The eerie, hysterical "Martian Hop" was the short lived Ran-Dells sole Pop Top 40 entry, it hit #16, September 28, 1963 two more singles followed but the collegians never scored again, so they counted their blessings, and got out the business.
Steven Rappaport, Robert Rappaport, and John Spirt - three first cousins were the Ran-Dells. Home for Steven was Villas, NJ, Robert and John lived in Cape May, NJ. Despite a six-year age gap between the Rappaport's and Sprit all three attended Brandeis University where they banded into the Ran-Dells in 1962. They were named after Steven's disk jockey moniker Steven Randle; Steven had put in some hours as a college DJ and decided to capitalize on the name.
The cousins produced "Martian Hop," a song about dancing aliens, themselves for less than $400. Songwriter, Gerry Goffin was in the studio when they mastered the record, like it, and brought it to the attention of Don Kirschner who signed them to his Chairman label. The flip side "Forgive Me Darling" was a straight, innocent pop lamenter. The song took off, WABC had it on perpetual rotation; it made an even bigger impact overseas, acing the charts in France, Israel, Greece, and West Germany; it sold more than a million copies worldwide. It was the biggest selling record ever on Kirschner's Chairman Records. Courtesy of Steven, who was studying electronic music, "Martian Hop" sparked the use of the additive synthesis in pop music.
The Ran-Dells had a short run as stars, appearing on American Bandstand and doing lip synch shows with other hit making artists. A second single "Sound Of The Sun" b/w "Come On and Love Me Too" in 1964 didn't excite anybody, and the Ran-Dells stint on Chairman was history. A third, and the Ran-Dells' only other known release, "Beyond the Stars," b/w "Wintertime," dropped quietly in 1964 on RSVP Records. With college classes looming, and two non selling records, the cousins concentrated of their educations and put music behind them.
Robert Rappaport, the lead singer on "Martian..." owns a hotel in Key West, FL, John Spirt is an artist and lives in Philadelphia, while Steven is an attorney who advocates rights for seniors in California. ~ Andrew Hamilton