pages at Showcase Entertainment Group.

See also:
The Independent's obituary for Mike Leander (1941-1996).

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - M’Lady (1968)

(Steve Karliski)
Original version

On album Woman, Woman, January 1968, produced by Jerry Fuller.

Written by Steve Karliski (1940-2007), a prolific Canadian songwriter – also a singer – who worked in the US. His compositions include Bobby Goldsboro's Molly (1962), a country hit for Eddy Arnold in 1964; and For Loving You, first recorded by Ted Cooper (1966) but successful on the country charts by Bill Anderson & Jan Howard (1967) and by Skeeter Davis & Don Bowman (1968).

When singer Gary Puckett (b.1942) joined The Union Gap they were The Outcasts, an established heavy rock band from San Diego. They were signed by CBS producer Jerry Fuller and softened their sound for four Top 10 hits, 1967-68, all produced by Fuller. Their first hit, Woman, Woman (1967, #4 USA) was a cover of a 1967 record by Nashville singer-songwriter Jimmy Payne who wrote it with Jim Glaser. After that, Fuller also wrote the songs: Young Girl (1968, #2), Lady Willpower (1968, #2) and Over You (1968, #7). Their last charting single was This Girl Is A Woman Now (#9, 1969), produced by Dick Glasser after they'd split with Fuller.

For more on Jerry Fuller, see Lazy Susan by Mr George at this site.

References, further reading:
1. Gary Puckett biography by Jason Ankeny at All Music.
2. The Official Gary Puckett Website.
3. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap at Wikipedia.
4. SteveKarliski.com home page (brief bio; site under construction).
5. Steve Karliski at Canadian Pop Encyclopedia.
6. Lists of Jerry Fuller's songwriting and producing credits (Internet Archive pages).

Jean Nichol - M’Lady (1970)

(Steve Karliski - Jean Nichol)
Canada Canada
Later version

Single on Nobel NL-5605, B-side of Regarde Sous Ton Balcon, also on album Jean Nichol sur scène, by Québécois singer (b.1944). Born Louis Simoneau, he also performed as Maximus before changing his name to Jean Nichol in the late 60s. This is presumably a French-language version with lyrics by Nichol.

Further reading: Jean Nichol’s site officiel.

Kenny Karen - M’Lady (1969)

(Steve Karliski)
Later version

Single on ABC by New York singer-songwriter Kenny Karen (b. Chaim Teicher, 1944), a prolific composer and recording artist, originally from Montreal. His career has included demos for major artists, thousands of jingles, and album releases under his own name.

In 1964, using the name Mark Thatcher (no connection with the British PM’s son), Kenny Karen released the demo version of Do The Blue Beat, later a hit for New Zealand’s Dinah Lee (1964).

Further reading:
1. KennyKaren.com
2. Chuck Benjamin’s post about Sixteen Years Ago Tonight, Kenny Karen’s 1962 Columbia single.
3. Update on the career of Mark Thatcher, The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, March 19, 1965: Columbia Record’s new singing star Mark Thatcher, better known in Montreal as Chaim Teicher… [Google News Archive]

Thanks to Mark Barkan, Phil Milstein and Davie Gordon.