The Peppermint Rainbow — “Pink Lemonade”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 24, 2022


591) The Peppermint Rainbow — “Pink Lemonade”

Sunshine pop from Charm City by a band originally named the New York Times?! Yes, a wonderful ‘68 sunshine single from Baltimore protégés of Mama Cass. Wow, could they sing.

J. Scott McClintock says that:

Baltimore’s Peppermint Rainbow . . . . excelled at soaring vocal harmony work, with Bonnie Lamdin (later Phipps) helming most of the leads . . . . [I]ts first single, “Walking in Different Circles” b/w “Pink Lemonade,” . . . failed to chart but their next single . . . “Will You Be Staying After Sunday,” was a hit. Overnight, the bandmembers went from sharing bologna sandwiches to playing alongside acts like the 5th Dimension and Sly & the Family Stone as well as appearing on numerous television shows. Subsequent singles charted admirably, but their only LP release . . . never cracked the Billboard Top 100. By 1970, the group had dissolved . . . .

Mark Deming adds that:

Paul Leka, the producer responsible for the Lemon Pipers’ “Green Tambourine,” was the man behind the controls for the Peppermint Rainbow’s recordings, and his talent for top-shelf sunshine pop with just a hint of psychedelia is very much in evidence here; the group’s two hit singles, “Will You Be Staying After Sunday” and “Don’t Wake Me Up in the Morning, Michael,” boast splendid harmonies and rich, dynamic arrangements that buoy the arrangements with strings, horns, and well-punctuated drumming. . . . “Pink Lemonade” was the group’s first single and should have enjoyed the same success as its siblings . . . .

Bonnie Landon reminisces:

I used to sing at hootenannies with my brother and sister at our church . . . . About that time, we ran across a group of guys who had their own band. They said they needed a female voice or two, so we formed a group that our first manager named The New York Times. I’m not sure why he chose that name . . . . We were in DC one night, playing at a place across the street from where Cass Elliott was performing with The Mugwumps – her band before she joined the Mamas & the Papas. Cass came over and joined us onstage for a medley of Mamas & Papas songs. After we were done, she said, ‘I’m going to get you a contract.’ Twenty-four hours later, we were contacted by Decca Records. A few days later, we did a gig in New York and within a week or two we got signed. We also got a new agent, who said The New York Times wasn’t gonna work, so she came up with the name The Peppermint Rainbow because Bubblegum music was so big at the time. We really didn’t sound like a Bubblegum band, though, when we performed. We did funky music and had one guy who was great doing soul, so we did a little bit of everything. . . . Our record label hooked us up with our producer, Paul Leka. . . . [who] was classically trained and . . . wonderful. If you listen closely to the music, you can hear that we had a full orchestra behind us on nearly every song. Our first song, “Walking in Different Circles”, did relatively well. Then came Will You Be Staying After Sunday”. . . . That was the song that really took off. [It would sell more than one million records and allowed them to tour for two years. Then w]e had a difficult situation where we found out our manager wasn’t paying us our entire share, so we became disillusioned. Then I got married, and that was the final nail in the coffin.

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