Gary Puckett was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, on 17 October 1942.
He began playing the guitar in his teens and graduated from Twin Falls High School before attending college in San Diego, California. There, he quit college and formed The Outcasts.
The group enjoyed popularity on the local club circuit, before renaming themselves The Union Gap (after a battlefield town in Washington State) early in 1967.
As the name suggested, they wore American Civil War uniforms on stage.
With help from noted composer/producer Jerry Fuller, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap released a string of top-selling singles.
The first to crack Britain was Young Girl, released by CBS Records. Remarkably, the single soared to the top of the chart in June 1968, as it told its tale of an older man’s love for a much younger girl. It was a vividly strong storyline – but then this was the Sixties.
Young Girl also hit the top of the American chart. It was re-issued in 1974 in Britain, and became a Top Ten hit all over again.
The band enjoyed four UK hits in total – with Young Girl counting as two. The others were Lady Willpower and Woman Woman.
When their run of hits dried up, the band split and Puckett pursued a solo career, releasing one album of significance, The Gary Puckett Album (1971).