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Rainy Daze

Psychedelic pop combo the Rainy Daze formed in Denver, CO, in 1965. Comprised of singer/guitarist Tim Gilbert, his brother Kip on drums, lead guitarist Mac Ferris, bassist Sam Fuller, and keyboardist Bob Heckendorf, the group started as little more than a covers act, nevertheless parlaying a string of frat party gigs into a local television appearance that reportedly caught the attention of famed producer Phil Spector, who extended a management contract. A massive publicity campaign was in the planning stages when the spectacular failure of his magnum opus, Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High," left Spector's career in shambles; the Rainy Daze were among the collateral damage, and only in 1967 did their debut single, "That Acapulco Gold" -- written by Tim Gilbert in collaboration with his college roommate John Carter -- appear on Denver producer Frank Slay's Chicory label. When the single caught fire locally the fledgling UNI label snapped up national distribution rights, but with "That Acapulco Gold" at number 70 on the Billboard charts, the bottom fell out. Once radio programmers finally intuited the song's pro-marijuana content, it was pulled from play lists coast to coast. The Rainy Daze quickly resurfaced with "Discount City," which went nowhere. The follow-up, "Fe Fi Fo," was quickly deleted and reissued under the new and improved title "Blood of Oblivion," even securing a U.K. release but still failing to crack pop radio. After an LP, That Acapulco Gold, and a Tim Gilbert solo single, "Early October," UNI dropped the group. However, by this time Gilbert and Carter were earning notice as a crack songwriting duo, and via Slay earned a crack at revamping a demo track cut by an unknown psych-pop outfit known as Thee Sixpence. Gilbert and Carter added lyrics and a new melody, titling the finished song "Incense and Peppermints." Thee Sixpence cut the new tune, renamed themselves the Strawberry Alarm Clock immediately thereafter, and in late 1967 topped the Billboard pop charts. No doubt the success of "Incense and Peppermints" contributed to splitting the Rainy Daze in early 1968, but Gilbert nevertheless signed to White Whale to record one final Daze single, "Make Me Laugh," backed by L.A. session players. He and Carter next masterminded Horses, a country-rock quintet whose eponymous 1969 LP was a victim of White Whale's pending bankruptcy. Gilbert soon after retired from music, but Carter forged on, later writing for Sammy Hagar and the Motels. He also produced two songs on Tina Turner's 1984 comeback smash Private Dancer before moving into artist management. ~ Jason Ankeny
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