The MurmaidsView in iTunes
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The Murmaids can safely be classed as one-hit wonders -- but that one hit, "Popsicles and Icicles," not only characterizes an entire innocent era of pop music and the early phase of '60s girl-group music, but was a key early career jump for several of the participants. The Murmaids were Carol Fischer, Terry Fischer, and Sally Gordon of Los Angeles. They'd grown up together and had begun singing, and when the singing began to show promise in their mid- to late teens, the Fischer sisters' mother brought them into Chattahoochie Records, a tiny Los Angeles-based label, for an audition. The label's recording manager was Kim Fowley, who provided them with a song called "Popsicles and Icicles," composed by David Gates, an Oklahoman with musical aspirations who'd been knocking around Los Angeles for the last few years, writing songs and playing the odd session. The mix of dreamy melody and ethereal girl group voices was a quick chart success, "Popsicles and Icicles" scaling into the Top Ten in late 1963. It was, alas, to be the first and last time that the Murmaids were to occupy the attention of chart compilers. And, ironically, by the time the song was a hit, Carol and Terry Fischer had started college, and this was of much greater concern to them -- the trio did cut a few more songs in an effort to follow up on "Popsicles and Icicles'" success, but only "Heartbreak Ahead" in early 1964 managed to get any airplay. Without a full-time professional commitment to touring or personal appearance, the Murmaids proved a one-off success, "Popsicles and Icicles" disappearing, but not without leaving a lot of fond memories for radio listeners. Fowley kept working to get another chart hit, without success, and later Murmaids singles were very likely the work of other singers. The last Murmaids single appeared in 1968, by which time Fowley had begun working with the Clinger Sisters, a girl group (and former regulars on television variety shows, including Danny Kaye's program) who had turned toward a more rocking sound on Columbia Records. David Gates, whose song had given the Murmaids their one claim to fame, was taking his big steps to stardom around that time, forming the group Bread in 1969, which would bring him massive success both as a songwriter ("Make It With You," etc.) and as a pop/rock star during the early '70s. The Murmaids themselves remain a fixture of early- to mid-'60s girl group collections. Their records -- and they left behind the equivalent of about an album of surprisingly good material -- recall the Paris Sisters, the Fleetwoods, the Teddy Bears, and the rest of the innocent side of girl group music. ~ Bruce Eder