Mike Curb CongregationView In iTunes
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Harmony pop chorale the Mike Curb Congregation was the brainchild of producer and music industry veteran Curb, a notoriously conservative figure who upon assuming the position of MGM Records president in 1969 promptly fired his entire A&R department and dropped all of the label's counterculture acts. In keeping with such mandates he assembled the Mike Curb Congregation, an otherwise anonymous studio aggregation in the mold of large-scale vocal groups like the Doodletown Pipers. Favoring saccharine material and childlike harmonies in direct opposition to rock's prevailing psychedelic mindset, the group nevertheless scored a Top 40 hit with 1970's "Burning Bridges," the theme to the Clint Eastwood film Kelly's Heroes. A handful of minor chart hits followed, among them 1971's "Sweet Gingerbread Man" and the next year's "See You in September." In addition, their recording of "It's a Small World" went on to become the official theme song of the Disneyland attraction of the same name. But the Mike Curb Congregation was better known for its collaborations. They backed Sammy Davis, Jr. on his chart-topping "Candy Man," and were regulars on television's Glen Campbell Good Time Hour, in 1972 even releasing the LP Sing Their Hits from 'The Glen Campbell Show.' So ubiquitous and innocuous was the group that it even appeared at the White House on the invitation of then-President Richard Nixon. Curb pulled the plug on the project sometime in the mid-'70s. In 1978, he was elected lieutenant governor of the state of California, and in 1980 reassembled the Mike Curb Congregation long enough to record "Together, a New Beginning," the theme for Ronald Reagan's successful presidential campaign. ~ Jason Ankeny