In addition to losing The Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts, we recently lost three more drummers, who we first heard in the 1960s.
MARTY FRIED – THE CYRKLE
The Cyrkle’s co-founder, vocalist, and guitarist Don Dannemann told Goldmine, “Marty’s passing leaves a whole in my heart that will never go away. He was part of so many special events including our special Beatles show in 1964, which led to our management contract with Brian Epstein and Nat Weiss, a Columbia Records contract, receiving our band name from John Lennon, and touring with The Beatles on their 1966 cross country tour. I can hardly describe the camaraderie that still existed when we got together over the years, both to play and just to meet up for a reunion. Marty Fried and Tom Dawes now rest comfortably in rock and roll heaven.”
In 1966, the year of their tour with The Beatles, The Cyrkle, as a trio, were in the Top 40 twice with “Red Rubber Ball” and Turn-Down Day.” By the end of the year, keyboardist Mike Losekamp joined the group. In early 1967, their single “I Wish You Could Be Here” was released, featuring a soft folk-rock vocal style on par with The Association that year. The flip side, “The Visit (She Was Here),” contained a gentle samba beat from Fried, who passed away on September 1 at age 77.
Flip side: The Visit (She Was There)
A side: I Wish You Could Be Here
Top 100 debut: February 4, 1967
Peak position: No. 70
The Cyrkle disbanded in 1968 and have reunited in recent years with concerts and new recordings, including a new version of “The Visit,” which can be heard on their website, the home of their concert information. The current lineup includes the surviving 1960s members Don Dannemann and Mike Losekamp plus Dean Kastran, a co-founding member of The Ohio Express, Pat McLoughlin, Don White, and Scott Langley.
RON BUSHY – IRON BUTTERFLY
In 1968, as The Cyrkle disbanded, sounds on the radio were becoming heavier with Big Brother & The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin, Steppenwolf, and a trio of groups on the Atco label, Cream, Vanilla Fudge, and Iron Butterfly. A three minute version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” debuted in the Top 40 in late September, for Iron Butterfly, edited from their seventeen minute version, which filled the entire second side of the quartet’s debut album. Aspiring rock drummers played along with side two’s solos from Ron Bushy, who passed away August 29 at age 79.
The group’s singles reached the Top 100 three more times in the following year, but never captured the level of attention of their sole Top 40 hit. Iron Butterfly was scheduled to play at Woodstock in 1969, but the helicopter never arrived for them that Sunday and the group regretted that they couldn’t share “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” with the historic crowd.
GARY “CHICKEN” HIRSH – COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH
Country Joe & The Fish shared their song “Rock and Soul Music” with the Woodstock crowd in August 1969, with Chicken Hirsh on drums, who passed away August 17 at age 81.
The group disbanded at the end of the year and their Vietnam protest song “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die-Rag” became a popular anthem in the early 1970s, following the 1970 release of the Woodstock film. Their sole Top 100 single was “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine,” with Hirsh adjusting to alternating tempos on the psychedelic song from their album Electric Music For the Mind and the Body.