The Hello People
One of the most unique rock groups of the 1960s, The Hello People, was created during late 1967 in New York by producer Lou Futterman. There is precious little information on this group that is available on the Internet. This is an attempt to fill that void.
The idea for creating the group stemmed from Marcel Carné's film Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis).
Etienne De Crux, the father of French mime, plays the part of Bapties's father in the film. During the sixties De Crux taught painting to a group of musicians. Since these musicians learned to paint so quickly, De Crux reasoned that musicians could also learn mime and apply it in some new way to create a new form. The manager of the musicians De Crux taught, Lou Futterman, decided he would implement this new concept. He then put together a new group of musicians who would perform in mime makeup and do mime routines between songs, never speaking a word to the audience.
The original Hello People were:
Ronnie Blake left the group in 1968 and was replaced by George Abruzzese.
The group recorded for Philips Records, performed at the Café Wha? in Greenwich Village in 1968 and at The Players Theater, upstairs above the Café Wha? Although the group didn't have a hit record they were often seen on major network television shows such as The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the controversial Smothers Brothers Show.
"They say I was born in the land of the free but the home of the briefcase is all I can see." —W. S. Tongue, Anthem
Sonny had done some time in prison in the mid-1960s for draft resistance. After the first record was issued by the band, Sonny concluded he'd had enough as a performer and decided to become a full-time songwriter. Peter Weston, a singer/songwriter/guitarist, replaced him in the group. They recorded a song that Sonny wrote titled Anthem that was about his imprisonment. They toured nationwide and performed at major rock venues of the time. In 1969 Anthem went on the charts in Cleveland and then the song was banned from airplay. It was also banned from airplay in Memphis and Atlanta markets. The label then pulled it from production.
The group reorganized and moved to the Los Angeles area during the early 1970s. N.D. Smart became the drummer in the band. They toured on shows with comedians Richard Pryor and George Carlin. They even appeared on a show with crooner Rudy Vallee. Both Peter Weston and Michael Sagarese left the band leaving it a four-piece group for the remainder of its days.
The Hello People became part of Todd Rundgren's touring group in the '70s. During this period George Kiernan joined the group as an extra mime performer holding signs for the group.
The Hello People continued as a group through the seventies then went their separate ways. They left a long list of recorded work, much of which is notated below.
LP: The Hello People (Philips) 1967
Single: A Stranger At Her Door/Paisley Teddy Bear (Philips 40522) - 1968
Single: It's A Monday Kind Of Tuesday/(As I Went Down To) Jerusalem - (Philips 40531) - 1968
Single: If I Should Sing Too Softly/Pray For Rain (Philips 40572) - 1968
Single: Anthem/Jelly Jam (Philips 40585) - 1969
LP: Fusion (Philips 80027 - PHS 600-276 Stereo) 1968
LP: Have You Seen The Light
LP: The Handsome Devils (ABC Dunhill DSD-50184) 1974
LP: Homemade With TEAC (Teac TCA 1) 1974