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The Wellingtons (Children's)

Anyone who doesn't place the Wellingtons immediately on hearing their name can be forgiven. They were not a successful rock & roll act in terms of charting records, but they got a lot of exposure during the mid-'60s, both as frequent guest artists on Shindig and, much more significantly (in terms of posterity), as the artists responsible for recording the Gilligan's Island theme song. The latter series' success on the network and in syndication means that the Wellingtons have been heard on television daily around the world for four decades and counting. George Patterson, Kirby Johnson, and Ed Wade were a folk trio in the Kingston Trio mold when they lucked into the Gilligan's Island gig by sheer chance. Producer Sherwood Schwartz was trying to salvage the twice-rejected pilot for the series and needed a theme song to tell the story behind the series. After abandoning the original idea for a Calypso-style song (to have been sung by Sir Lancelot) introducing the series, Schwartz and composer George Wyle came up with a song in a more folky, popular vein and Wyle recruited the Wellingtons, George Patterson, Kirby Johnson, and Ed Wade to sing it in a hastily arranged session on jerry rigged equipment. It worked and the series was sold to CBS and became a hit. The trio appeared on Shindig fairly regularly after 1966, and even managed to appear on the Gilligan's Island series in one episode, "Don't Bug the Mosquitos", playing a rock & roll band called the Mosquitos (with Les Brown Jr. filling out the fourth spot in the lineup), who come to the island seeking a break from the pursuit of their fans. The group's miming revealed a pleasing folk-rock and pop/rock sound similar to the early Beau Brummels. A group called the Wellingtons had also recorded "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" for Disney, although it's difficult to say if this was the same group. Ironically, the Mosquitos became one of the Wellingtons' most enduring contributions to music, as a psychedlic-punk band of the '80s took the same name. Patterson became a psychiatrist and Wade an attorney, but Kirby remained in music as an arranger, working with acts such as Blood, Sweat & Tears and Ike & Tina Turner. ~ Bruce Eder
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