Chicago group The Buckinghams named themselves after Buckingham Palace (although it’s also the name of a Chicago fountain which is a famous landmark in itself) and dressed like the early Beatles in order to take advantage of the popularity of British groups at the time.
By 1965, Chicago AM radio stations began playing local recordings of the band. A year later, Kind Of A Drag suddenly became the most popular song in the country, selling 1.4 million copies.
They signed with Columbia Records and in 1967 they sold more records than any other group in American other than The Monkees, with follow-up singles Don’t You Care and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.
Their faces stared back at young readers from the covers of 16 and Teen Beat magazines, and they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand and Upbeat.
The Buckinghams toured relentlessly until their eventual downfall began with a drug bust in 1968 in Iowa. Suddenly promoters wouldn’t book the clean-cut band and record sales began to plummet. When the group’s recording contract expired in 1969, The Buckinghams called it a day.
The group reformed in the 80s with Giammarese, Fortuna, and Tufano and continue to perform live.
Marty Grebb died on 1 January 2020. He was 74.
Nick Fortuna (Fortune)
Jon Jon Paulos