Formed in San Francisco in 1964 and most famous for their haunting mid-60s faux British Invasion-cum-folk rock, The Beau Brummels were also among the first notable bands to delve into Nashville-recorded country rock.
They enjoyed a 1965 hit with the single Laugh, Laugh which was more polished than the usual garage rock fare.
Produced by Sly Stone and marketed to radio by an independent promoter named Sonny Bono (who went on to fame as half of Sonny and Cher), the single propelled the Beau Brummels into the world of screaming girls and wall-to-wall television appearances.
Beau Brummels ’66 consisted entirely of faintly lacklustre cover versions, instigating drummer John Petersen’s departure for Harpers Bizarre.
The remaining members were freed from touring commitments by guitarist Ron Elliott’s recurring diabetes and opted instead to concentrate on exploring new studio technology. The result was their strongest album, Triangle (1967).
Elliott’s songwriting had matured beyond the confines of two-minute chart fodder, while Sal Valentino’s vocals had begun to take on a rootsy, nasal edge that contrasted wonderfully with the eerie arrangements, which included strings, accordion and harpsichord (the latter played on Magic Hollow by Brian Wilson collaborator, Van Dyke Parks).
Despite rave reviews, however, Triangle peaked at a disappointing #197 on the US Billboard chart.
Elliott’s ongoing health problems ultimately led to the demise of the band in 1968, following another critically acclaimed but commercially disastrous album, Bradley’s Barn.
The band reunited in 1974.