For fans of easy listening, bubblegum, middle of the road pop or any other non-rock retro-kitsch genre, the Going Thing is sure to be grail. They are a classic example of how the "youth market" was packaged to non-youths of the late 60s. The group offers all the energy and sex appeal of "the in sound" with none of the messy commitment. The records are packed with rock and roll medleys as soothing to the over-the-hill crowd as they are insulting to rock fans. They've got hits of the day with new lyrics written especially for Ford Motors employees. They've got trite jokes about this crazy loud music all the kids are listening to these days. The whole affair is served up with the kind of infectious super-square showbiz glitz that I'm always on the lookout for.
I first discovered the group about ten years ago when I found their first album, "The Going Thing 1969" in a thrift store. I also found their second album, "Christmas With The Going Thing," in a thrift store. I acquired their opus, "The Going Thing 1970," in a trade. All told, I probably spent less than five dollars on their catalog. Imagine my amusement at finding these albums for sale on eBay for a hundred bucks a copy -- even the Christmas one! And despite their top-shelf kitsch appeal, they don't seen to have made the rounds on any of the share blogs. Hopefully, the RapidShare link at the bottom of this post will help rectify the situation.
The core of the Going Thing was the writing/arranging/producing/performing team of brothers John and Tom Bahler. In the late 60s and early 70s, these guys were everywhere. They sang with Percy Faith, Anita Kerr and Hugo Montenegro. They supplied Raiders for Paul Revere and a Union Gap for Gary Puckett. They fixed vocals for The Monkees, Bobby Sherman and The Kids From The Brady Bunch. They "were" the Partridge Family (except for Keith). They appeared on the backs of cereal boxes and in the cartoons as such post-Archies groups as The Sugar Bears and Pebbles and Bamm Bamm's Bedrock Rockers. They sang the theme to "Love American Style" and wrote lots of commercial jingles. They also released three albums with their own group, The Love Generation.
It was in the waning days of that project when the Bahlers signed on with advertising agency J. Walter Thompson to help organize a rock oriented campaign for Ford Motors. Designed to sell the the 1969 Ford line, The Going Thing -- with their good looks and "youthful" outlook -- appealed both to young consumers and dirty old franchise owners. They appeared in television commercials, performed at dealers conventions and recorded these three promotional giveaway albums.
Along with the Bahlers, the group also included guitarist Larry Carlton and singer Janis Hansen, who sang the lead vocal on the Sergio Mendez hit "The Look Of Love." The group also very nearly included a young Karen and Richard Carpenter. At the last minute, they begged off to sign with A&M Records instead, thus reportedly foregoing a salary of fifty grand a year each and a couple of new Mustangs.
Like most ace studio session people, the Bahlers are mostly unknown to the general public. But there's a great interview with Tom over at the "C'mon Get Happy" Partridge Family Tribute site, and some fan pages of Bahlerana on a site called -- appropriately enough -- The Bahler Pages. There's also some video of The Going Thing in the LOVEfords Web site's video library. And if that's not enough, you can catch the Bahlers' current work with the New Lawrence Welk Orchestra at the Champagne Theatre-Welk Resort in Branson, Missouri!