About the shows Love American Style and The Love Boat
I child I watched Love American Style. I did not like any of the plots. I have the show linked to the show The Love Boat in my mind, which had a terrible theme song sung by Jack Jones. I hated the Love Boat theme, but the writing and plots on the Love Boat were slightly better then on Love American Style. All I can recall about the Show Love American Style was it was a bedroom farce which always turned out alright in the end. The bed was shown over and over so that is why I have decided it was a bedroom farce. It had more then one storyline in the half hour. By dividing the show into two segments in syndication, they played the theme twice, which gave me some motivation to at least have the TV turned on so I did not miss the second playing of the theme song. I would ignore the show and do something else, it was just like background noise. As normal in the 70s the commercials were more interesting then the program.
About the Theme Song from Love American Style
Love American Style Theme song is one of my favorites which even now never fails to disappoint me, when I hear it. The song seems to be about promise of Love all the good things about The American Dream. The American Dream was about a good looking husband or wife. One would live happily ever after as that was the only goal or dream of life in the 70s. A house and children may have been part of that dream. As long as we recycled everything would be fine forever more. I was really surprised to heard the sun was going to suck planet earth back into itself at the Morrison Planetarium at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. This did not seem to fit with the overall goal in life which was Love American Style. We were the land of the free so we could have that expectation of a good life and a happy life.
I would watch the two episodes of Love American Style back to back on whatever channel it was on, only to hear the theme song sung The Ron Hicklin Singers. I believe John was the singer and not his brother Tom, but very little information is available about The Ron Hicklin Singers. I guess the singer could have been Ron. Like the Cowsills, The Ron Hicklin Singers were a family band which gave them an advantage over a non family band in vocal harmonizing. The Bees Gees and The Beach Boys were also family bands. I am going argue that The Ron Hicklin Singers sang Love American Style better then the Cowsills. I am used to hearing The Ron Hicklin Singers version, as that was all that ever played. I had never heard The Cowsills Version until just a few years ago. But, that is not the reason that I prefer The Ron Hicklin Singers or The Cowsills. The Ron Hicklin Singers sang the song much better.
I don’t know why the show had The Cowsills Version for just one season and then changed to The Ron Hicklin Singers. I am going to guess it had something to do with contracts and licensing, but maybe it was because The Ron Hicklin Singers sang the song better. They had a straight forward delivery of the song which was more appropriate for the show theme. The reason the Cowsills never became more popular is the arrangements of all of their songs are poorly done. Their voices are good, but sometimes it seems like too much special effects and echoes are used on the record tracks until you can’t even hear the voices. The tracks were also over produced by someone who had bad taste. He may have been trying for Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, but he failed.
The reason why I never heard The Cowsills Version was I only watched Love American Style in syndication, and I am sure they never played The Cowsills Version. If The Cowsills had been better at marketing themselves, they would have made sure that they were the only version of Love American Style played and The Ron Hicklin Singers never given a chance. If only The Cowsills Version was played it would have formed the music taste of younger viewers who were still open to accepting different styles of music. People would remember only The Cowsills and seek them out.
The Ron Hicklin Singers were billed as The Charles Fox Singers because Charles Fox wrote the song. This was another marketing mistake. Both The Ron Hicklin Singers and The Cowsills had a poorly chosen band names. They would benefited from a catchy name that people could remember. Even the Cow Ears would have been a better name then Cowsills. Maybe they would have used the name “family” in the band name. Often marketers and taste makers would suggest a name change for a band, singer or an actor back then. Look at how David Jones successful became David Bowie. A name change often all that was needed to mean the difference between fame and obscurity. This does not mean very much now that people can search for music they like on services like iTunes, and book mark the songs they find on playlists. It is now possible to remove the roll of the marketers and go directly to the people with music.
After watching the document A Family Band about the Cowsills. I know what went wrong with the band. It was not the name so much as the production. The production was done by the father who also fired Bill the lead singer on the Love American Style record. If they had had a good producer and the father had stayed out of it. They could have made better records and had more hits. I could hear the poor production on the Greatest Hits album. The Cowsills have pretty much all died. Most of them died from smoking related issues, but one of them Barry was killed by Hurricane Katrina. Even if you think you don’t like the music, the documentary a very interesting look at a dysfunctional family and that appeals to me. The brother know what went wrong with the group and they are not afraid to talk about it. It’s on Amazon Prime for 2.99, but I found with the HBO option on Amazon Prime they gave me the documentary for free. I have also been watching Season 9 of the Larry David Show. I don’t like subscribing to HBO because its too much work to hunt and wait from the show the programs I like. But, this seems to be all of the possible HBO programs for free on demand.
There are a lot more documentaries that I have never seen on HBO. There was on in particular that a friend of mine, said our mutual friend (who was more of his friend since I only met her once) was on. But, now I can’t remember the name of it as this was many years ago. She had a one syllable name like Roe. The one syllable name was easy to remember like Madonna is just Madonna and Cher is just Cher. This is why I started writing done all of details of things I like in film and music. I am probably losing my memory and will end up in memory care, eventually.
The Ron Hicklin Singers are a mystery. They were the voices of The Partridge Family, but the show was based on the The Cowsills. I could not find out anything more about the Love American Style Theme from watching the documentary. I should mention that I am not a fan of either The Partridge Family or The Brady Bunch. I should like them since they are from the 70s, and this is a 70 blog in which I pay homage to the 70s. I don’t know exactly why I did not like these Classic 70s family shows, but I did not like them. It seems as if The Ron Hicklin Singers replaced the Cowsills taking what should have belonged to them. But, I am sure The Ron Hicklin Singers whom I favor over tragic Cowsills have a side of the story that I don’t know. After watching The Cowsills I was disturbed. No one could watch it without being upset.
The Wrecking Crew were unsung session musician whom they employed to work on the tracks that were released in the 70s in music, movies and TV. I did not know anything about them. It was not even possible to find out who they were in credits. It seems extremely unfair that mega corporations were in control of music and video and reduced the musicians to low status. I would like to hear from the people who created the media that enjoy, and not just big brother announcements from networks and companies.
I am not negative about all 70s family sitcoms. I did enjoy watching The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. I was a huge fan of The Odd Couple. I even met Tony Randall once at the Opera. I liked Sanford and Son, and even Chico and the Man a very similar show. I also did not like Eight Is Enough or Little House on the Prairie. I liked The Jefferson’s. I wonder if TV shows were responsible for giving me an unrealistic world view as a child or if I just lived a sheltered life? I never had a big family growing up.
If you interested in the subject you may want to look up online the essay David Foster Wallace wrote about TV and how unrealistic it was. Most of what he complained about has been changed with the advent of modern plots and scripts that are very realistic. The essay is free online.
Sometimes 70s fiction can be also realistic. Go Ask Alice was a book that everyone thought was real. I reread the book, and it does read like a real diary, but it turned it was written to steer young people away from drugs.
Updated April 3, 2020
After listening to both versions of the song “Love American Style” on Itunes for a year, I have changed my mind and decided the Cowsills have the better version of the song. It just took some time to get to know the version, but it’s the better song because of the quality of the singers voice, in spite of the usually arrangement which makes it less accessible.