Vanilla FudgeRock | 2006
In 1965, Long Island’s Vanilla Fudge began as a blue-eyed soul cover band called the Electric Pigeons (later shortened to “The Pigeons”). Organist Mark Stein, bassist Tim Bogert, drummer Joey Brennan, and guitarist Vince Martell built a following gigging extensively up and down the East Coast and earned extra cash providing in-concert backing for girl groups. Toward the end of 1966, they welcomed drummer Carmine Appice into the fold, and the following year their manager convinced legendary producer George “Shadow” Morton to catch their live act. Impressed by their heavy, hard-rocking recasting of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” Morton offered to record the song. The group landed a deal with Atco Records, who requested a name change. The band members settled on Vanilla Fudge, after a favorite ice cream flavor, and would go on to create one of the few American links between psychedelia and what would become heavy metal. In 1968, Vanilla Fudge headlined Fillmore West with the Steve Miller Band, performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, and released their second album, The Beat Goes On. The LP became a Top 20 hit. It was followed by the Top 20 hit album Renaissance. The band toured with Jimi Hendrix, opened several dates on Cream’s farewell tour, and headlined a tour with the fledgling Led Zeppelin as their opening act. In 1969, Vanilla Fudge released its first album without Morton, the symphonic Near the Beginning. Following the release of their final album, Rock & Roll, Vanilla Fudge played a few U.S. farewell dates and disbanded in early 1970, although they have reunited and toured together since.