The Hello PeopleView in iTunes
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Late-'60s concept band Hello People was put together by New York producer Lew Futterman. Basing his concept on French mime films, Futterman assembled a group of Ohio musicians to make up the group, dressed in full face paint and performing wordless mime routines between their songs during their live sets. The first lineup of the band consisted of guitarist and singer W.S. Tongue, bassist Greg Geddes, keyboardist Larry Tasse, drummer Ronnie Blake, guitarist Bobby Sedita, and flute player Michael Sagarese. Taking on stage names like "Goodfellow" and "Much More," the band was born and recorded its debut, self-titled album in 1967. In 1968, Blake left the group, to be replaced by George Abruzzese. Shortly after the release of their first album, Tongue also left the band, tired of the life of performing and opting instead to become a full-time songwriter. He was replaced by singer/guitarist Pete Weston and a second album, Fusion, arrived in 1968. Fusion featured "Anthem," a song written by Tongue about his time spent in prison for draft dodging. The song was a regional hit in Ohio briefly, before it was abruptly banned for its controversial social commentary. The band played out regularly without ever scoring a hit record, including performances on network television shows like the Smothers Brothers and Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Another lineup shift found N.D. Smart taking over as drummer around the same time the band relocated to Los Angeles in the early '70s. A third album surfaced in 1971 entitled Have You Seen the Light, and the band played shows with comedians such as George Carlin and Richard Pryor before signing on as part of Todd Rundgren's touring group for a time. Eventually, Weston and Sagarese left Hello People, and the quartet version of the band would go on to record albums The Handsome Devils, Homemade with Teac, Bricks, and Lost at Sea before dissolving in the mid-'70s. ~ Fred Thomas