After previously dabbling with Jefferson Starship, I’m ready for another shot at a guilty pleasure.
‘Don’t Pull Your Love’ was the first (and second-biggest) hit by this cheesy, early ‘70’s Los Angeles soft rock quartet. Wait, they weren’t actually a quartet? For years my friends Zing, Messiah and I have debated how many members this band had, and how the names were properly divided. Was it – Hamilton, Joe, Frank & Reynolds (the most obvious foursome, but no); Could it be just one guy – Hamilton Joe Frankenreynolds (sadly not); Hold on, was it five people – Hamilton, Joe, Frank, Ann, Reynolds (nope, just gents here); How about a duo – Hamilton Joe Frank & Reynolds (uh, no); Okay, were they a trio of Hamilton Joe, Frank & Reynolds (still not it). One day recently I finally just Googled them – a dumb move, really, as it kind of ruined the whole thing for us. The actual band members: Dan Hamilton, Joe Frank Carollo, and Tommy Reynolds. Ergo, Hamilton (1), Joe Frank (2) & Reynolds (3). Mystery solved. Yet, it’s still pretty amusing to wonder why they chose to name themselves using two of their last names bracketing the first + middle name of the other member. Maybe that’s even stranger than not knowing if they were somewhere between a solo act and a quintet.
Just a year after this hit, which peaked at #4 on the Billboard chart, Tommy Reynolds left the band, to be replaced by new keyboardist Alan Dennison. But the band floundered and eventually had their contract with Dunhill Records cancelled. Then two years later in 1974 they were able to again secure a recording deal with a new label, Playboy Records, but only under the proviso that they retain the name Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds – even though Reynolds had long since left the band! This confounding band name containing between 1 and 5 people was so renowned they couldn’t bear to change it up?! (and could, say, Emerson, Lake & Palmer still continue with its name with no Palmer?)
Well, maybe the record company knew something: within a few months they released ‘Fallin’ In Love’ (I bet you’d remember that chorus, “Baby, baby, fallin’ in love / I’m fallin’ in love again”), which climbed all the way to Billboard #1. Buoyed by this extraordinary success, Playboy management acceded to the band’s overdue name update request, and soon thereafter Hamilton, Joe Frank & Dennison released their follow-up album. It totally flopped, and a short time later they had disbanded. It’s a shame the 4, no 2, I mean 3 of them, had to go messing with such a sure thing.
> Following a little research, I found that we weren’t the only ones confused by the band’s name. Check out this clip from the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 show