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New Hope

The four members of New Hope were formerly known as the Kit Kats and had several regional hits in the Philadelphia area in 1966-1967. The Kit Kats' forte was strong original rock ballads with high vocal leads and harmonies and quasi-classical melodies, keyboards, and production, influenced by '50s and early-'60s rock, soul, and doo wop. When they changed their name to New Hope in 1969, they retained the basic elements of their style, but eased it in a softer direction. Although that might have been in keeping with the tenets of the times, it was, as is usually the case in such situations, less impressive than what they were doing in the first place. Commercially, however, it did pay off when a lush version of "Won't Find Better Than Me" -- a song they had already recorded, and released, twice as the Kit Kats -- made number 57 nationally.

New Hope put out a few singles, and one album, for Jamie in 1969-1970. Adding to the confusion among any who had been keeping track of the group as they changed from the Kit Kats to New Hope, several of the songs on New Hope's To Understand Is to Love LP were remakes of Kit Kats songs, or overdubbed tracks that had been originally released by the Kit Kats, or even old Kit Kats cuts with no overdubs at all. An uncharacteristically tough 1970 single, "The Money Game," which recalled some of the Easybeats' late-'60s material, was the highlight of their output as New Hope.

New Hope left Jamie to make one single for Paramount in 1971, and continued to play live for a few years until splitting in 1974. (The album that came out by a band called the New Hope on the Light label in 1972 is by an entirely different group of the same name.) Some of their Jamie material was reissued on the double-CD Kit Kats compilation It's About Time. ~ Richie Unterberger
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