Musical palate cleanser, no hit wonders edition

The Remains were your classic ’60s American garage band, with a crazy resume that ended with a twist.

The resume:

The Remains formed in 1964 at Boston University, where all four members were first-year students living in the same dorm in Kenmore Square. Singer-guitarist Barry Tashian and keyboardist Bill Briggs were from Westport, Connecticut, drummer Chip Damiani from Wolcott, Connecticut, and bassist Vern Miller from Livingston, New Jersey. They began playing r&b and rock’n’roll covers, as well as some Tashian originals, at The Rathskeller, a tavern across the square from their dorm. Soon, fans were lining up from Kenmore Square to Fenway Park to see them, and management had to clear out a disused basement to accommodate the crowds.[1]

The band became a popular live act throughout New England and appeared on the CBS TV program The Ed Sullivan Christmas Show of 1965. After signing with Epic Records, they enjoyed local hits with a catchy, swinging Tashian original, “Why Do I Cry”, and their hard-driving version of the Bo Diddley/Willie Dixon classic “Diddy Wah Diddy“.[2] In 1965, the Remains relocated to New York City—where they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show—and then, after about a year, moved on to California.[2] They recorded an album, The Remains, appeared on NBC TV’s ‘Hullabaloo‘, and released the soulful, hard-rocking single “Don’t Look Back”.[3]

In 1966 came the opportunity which might have broken the band nationally, but proved instead to be their last hurrah: they were offered a three-week stint as an opening act for the Beatles, on what would turn out to be the Fab Four’s final tour.

So, in less than two years, they formed, became a regional fave, signed with a national label, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and opened for The Beatles.  Impressive, no?  So why haven’t you heard of them?

The band broke up in late 1966, and Epic released their self-titled debut album to little fanfare.

That’s it — they broke up and then their record was released.  A truly American success story.

Here’s their appearance on the Sullivan show.

And this is their first single, probably my favorite tune of theirs:

A garagier, live version of “Why Do I Cry”, in case you’re interested:

(FWIW, the only reason I know about ’em is because they had a song on Nuggets.)


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20 responses to “Musical palate cleanser, no hit wonders edition

  1. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    spoken with a thick liverpool accent “Hello this is the Beatles, would you like to be our opening band…”
    one can only imagine the feeling of being on the receiving end of that phone call.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. J.R. Clark

    “Hello this is The Beatles, would you like to be our temporary drummer?”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The song remains the same.


  4. cowetadawg

    Good stuff, there. Though bands come and go, I’m really surprised that was the end of their story. I wonder if any of them wound up in other groups, especially Tashian?


  5. Never heard of them before, but interesting back story – Wikipedia suggests they actually went on tour with the Beatles but because the original drummer quit right before the tour, their performance was lackluster and lead to their breakup


  6. Salty Dawg

    Are we not going to talk about the GoGo girls? Come on! That was hot stuff back then!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    When The Beatles came to Atlanta The Atlanta Vibrations opened. I only know because my wife went and for her it was a 2-fer: she was also a fan of the Vibrations. They had a really talented guitarist whose first name was Spencer, and I think his last name was Fitzpatrick. The ticket stub she had showed the price as $6.00.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      His name was Kirkpatrick.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Muttley

        A recording of the Beatles’ Atlanta show surfaced in the nineties and is now considered their best-recorded performance. Lennon even remarks that he can actually hear himself. They tried to hire the Atlanta sound man and he turned them down.

        The recording misses “Long Tally Sally”, I think, due to a reel change. Within that same few days they were also very well-recorded at Sam Houston Coliseum (sp.?), two shows, in Texas, and filmed at Shea Stadium. They also played that week in Toronto, which an old girlfriend of mine (older than me) sneaked out of the house and attended as a nine-year old!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Muttley

    I’ve always known them as “Barry and the Remains” (wordplay. obviously intended). A collection of their work was released in the early nineties and was noted at the time (and apparently still) for the outstanding quality of the source tapes. Anyway, I read their story then and have given out their music as gifts and put people onto them since.

    Another band on that Beatles tour, I think, was the Cyrkle- (named by Lennon)- another band whose entire output fits comfortably on a single disc. Ditto the Left Banke, a big favorite of mine.

    If you go for this rawer sound make SURE you delve into the incredible Bobby Fuller Four, a fantastic band who also ground to a halt in 1966 when Fuller was murdered about a hundred yards from where Janis Joplin later died. Look up “Never To Be Forgotten”, “Love’s Made a Fool of You” (Holly cover) and “Let Her Dance”. Thank me later.


  9. We covered “Don’t Look Back” in the early years of The Woggles – that middle breakdown part is fantastic! I never knew what had happened to them – thanks for the education