Monday, November 27, 2006

Second Fiddles


Years ago my friend Michael Yockel kiddingly suggested that all the "second fiddle" pop stars - people given equal billing in musical partnerships but really standing in the shadow of a more famous or talented partner, like John Oates of Hall & Oates and Andrew Ridgely of the George Michaels-dominated Wham! - should form a (less than) supergroup called The Second Fiddles. We thought it was a great idea, and threw in Art Garfunkle (the lesser, albeit taller, half of Simon & Garfunkle) as the lead vocalist.

I had forgetten about all this until I rented the 1985 Live Aid DVD and watched the Hall & Oates performance. I noticed first off that Hall & Oates' backing band became the backbone of the Saturday Night Live house band in the late 80s and early 90s, when journeyman guitarist (and ex-Gilda Radner hubby) G. E. Smith because musical director of SNL and brought along H&O bassist Tom "T-Bone" Wolk (the guy with the funky hats) for good measure. (I'm not sure, but I think the H&O sax player also appeared on SNL, as well as drummer Mike Curry at some point). But I digress...


Everyone knows that the true star of Hall & Oates has always been Daryl Hall, the defacto lead singer/frontman - after all, he was the one with the Ace Face looks and the pipes to belt out all that blue-eyed soul. But it was also obvious to anyone watching that the guitar whiz of the band was G. E. Smith, not John Oates, who unfortunately got a disproportionate amount of camera time doing his "second fiddle" best at strumming, singing, dancing, whatever. It was kind of embarrassing, given that he was one half of the band - in name, at least. It would be like The Beatles publishing credits being split between Lennon and Stu Sutcliffe instead of McCartney. I mean, you've got to carry that weight in a heavyweight partnership. Otherwise you're just tagging along for the ride.


Anyway, seeing other Live Aid performers like George Michael made me think of Andrew Ridgely (pictured left) and other "second fiddles," so I did a Google search. And low and behold, someone else had also hit on the idea of "Second Fiddles". In a posting entitled "The Less Than Supergroup," a blogger named coedouglas wrote the following musings about a proposed supergroup called (in singular form) Second Fiddle:
The Less Than Supergroup

Here’s a big idea: Andrew Ridgely, John Oates, Dawn (Both of them, you know from Tony Orlando and Dawn), either of the Air Supply guys and the Captain (from Captain and Tenile) band together to form the less than super group Second Fiddle.

That’s right, Second Fiddle.

It has such a nice ring to it with the overt and poorly contrived musical tie in and all. Then there’s the notion of all these otherwise forgotten musical sidekicks making a comeback, hitting the road, getting back in the studio and really showing everyone that they’re just as good. Hell, Art Garfunkel can even join the group or at least sit in on a song or two.

Wow, this has me excited. I hope this happens. I’ve been searching around on the web for any rumour of this and found nothing other than a few random mentions of solo projects, so I’m not going to hold my breath.

sfr I don’t know, it just seems like a good idea. These guys all deserve a second chance. Being a sidekick cant’ be easy. Not that I would know this from experience or anything. And to be truthful I would never buy anything they recorded, nor would I go see them in concert, but I do think there are those who would. It’s been a long time since John Tesh performed his now forgotten Live at Red Rocks concert and I suspect Tesh fans would also be really excited to hear about Second Fiddle, the less than super group. In fact, I suspect both Tesh and Second Fiddle would fall into the exact same musical demographic.

There it is, a moderately sized idea. Feel free to run with it. I request only a percentage of T-shirt sales and other merchandising. It seems a small request for something with such enormous potential.


Well, if you're going to throw in backing vocalists like Dawn as Second Fiddles, there's a long list of Motown groups filling that description, like The Marvelettes, The Pips, The Miracles, The Four Tops, The Supremes, and so on. One could even make the argument that the entire Jackson Five (Jermaine, Jackie, Marlon, Tito), sans Michael of course, would be eligible for membership in Second Fiddle.

So let's see. The less-than-supergroup lineup so far:
Art Garfunkle: Vocals
John Oates: Guitar
Andrew Ridgely: Guitar & Vocals
Daryl "The Captain" Dragon: Piano, Cap
Telma Hopkins (Dawn): Backing Vocals
Joyce Vincent Wilson (Dawn): Backing Vocals

Hmmm, need a bass player and drummer in there too, so if anyone out there has any additional Second Fiddle(s) suggestions, please let me know and I'll pull some strings and make sure they get added to this already less-than-stellar line-up. And is it too much of a stretch to consider Crosby, Still & Nash the second fiddles of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bass player: Ronald 'Kool' Bell. Even though he was the Kool of Kool & the Gang, J.T. Taylor's later smooth vocals and camera time made Kool the second fiddle with top billing.

Drums: Stewart Copeland of the Police, the 'What I Like About You' drummer from the Romantics or possibly Mick Fleetwood, second fiddle to the singers of the band named after him.

My musical $.02

12:49 PM  
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