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Dino, Desi & Billy

A Hollywood trio that were barely into their teens when they hit the charts in 1965, Dino, Desi & Billy anticipated the bubblegum fad with records that usually featured none of their own contributions, except their characterless vocals. That may be phrasing matters too kindly. The best bubblegum is far more distinctive and catchy than the lowest-common-denominator L.A. session pop/rock that they recorded. But they knew the right people, as they say in the business, which made them stars for a brief time, although they never had an ounce of credibility.

This mid-'60s trio were kind of a cross between the Monkees and Gary Lewis in a few key respects. Like Gary Lewis, their very opportunities to record came about primarily because of their distinguished Hollywood fathers. In the case of these guys, however, the nepotism was rather extreme: Dino was Dino Martin, son of singer/comedian Dean Martin, and Desi was the son of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Along with classmate Billy Hinsche, they began playing for fun. They'd barely gotten their equipment together when they auditioned for Dean Martin's buddy, Frank Sinatra -- who just happened to record for and run Martin's label, Reprise. By the end of 1964, they'd released their first single for the label, although it was made clear to them that session musicians would handle the instruments.

Top producers and arrangers Lee Hazlewood, Billy Strange, and Jimmy Bowen would oversee the trio's recording dates over the next couple of years. "I'm a Fool" made the Top 20 in 1965; "Not the Lovin' Kind" got into the Top 30 a few months later. None of the group had reached the age of 15 yet, but there they were, playing to screaming crowds as a support act to a Beach Boys tour in 1965, and (for a few months) outselling Sinatra on his own label. This despite (or because of?) the fact that their music was innocuously bland in the extreme, making the Monkees (who also used a pool of L.A. session players) sound positively innovative and hard-nosed in comparison.

Dino, Desi & Billy never got into the Top 40 after 1965, but they recorded singles and albums for years to come (perhaps it would have caused tensions among their families if they hadn't). They were the recipients of compositions by top pop/rock songwriters like Lee Hazlewood, David Gates, Boyce & Hart, Clint Ballard, Jr., and Bonner & Gordon. But it seemed like these songsmiths took care not to give them anything too good, in the manner of Goffin-King's substandard leftovers for early-'60s teen idols.

Billy Hinsche's sister married Carl Wilson, which probably helped the band secure a Brian Wilson composition (which Hinsche helped finish off) for one of their final Reprise singles in 1970, "Lady Love." The group did start to get involved in their recording sessions, as players and composers, toward the end of the '60s. But the talent wasn't there, and in any case the results were much more pop than rock.

Perhaps it's being unduly touchy to come down on the band so hard; they had no aspirations towards anything but wholesome fun, apparently, and 98-percent of other kids their age would have taken advantage of the same connections given the same silver spoons. Keep in mind, though, that bands like Dino, Desi & Billy took away valuable air time and sales from much better groups that really needed it, in an era in which chart considerations were much more vital to ensure an ongoing career. And if you don't believe that, look at the nose dive experienced after the mid-'60s by the Kinks -- who, as it happened, were on Dino, Desi & Billy's U.S. label, and may have been competing for the same promotional budget. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Califia - The Songs Of Lee Hazlewood

1. Lady Bird

4. The Rebel Kind

9. The Dip

10. Houston

11. You Turned My Head Around

14. Califia (Stone Rider)

21. Not The Lovin' Kind

23. Don't Look Now, But I've Got The Blues

x

Track List: Come To The Sunshine: Soft Pop Nuggets From The WEA Vaults

x

Track List: Revolutions In Sound: Warner Bros. Records - The First Fifty Years

2. Try A Little Tenderness

3. 77 Sunset Strip

4. My Old Flame

5. Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)

6. Sixteen Reasons

7. Cathy's Clown

8. Abe Lincoln Vs. Madison Avenue

11. Let's Think About Living

12. Crying In The Rain

13. Blowin' In The Wind

14. If I Had A Hammer

15. Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter From Camp)

16. The Lonely Surfer

17. September Song

18. Night Creature (First Movement): Blind Bug

19. Dollar's Dance

20. Out Of Limits

21. Everybody Loves Somebody

22. It Was A Very Good Year

23. Girl Don't Come

24. Thou Shalt Not Steal

25. Good Lovin'

26. I'm A Fool

27. Houston

28. The Vatican Rag

29. Tiny Bubbles

30. That's Life

31. These Boots Are Made For Walkin'

33. Purple Haze

34. The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)

35. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)

36. Double Yellow Line

37. Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In)

39. Sit Down, I Think I Love You

40. Pata Pata

41. 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)

42. It's A Happening World

43. Never My Love

45. While Drifting

46. Magic Hollow

47. Some Velvet Morning

48. The All Golden

49. Crystal Liaison

51. Morning Girl

52. Tip Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me

53. Classical Gas

54. Oh Well

55. Spirit In The Sky

56. But It's Alright

57. Stay With Me

58. I've Gotta Be Me

59. Leaving On A Jet Plane

60. Box Of Rain

61. Fire And Rain

62. If You Could Read My Mind

64. She's A Lady

65. P.F. Sloan

66. Vehicle

67. Express Yourself

68. Speed King

69. Locomotive Breath

70. Stay With Me

72. I'm Eighteen

73. Back Street Luv

74. Song To The Siren

75. Surf's Up

76. I Don't Want To Talk About It

77. You Can Close Your Eyes

78. Heart Of Gold

79. Willin'

80. Love Me Like A Man

81. The Poor Ditching Boy

83. Summer Breeze

84. A Horse With No Name

85. Sanctuary

86. Sail Away

87. City Of New Orleans

88. On Your Way Down

89. Low Yo Yo Stuff

90. Virginia Plain

91. Smoke On The Water

92. School's Out

93. Bertha

94. Blue Sky

95. Hello It's Me

96. Suavecito

97. Waiting For The Rain

98. Andalucia

99. In My Hour Of Darkness

101. Midnight At The Oasis

102. So Very Hard To Go

104. Dixie Chicken

105. China Grove

106. Ramblin' Man

107. Dueling Banjos

108. Rock The Nation

109. Day Of The Eagle

110. Keep On Smilin'

111. Beautiful Texas Sunshine

112. Tattler

114. Hey Pocky A-Way (Single Version)

115. Butterfat

116. Your Love

117. So In Love

118. Let's Do It Again

119. Fooled Around And Fell In Love

120. Dream Weaver

121. Just Us

122. Ain't Misbehavin' (I'm Savin' My Love For You)

123. Boulder To Birmingham

124. Landslide

125. Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright)

126. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

127. Let Your Love Flow

128. Popsicle Toes

129. This Masquerade

130. I'm A Loser

131. Slow Ride

132. Excuse Me

133. Short People

134. You Light Up My Life

135. Da Doo Ron Ron

136. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

137. Love - Building On Fire

138. Sonic Reducer

139. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love

140. Go Your Own Way

141. The First Cut Is The Deepest

142. Don't Break The Heart That Loves You

143. How Much I Feel

144. What A Fool Believes

145. Every Kinda People

146. Sultans Of Swing

147. Lotta Love

148. King Tut

149. Bootzilla

150. Rock Lobster

151. Pop Muzik

153. Do Anything You Want To

154. Cheap Sunglasses

155. Chuck E's In Love

156. Just When I Needed You Most

157. Sailing

160. The Glow Of Love

161. Once In A Lifetime

162. Best Friend

163. Natural's Not In It

164. Freedom Of Choice

165. The Jezebel Spirit

166. Tainted Love

167. Pull Up To The Bumper

168. Genius Of Love

169. While You See A Chance

170. We're In This Love Together

171. Til I Gain Control Again

172. Pearl Necklace

173. I'm Shakin'

174. Amanda Ruth

175. I Melt With You

176. Only You

177. O Superman (For Massenet)

179. Avalon

180. I'm A Wonderful Thing, Baby

181. Heat Of The Moment

182. Holy Diver

183. Middle Of The Road

184. Blue Monday

185. Gone Daddy Gone

186. Swingin'

187. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

189. Jump

190. The Boys Of Summer

191. The Killing Moon

192. Someday, Someway

193. Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody

194. Take On Me

195. She Sells Sanctuary

196. Money For Nothing

197. Slave To Love

198. Just Like Honey

199. Life In A Northern Town

200. Higher Love

201. You Can Call Me Al

202. Tutu

203. Lean On Me

205. Guitars, Cadillacs

206. Alex Chilton

207. Got My Mind Set On You

208. I Want To Be Your Man

209. Always

210. To Know Him Is To Love Him

211. Chains Of Love

212. What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)

213. Nite And Day

214. Handle With Care

215. Love And Mercy

216. Jane Says

217. The Maker

218. Paris, Texas

219. Falling

220. Like A Prayer

221. Me, Myself And I

222. Love Shack

223. Veronica

224. One

225. I'll Be Your Everything

226. What I Am

227. Epic

228. O.G. Original Gangster

229. Been Caught Stealing

230. The Humpty Dance

231. Personal Jesus

233. High Enough

234. I Fell In Love

235. Here's A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)

236. Wicked Game

237. Crazy

238. Losing My Religion

240. I Wanna Sex You Up

241. Baby Got Back

242. Jump Around

244. Remedy

245. Layla

246. Tears In Heaven

247. Under The Bridge

248. Kiko And The Lavender Moon

249. Harvest Moon

250. Constant Craving

251. The Long Cut

252. Man On The Moon

253. Feed The Tree

254. Johnny Mathis' Feet

255. Far Behind

256. Closer To Free

257. The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove

258. Calling All Angels

259. If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)

260. Can We Talk

261. Wish

262. Thinkin' Problem

263. Delia's Gone

264. You Don't Know How It Feels

265. You Wreck Me

266. Longview

267. 7 Words

268. Hey Man Nice Shot

269. You Oughta Know

270. Kiss From A Rose

271. Drown

272. This Woman And This Man

273. Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?

275. Super Bon Bon

276. The Chanukah Song

277. Brimful Of Asha

278. People Ain't No Good

280. Still Waters

281. Hot Rod Heart

282. Iris

283. The Mummers' Dance

284. Believe

285. One Week

286. Breathe

287. Carry The Zero

288. Push It

289. Down With The Sickness

290. Cousin Dupree

291. Just In Case

292. All You Wanted

293. Do You Realize??

294. Can't Stop

295. Bandages

296. The Taste Of Ink

297. Headstrong

298. Breaking The Habit

299. Cannonball

302. Bat Country

303. Back Then

305. Home

306. Bad Day

308. Fidelity

309. Everything About It Is A Love Song

310. Starlight

311. Welcome To The Black Parade

312. Colony Of Birchmen

313. What I've Done

314. Silver Lining

315. Ave Maria

316. Back In Your Head

317. Thrash Unreal

318. Your Touch

319. Icky Thump

320. The Day That Never Comes

x

Track List: Where The Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968

Disc 1

1. Riot On Sunset Strip

2. You Movin'

3. You I'll Be Following

4. Dr. Stone

5. Go And Say Goodbye

6. Zig Zag Wanderer

7. Gentle As It May Seem

8. Candy Cane Madness

9. If You Want This Love

10. Baby, My Heart

12. It's Gonna Rain

14. Take A Giant Step

15. One Too Many Mornings

17. Take It As It Comes

18. Pulsating Dream

20. The People In Me

22. Eventually

23. Swim

Disc 2

1. Jump, Jive & Harmonize

2. Back Up

4. Get On This Plane

5. Little Girl, Little Boy

6. Hideaway

8. She Done Moved

9. Grim Reaper Of Love

10. See If I Care

12. Back Seat '38 Dodge

13. Eternal Prison

14. Revenge

15. Come Alive

16. Acid Head

17. Guaranteed Love

19. Underground Lady

20. Pretty Little Thing

23. That's For Sure

25. Everything's There

26. Our Time Is Running Out

Disc 3

1. Action, Action, Action

2. The Rebel Kind

3. High On Love

4. Fan Tan

5. Halloween Mary

6. Somebody Groovy

7. Daydreaming

9. Yellow Balloon

10. The Times To Come

12. Little Girl Lost-And-Found

17. Come Down

18. Jill

19. Daily Nightly

21. Don't Say No

23. Rainbow Woman

25. Baby, Please Don't Go

Disc 4

3. November Night

5. Lemon Chimes

6. Here's Today

7. I Love How You Love Me

8. Words (Demo)

11. Once Upon A Time

12. Darlin' You Can Count On Me

13. I'll Search The Sky

14. Come To The Sunshine

17. Sister Marie

18. Last Night I Had A Dream (Single Version)

19. Life Is A Dream

22. Change Is Now

23. Truth Is Not Real

24. You Set The Scene

Comments

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Does anyone know what album by DD&b that "If You're Thinkin What I'm Thinkin" is on? K

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