Not to be confused with the girl group of the same name, Chicago garage band the Del-Vetts formed on the city's north shore in 1963. Originally comprising singer/guitarist Jim Lauer, guitarist Lester Goldboss (soon replaced by Jeff Weinstein), bassist Bob Good, and drummer Paul Wade, the group started out playing Chuck Berry and surf rock covers, building a loyal following in the Chicago suburbs. In 1965, the Del-Vetts teamed with producer Bill Traut to record a cover of the Righteous Brothers hit "Little Latin Lupe Lu" for the tiny Seeburg imprint -- the single merited little notice, but Traut nevertheless signed the band to his Dunwich label. After a series of lineup changes, the Del-Vetts now consisted of Lauer, Good on guitar, Jack Burchall on bass, and Roger Deatherage -- this iteration of the group entered the studio in early 1966 to record "Last Time Around," an original penned by so-called "fifth Del-Vett" Dennis Dahlquist. A snarling fuzz-rocker featuring a blistering Lauer guitar solo clearly inspired by Jeff Beck's work in the Yardbirds, "Last Time Around" topped local radio play lists throughout the summer and cracked the national Top 30, but the follow-up, "I Call My Baby STP," was a flop.
At that point the Del-Vetts rechristened themselves the Pride and Joy, adopting a softer, more melodic sound for the 1967 single "Girl" -- the record was another local radio blockbuster, but with a corporate shakeup at Dunwich jeopardizing the group's long-range success, they moved to the Dot Records subsidiary Acta and even signed to star in a feature film, Somebody Help Me. Hitmakers Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote the follow-up, "We Got a Long Way to Go" -- industry buzz on the single was strong, but it failed on radio and with the subsequent departure of Burchall, the Pride and Joy disbanded in 1968. Burchall returned to the pop charts in 1983 as a member of the Jump 'n the Saddle Band, which scored the novelty hit "The Curly Shuffle." Lauer did not fare as well -- reports suggest that he spent the better part of his post-Del-Vetts life confined to a mental institution. "Last Time Around" remains a masterpiece of the garage punk genre, and in 1998 was included on the first Nuggets box set. ~ Jason Ankeny