Vanilla Fudge is an American rock band known predominantly for their psychedelic renditions of popular songs. The band's original lineup—vocalist/organist Mark Stein, bassist/vocalist Tim Bogert, lead guitarist/vocalist Vince Martell, and drummer/vocalist Carmine Appice—recorded five albums during the years 1966–69, before disbanding in 1970. The band has reunited in various configurations over the years, and is currently operating with three of the four original members, Mark Stein, Vince Martell, and Carmine Appice with Pete Bremy on bass for Tim Bogert who has retired from touring. The band has been cited as "one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal".
Stein and Bogert played in a local band called Rick Martin & The Showmen. The pair were so impressed by the swinging sound and floods of organ of The Rascals they decided to form their own band with Martell and Rick Martin's drummer, Joey Brennan. Originally calling themselves The Pigeons, they changed the name to Vanilla Fudge in 1966, after the replacement of Brennan by Appice. The group was then "discovered" and managed by reputed Lucchese crime family member Phillip Basile, who operated several popular clubs in New York. Led Zeppelin, then an emerging band, was the opening act on their American tour.
The band's biggest hit was its cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On", a slowed-down, hard rocking version of a song originally recorded by The Supremes. This version featured Stein's psychedelic-baroque organ intro and Appice's energetic drumming.
The members of Vanilla Fudge were great admirers of The Beatles, and covered several of their songs including "Ticket to Ride" and "Eleanor Rigby". The self-titled debut album quotes "Strawberry Fields Forever" at the end, with the line "there's nothing to get hung about".
Breakup and reunions
On March 14, 1970, Vanilla Fudge played a farewell concert at the Phil Basille's Action House. After that, Bogert & Appice departed to form another group, Cactus (In 1972, they left Cactus and formed Beck, Bogert & Appice with guitarist Jeff Beck). Stein, left on his own, tried to keep the group going with two new players, Sal D'Nofrio (bass) and Jimmy Galluzi (drums) (both of whom had been members of a Poughkeepsie, New York group known as 'Dino & The Cavemen'). But when nothing came from this, Stein ended up forming a new group, Boomerang, instead with Galluzi.
A recording of the Pigeons was released in Germany in 1973 under the title of 'While the World was Eating Vanilla Fudge'.
Following the band's breakup in 1970, the band has reunited several times. In 1982, they reunited in support of the Atco Records release, Best of Vanilla Fudge. This resulted in another album of fresh material in 1984 called Mystery. Martell was not included in this initial reunion and Ron Mancuso played guitar on Mystery instead, along with Jeff Beck, who guested under the moniker "J. Toad". Two reunion tours followed in 1987/1988. with Paul Hanson on guitar. Lanny Cordola was guitarist when the band took the stage on May 14, 1988 for the Atlantic Records' 40th Anniversary Celebration. After that, the individual members went their separate ways once again to pursue other projects.
In 1991 Appice revived the Vanilla Fudge name for a tour with former Ted Nugent's player Derek St. Holmes (guitar, vocals), Martin Gerschwitz (keyboards, vocals) and Tom Croucier (bass, vocals), which resulted in the album The Best of Vanilla Fudge – Live.
Then, in 1999, three of the originals (Appice, Bogert & Martell) reunited with vocalist/organist Bill Pascali replacing Mark Stein to record a "greatest hits" album, Vanilla Fudge 2001/ The Return / Then And Now, with all new recordings of previous songs and three new songs. 2002 had bassists Pete Bremy and T.M. Stevens subbing on bass for an ill Bogert and 2003 saw a release of Vanilla Fudge's live album, The Real Deal – Vanilla Fudge Live, recorded on tour in 1987 with Paul Hanson on guitar. Martell overdubbed his guitar and vocals later. In 2003-2005, the group toured with Teddy Rondinelli standing in on guitar for Martell.
In 2005 Vanilla Fudge reformed with all the original members for a tour with members of The Doors (now touring as Riders On The Storm) and Steppenwolf, or in some areas The Yardbirds. Pascali returned in place of Stein for some 2005 and 2006 shows before leaving to join the New Rascals.
They were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on October 15, 2006, along with Billy Joel and Joan Jett. Fellow Long Islander Felix Cavaliere inducted them into the hall.
In the summer of 2007 HBO's final episode of The Sopranos featured "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (this version included Pascali's lead vocals) as a theme for their cliff hanger, it was a featured soundtrack in three places of the episode.
The band then went back into the studio to record Out Through the In Door, a Led Zeppelin cover album released in 2007 only in Europe. Also, the band (Stein & Martell with Steve Argy on bass and Jimmyjack Tamburo on drums) performed "You Keep Me Hangin' On" for the PBS fundraising program My Music: My Generation – The '60s for the March 2008 pledge drive.
Their rendition of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" was featured in the 2007 film Zodiac.
In March 2008 the original lineup of Vanilla Fudge embarked on a tour of the United States (mostly in New England). But in the summer of that year, Bogert & Appice left to concentrate on Cactus (which they had reformed in 2006). Stein and Martell continued on in 2008 and 2009 as Mark Stein & Vince Martell of Vanilla Fudge with a tour that was called "Let's Pray For Peace" with Jimmyjack Tamburo on drums and Pete Bremy returning on bass. Out Through the In Door was released in the US in 2008. Stein and Martell also performed shows during this period with another rhythm section composed of Steve Argy (bass) and Jimmyjack Tamburo (drums).
In the spring of 2011, Vanilla Fudge embarked on what was announced as their farewell tour. The lineup for the tour was: Carmine Appice, Mark Stein, Vince Martell and Pete Bremy (bass). On March 29, 2011, the band appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and performed "You Keep Me Hangin' On". This lineup continued to tour throughout 2011 and in February, 2012, with The Yardbirds. As of 2013, Vanilla Fudge is still performing concerts regularly.
Collections and live albums
- Best of Vanilla Fudge (1982)
- The Best of Vanilla Fudge – Live (1991)
- Psychedelic Sundae – The Best of Vanilla Fudge (1993)
- The Return – Live in Germany Part 1 (2003)
- The Real Deal – Vanilla Fudge Live (2003)
- Rocks the Universe – Live in Germany Part 2 (2003)
- Good Good Rockin' – Live at Rockpalast (2007)
- Orchestral Fudge (live) (2008)
- When Two Worlds Collide (live) (2008)
- Box of Fudge – Rhino Handmade (2010)
- Borthwick, Stuart; Moy, Ron (2004). Popular Music Genres: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University. ISBN 0-7486-1745-0.
- Rees, Dafydd; Crampton, Luke (1989). Rock Movers & Shakers (1st. ed). Billboard Publishing. ISBN 0-8230-7609-1.
- "MusicMight". MusicMight – The World's Biggest Rock Resource On The Web. Retrieved September 30, 2006.
- "Official Homepage". Official Homepage. Retrieved September 30, 2006.
- "Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n Roll". L.I. Pulser – The World's Biggest Rock Resource On The Web.
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Image from Discogs