Thomas and Richard Frost — “Open Up Your Heart”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 29, 2022


595) Thomas and Richard Frost — “Open Up Your Heart”

This ’70 A-side is glorious pop/rock with a yummy bubblegum flavor, by Thomas and Richard Frost (actually Thomas and Richard Martin). The Frosts recorded one of the greatest “lost” album of the ’60’s, the psychedelic classic Visualize (see #209, 211, 247, 385). “Open Up Your Heart” was to be their final shot at ’60’s glory. Alec Palao says that “[l]istening to tracks like ‘Open Up Your Heart’ . . . recalls the simple joys of commercial pop at the dawn of the 1970s. Uncomplicated, fun, yet eminently memorable” and that “[t]he unreleased album Visualize . . . taken with its attendant singles “Hello Stranger” and “Open Up Your Heart”, is a sparkling and heartwarming gem of late 1960s pop”. ( Patrick says “I love [bubble]gummy tunes like Open Up Your Heart . . . . [with its] soaring strings and melody.” (

Richard Frost recalls that:

Tom and I didn’t write “Open Up Your Heart.” It was our last single for [Liberty/UA] . . . but we always felt that [it] was the best thing we recorded during our time there. . . . We had a meeting with A&R man Billy Roberts at . . . Liberty Records . . . . Our intention was to ask for release from our contract. At the time, Liberty/UA was shedding itself of the old Imperial label . . . . [and] restructuring and downsizing its artist roster. Before accepting our offer to leave, Billy asked if we would be interested in giving it one more shot. He asked us to listen to an acetate demo of a song he just received from England. As we listened, we were convinced that this was an exceptional song with the makings of a hit. So, we agreed to do the recording on the Liberty label. . . . We were very disappointed to learn that due to all of the changes going on within the company, the record was simply left to flounder. This forever closed the door to our relationship with Liberty/UA.

liner notes to the Visualize CD.

Palao gives some more background:

[T]he thundering mod sound of the Martins power trio Powder; whose own LP, recorded while the group was based in Los Angeles and employed as Sonny & Cher’s road band, remained frustratingly unissued, and indeed acted as a precursor to the creation of the masterpiece [Visualize]. [A]fter the Powder debacle, the Martins returned to northern California to lick their wounds and demo some more introspective material. . . . [Their] innate . . . pop sensibility lingered in new compositions like “She’s Got Love” [see #211]. It was to be the latter tune that caught the ear of promo man John Antoon, who signed the Martins to his . . . publishing imprint, assumed managerial duties and got the duo signed to Imperial Records under the nom de disque Thomas & Richard Frost. As a single, the simple, catchy “She’s Got Love” was to achieve a modicum of success as a turntable hit, reaching only the lower half of the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1969, but with strong regional airplay across the country, upon the back of which the Frosts were able to tour. Back in LA, Rich and Tom made the scene with their pals Rodney Bingenheimer and Frank Zinn, enjoying a brief but eye-opening spell as bona fide pop stars. Plans were big for the Frosts, with a full, lavishly orchestrated, album release, but it was all to fall apart as the follow-up singles stiffed and parent label Liberty/UA decided to wind down Imperial.

The proceedings are imbued with the Zeitgeist of Los Angeles in its last throes of pop innocence, and the Martins heart-on-their-sleeve Anglophilic sensitivity is less derivative then remarkably refreshing, with superbly recorded arrangements that any late 1960s pop fan will cherish.

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