The Hardy Boys: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 3, 2022

436) The Hardy Boys — “Long, Long Way to Nashville”

“Nashville” is no bubblegum thing, it’s actually a really cool and sophisticated country/sunshine pop track from Wheels, the ’70 sophomore album by the Hardy Boys. Yes, the Hardy Boys! Greg Ehrbar writes that:

Everyone connected with Saturday morning television and the recording industry sat up and took notice when almost half the nation watched The Archie Show when it premiered in 1968 and the studio band fronted by Ron Dante as The Archies [had] albums and singles flying off the shelves. [T]he next task was to find ways to duplicate this astonishing success. For ABC, Filmation zeroed in on the popular Hardy Boys book series. . . . [and] came up with a solution to The Archies one business setback: since they were animated, they couldn’t tour. . . . At the time Ron Dante himself was forbidden to reveal his identity as the real-life singing voice of Archie. In the case of The Hardy Boys mystery-solving gang . . . there would be flesh-and-blood counterparts . . . that appeared in live-action music segments in conjunction with the cartoon versions. Problem solved! [T]he songs are catchy and entertaining, not at all a bland attempt to rip off the sound of The Archies. . . . [N]either [Wheels] nor the debut album were very successful. . . . The music is first-rate sunshine rock . . . . The main reason Filmations Hardy Boys series didn’t catch on . . . Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

https://cartoonresearch.com/index.php/filmations-the-hardy-boys-on-records/

Bob Koch adds that:

Due in part to the fact that The Monkees . . . rebelled and eventually took over their own career, producers began turning to actual cartoons when manufacturing new rock groups . . . . [with] usually uncredited studio singers and musicians. . . . While the real [Hardy Boys] band is pictured on the album covers . . , the fictional names were given credit. However, Frank and Joe Hardy were actually . . . Reed Kailing . . . and Jeff Taylor . . . . The rest of the lineup was put together by . . . Dunwich, legendary for excellent garage punk records during the company’s brief run as a record label. Though it’s likely the albums are largely performed by studio players, the assembled band were all musicians, and did do the singing and perform some live shows . . . . [O]verall the discs aren’t quite the strictly formulaic bubblegum as they’re usually tagged as. Many tracks were provided by the songwriting team of Ed Fournier and Ricky Sheldon, remembered best today for the “Fat Albert Theme[.]” Other songs are courtesy of writers such as Ellie Greenwich and Gary Loizzo of The American Breed. . . . The Wheels LP includes the classic b-gum sound . . . . [b]ut it also includes country tinged songs like . . . “Long, Long Way to Nashville” . . . .

https://isthmus.com/arts/vinyl-cave/vinyl-cave-here-come-the-hardy-boys-and-wheels-by-the-hardy-boys/

“As I turn the key behind me and was all I cared to do. When you spend your life in one place you got reasons to be free. So with nothing more than big dreams, I just set out on my own. It’s a long, long way from Nashville and the place that I call home. I had heard in California that streets were paved with gold, but I came to fields of concrete all dark and grey and cold. Still the wheels just kept on turning down the highways of my mind. It’s a long, long way from Nashville and the dreams I hoped to find. Sometimes I catch myself just looking back. That’s so much easier in Nashville. Got a girl in San Francisco, trying to find what she had lost. But she burned the bridge behind her and I couldn’t get across. Going back would not be easy when you’re going back alone. It’s a long, long way to Nashville, but I’m finally going home. . . .”

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