Classic proto hard rock: Vanilla Fudge debut (1967)

Songwriting certainly isn’t the reason this LP is a classic. It consists entirely of half-speed covers and three short original instrumental compositions. The fact that the covers were played in a new, bombastic version however, makes it special. It’s an album that marks the start of a new era. The flower people were about to make place for Hard Rock. In 1967 the Fudge’s heavy version of You Keep Me Hangin’ On was a top ten hit in the US:

Vanilla Fudge was a big influence for bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. In 1969 the group broke up. Drummer Carmine Appice and bassist Tim Bogert formed the solid Hard Rock outfit Cactus and then Beck, Bogert And Appice with Jeff Beck. Lead singer and keyboardist Mark Stein turned up with the great Tommy Bolin and Alice Cooper. He wrote his autobiography in 2011.

From the mid ’70s on Carmine Appice emerged in a lot of bands, including Rod Stewart (where he co-wrote Do Ya Think I’m Sexy), King Kobra (with young top vocalist Mark Free) & impressive ’80s Hard Rock band Blue Murder. He wrote a best-selling drum instruction book, The Realistic Rock Drum Method. These days he seems to be more prolific than ever. In 2016 he wrote his autobiography.

Tim Bogert became one of hard rock’s most respected bassists. Interesting hard rock releases he played on include Boxer‘s Absolutely and both Marcus and Pipedream‘s selftitled (and only) LPs. He was a faculty member at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood. In 2014 he joined Hollywood Monsters, with Carmine’s younger brother Vinnie Appice, a drumming star in his own right.

Vanilla Fudge made a comeback in 1984 and again in 2002, as Cactus did in 2006. In 2015 they put out Spirit Of ’67, an album with covers of songs from 1967, almost fifty years after the debut that started it al.

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