Freak beat, loungecore, 60's French chicks, exotica funk, Bollywood, big band, ye ye, psychedelic bubblegum, kooky Japanese, spy themes, bossa nova, blaxploitation, hipster grooves, sunshine pop, Euro beats, Chinatowns. As well as contemporary artists who delve retro. Music & film related.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rock Flowers - The Story

I noticed that my man idiotproof had posted up the Rock Dolls ad from YouTube, so I thought i'd shed a bit of light on their history. This info I've garnished from the the Rock Flowers article by Lisa Sutton from the bubblegum bible "Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth" edited by Kim Cooper & David Smay.

Rock Flower
dolls were six inch high fashion dolls introduced by Mattel in 1970. Each colourfully dressed figure came with a seven inch record abd a spindle used to attach the doll to a record player (!), so it would flail about while the turntable spun. Originally there were 3 dolls, Lilac, Heather & Rosemary. They were later joined by Iris and Doug (Doug???). Each doll had their own personalised song on the A-Side, while the beach side of each disc contained the Rock Flower theme song, "Sweet Times".

The songs the "group" performed on the 7" singles were produced by Wes Farrell (the dude behind the Partridge Family) and penned by Toni Wine (formerly of the Archies) and Brill Building honeys, Ellie Greenwhich and Carol Bayer. In fact, the same studio muso's who created the Partridge tracks would lay down the Rock Flowers tunes in down time between sessions for the popular TV show.

The two albums recorded in 1971 and 1972 were recorded by the world famous "Wrecking Crew" (with Hal Blaine and the players that backed the Beach Boys, Nancy Sinatra and...well, just about everyone). The albums were "Rock Flowers" and "Naturally". Their sound was reminiscent of a female Jackson Five/5th Dimension soul groove with a bubblegum pop edge. The real life stand ins for the dolls were found for the album covers, but strangely no mention of the actual dolls that spawned the records could be found anywhere on the sleeve! Nor was there mention of Mattel or the names of any of the vocalists singing the songs. there was however, a fanclub adress. Perhaps strangest of all was the lack of inclusion of any of the songs that came with the actual dolls, therefore destroying any idea of cross promotion! Crazy!

Neither the dolls nor the records took off in any major way, and they are now only a hazy memory to anyone who caught the ads on saturday morning TV. Until now, that is....see below for a rare glimpse at The Rock Flowers.


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