The History of THE GLITTERHOUSE
The History of THE GLITTERHOUSE
The Glitterhouse meet up in 1965
The Glitterhouse started as a Great Neck band, since that
is where Mike Gayle was raised and lived at the time of their earliest
"Silence best beloved and a story will unfold, 'bout the magic
chocolate children that were hidden by the cold, And the creamy
kosher village and the places that I played......" *
* Mike Gayle wrote in his song, "Going Home" and so it
was. Mike is an African-American raised in the middle class, almost all
white and Jewish enclave, of Great Neck, Long Island. All color barriers
would soon be broken however, when Mike played his songs for anyone. Everyone
wanted to join his band.
It was at a party on Long Island in 1965 where Mike Gayle first
met Hank Aberle and Al Lax. Hank and Al had grown up together as friends
in Manhattan. They were playing at this party with their band, "The Outsiders".
Mike Gayle sat in with them and they jammed the nite away. The
three of them decided to form a band and started rehearsing in Greenwich
Village at the apartment Mike Gayle shared with his Great Neck buddy, now
famous rock photographer, Bob Gruen, at 110 Sullivan street.
Rehearsals and early gigs were moved to Great Neck, where Mike
and new drummer, Tommy Weiner, had grown up and whose families still had
homes there. The basements of said homes were perfect for rock bands to
"The Justice League" as they were now called also played at many
parties in Great Neck then. This is also where a 15 year old Moogy Klingman
heard them (he lived in Great Neck too!) and plotted to become their keyboard
The Glitterhouse under different names records single in
In 1966 the Justice League got their first record deal with a new
Gary Reems, who was a painter by trade (art not houses!). With a singles
deal at one of America's major rock labels, they called themselves the
"Pop Art" on their first single (their manager's idea). By the time they
went to record the second single in 1967, Moogy Klingman had joined the
band on keyboards. Mike Gayle had decided to leave the band, after cutting
the tracks. So Dave Heenan, from England, took over as lead singer and
the "Dave Heenan Set" was the name on the second single. Moogy did not
get along with Heenan, and left to regroup with Mike Gayle.
So it was that in the fall of 1967, that Mike, Moogy, Hank and
Al regrouped after the Dave Heenan thing fell apart. With Moogy's buddy
from James Taylor's "Flying Machine", Joel O'Brien, (also from Great Neck!)
at liberty since the break-up of his band with the aforementioned Mr. Taylor,
the newly named "Glitterhouse" had found a perfect drummer. The band rehearsed
prodigiously. Getting tight on a variety of potential Mike Gayle hits,
in their own loft, these guys became a great band.
The Glitterhouse sign with Bob Crew and make some records
But few gigs, or offers came thru. Though some record people saw
rehearsal and expressed mild interest (Paul Rothchild at Electra) no
deals or good gigs came thru. The band was on the verge of breaking up
when Moogy's father got the band a job playing at the party celebrating
the release of a book, "The Birds of Britain". It was a picture book about
British models....get it?
At this party was, none other than Bob Crewe, who had written
and released a single to go with the book release! America's top hitmaker
as a record producer and songwriter at that time, Crewe had no less than
five songs by five different artists in the top ten! The Four Seasons,
Frankie Valli, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Lesley Gore and the
Bob Crewe Generation all had hits on the top of the charts when the Glitterhouse
signed with Bob Crew and his new record label at the end of 1967. Crewe
was so floored by hearing the band at the "Birds of Britain" party that
he brought them into the studio for a quick audition taping. That's Crewe's
voice, himself, telling the band that it's a rap, at the end of "New York
The band was signed almost overnite, and with no contract negociations
with things like lawyers to slow things up. They asked the band to "just
sign" and the band just signed. Immediately they were put on a salary of
around $100 a week a man, and given a room in Crewe's offices to rehearse
til Crewe was ready to record. It would take Crewe at least eight months
til he started recording "Color Blind", the band's album. The band was
told not to gig, as Crewe's label wanted to keep them a secret til they
were sprung on the world.
When Bob Crewe finally started work on the Glitterhouse album,
he saw the band as his way to get some legitimacy and artistic appreciation
as a great recorder producer. Though his biggest act, the Four Seasons
with Frankie Valli, had almost as many hits as the Beatles, they did not
have the artistic acceptance and this hurt Bob Crewe, their producer and
sometime songwriter. The Glitterhouse, Crewe thought, would change all
that with their Beatle/Loving Spoonful influences and their many potential
The sessions took place at A &R studios in NYC on west 48th
street. The engineers were Roy Cicala and his assistant, Shelly Yakus,
in early 1968. Cicala and Yakus had worked on all the Four Seasons hits,
and would soon open the Record Plant and engineer many of John Lennon's
solo albums, among others.
While the "Glitterhouse" took the day shift, at nite Yakus and
Cicali were engineering another album in the same studio. It was to be
called, "Music from Big Pink" by the Band.
Bob Crewe was a creative genius in the recording studio. He depended
totally on inspiration and would always invent ideas on the spot. With
the Glitterhouse, he mostly rearranged most of their songs as they would
record them. He'd come up with ideas for vocal arrangements and would often
sing on the background vocals, as he did with the Four Seasons. Sometimes
he would make Mike rewrite songs, or sometimes Bob would just rewrite things
himself. He was the kind of record producer that turned every act into
a "Bob Crewe" sound. He was a bit like Phil Spector in that respect.
But the Glitterhouse were not happy having their straight ahead
pop songs turned into strange and often corny confections. But no one would
stand up to Crewe, so the Glitterhouse album was turned into a full blown
"Bob Crewe Production". But to many an ear, this album was a creative and
unusally strong pop album. Though sometimes Crewe could be overbearing
(Child of Darkness), often he added a smooth pop shimmer and gloss to some
already very catchy tunes (Tinkerbell's Mind, Happy to Have You Here Again).
The first nine cuts on this collection are that album and represent the
Glitterhouse at their slickest and most commercial.
Even with Crewe's meddling in their music, the band was impressed
by the professional nature of the whole enterprise in the studio. They
learned much from Crewe about making records. Crewe liked working with
the band so much, that he asked them to perform a few songs for his soundtrack
to the movie, "Barbarella". This Jane Fonda/Roger Vadim film was getting
mucho publicity at the time due to their relationship. So, it sounded like
a really good thing for the Glitterhouse.
Crewe used studio musicians instead of the Glitterhouse to play
on the tracks. So for the three Barbarella songs it was just the Glitterhouse
as singers and on Bob Crewe/Charles Fox songs instead of Mike Gayle songs.
Though Moogy and Hank played harmonica and Moogy played organ on "Love
Drags Me Down", these three songs from Barbarella are the Glitterhouse
at their most atypical. It was fun for the Glitterhouse to be in the studio
with Roger Vadim and see scenes from the movie as they sang the songs.
When today's stars of tomorrow don’t happen overnight
Bob Crewe had a master plan for the group, "the Glitterhouse", who
had been on his payroll for almost a year at the time that their first
recordings came out. Crewe envisioned a one-two punch! Hit them with the
"Barbarella soundtrack album and then two months later, the Glitterhouse
album, "Color Blind"! Superstardom was surely around the corner at last
for the now warehoused Glitterhouse. Big hits and big concerts?
"Barbarella" the single, did not happen for the Glitterhouse.
The soundtrack album had some success but didn't seem to translate into
any recognition for the band. The presence of the Glitterhouse was downplayed
on the record and it seemed mostly a showcase for Bob Crewe and Charles
The release of "Color Blind - First Edition" was quick &
quiet. A single from the album, "Tinkerbell's Mind" made the top 50 in
NYC, but died elsewhere. Any publicity was small indeed, and the band was
never put out on the road or to play live. Outside of a local TV lipsync
show or two, and doing a set at a department store in the book section
where they followed Joan Crawford selling her bio(!), there were no Glitterhouse
About four weeks after the release of "Color Blind", when it
was clear that the single had bombed, the Glitterhouse were taken off their
meager salary, given no gigs and told to make do. Crewe had the band do
some new demoes but there was also descension in the band. Mike Gayle wanted
to go for more of a trio sound. So, the Glitterhouse, attacked from without
and within soon broke up and were readily released from their record label.
One can only theorize about why the Glitterhouse were treated
so shoddily by Crewe and his label. The Glitterhouse were a great live
band that was never given an opportunity to play live. Crewe's company
also managed them. Perhaps the label couldn't deal with a white sounding
pop band fronted by a Black man. Who knows? Having released two bomb singles
was perhaps another turning point for the label in their relationship with
the band. In any case, no one from the band was to ever see a royalty statement
nor any money from either the "Color Blind" album or the "Barbarella" album.
The group finally comes back together for a brief reunion
Joel O'Brien joined James Taylor in England and played on his debut
Apple album. The Bishop, as he was known, then join Carol King's group
and played on her smash album, "Tapestry". Hank became a recording engineer.
Al became a furniture salesman. Moogy joined Todd Rundgren and his band,
Utopia after releasing a solo album on Capitol Records. Moogy then opened
a recording studio with Todd, called Secret Sound.
It was here that Moogy called the Glitterhouse back together
in 1974 for a reunion. Using different drummers as Joel was living on the
coast at the time. Moogy, Mike, Al and Hank recorded vocals and Moogy,
Mike with Leo Adamian or John Wilcox on drums and John Seigler on bass
cut the trax. "Grandma....", "Going Home" and "Rainbow Child" were new
Mike Gayle songs and were great. Better than ever. But Mike was elusive
and the project was never completed. Mike Gayle left New York and was seldom
heard from again by the other former members of the Glitterhouse.
At a last jam session in 74, Moogy set up a microphone and the
four of them ran thru some of the old tunes. It was here that Hank sang
"For Ann, Liz and Harvee", a fit ending to this collection of songs from
the Glitterhouse. This group had a special magic for they loved the music
they worked on.
And the songs of Mike Gayle in the late sixties and early seventies
were some of the best songs written in that era. Mike never got his due
as a songwriter, but maybe now with this collection, some people will come
to understand his greatness and that of his belated band, the Glitterhouse.
I. C. Timerow - December, 2002
All Photographs by Bob Gruen
Moogy Klingman, Al
Joel O'Brien, Mike
- Seated: Hank Aberle
(Below are the original liner notes from the Glitterhouse's "Color Blind"
album, written by then popular NYC FM radio jock, Rosko.)
I was a vacuum - I smelled a rose- that vacuum was
I was a vacuum - I saw a child - that vacuum was
I was a vacuum - I touched my love - that vacuum
I was a vacuum - I heard music -
"The Glitterhouse" - expressing extensions of everything
extensions of what we are - the reward of what we could be; .....new
dimensions of the folly and heroics of society; of fickle lady justice
and the long nights she capriciously gives injustice a lay;.....extensions
of words set to music effecting a union so complete that it becomes music
set to words.
I heard music - "The Glitterhouse" - and my vacuum
was filled...listen and fill your vacuum.
ROSKO- WNEW-FM New York 1968
The Glitterhouse Album - "Colorblind- First Edition" - 1968
1.Tinkerbell's Mind - 4:43 hear
2. Princess of the Gingerland - 4:24 hear
3. Sassafrass and Cinnamon - 4:16 hear
a 60 sec sample
4. Child of Darkness - 4:22
5. I Lost Me a Friend - 4:19
a 60 sec sample
6. Times are Getting Hard - 3:50 hear
a 60 sec sample
7. Where Have You Been Hiding? - 2:56
8. Hey Woman - 3:55
a 60 sec sample
9. Happy to Have You Here Again - 3:25 hear
a 60 sec sample
Songs from "Barbarella" Soundtrack Album featuring the Glitterhouse
10. Barbarella - 2:43 Listen
11. Love Drags Me Down - 3:45
12. I Love All the Love in You - 3:52
The Early Singles - 1966/67
13. Rumpelstiltskin - 2:26
14. Ode to an Unknown Girl - 2:05
15. Alice in Wonderland - 2:32
16. So Many Roads - 2:54
The audition tape - 1967
17. New York Blues - 3:40
In house demos - 1968
18. Born to the Blues - 2:12
19. It's Going to Take Some Time - 1:49
The Glitterhouse Reunion demoes - 1974
20. Grandma, Why Do You Live in Harlem? - 4:10
21. Going Home - 4:58
22. Rainbow Child - 3:32
23. For Ann, Liz and Harvee 3:14
The Glitterhouse: Mike Gayle - lead guitar and lead vocals, Hank Aberle
- harmony vocals, guitar, violin (cut 1), lead vocal on cut 23 - Al Lax
- Hi harmonies and bass, Moogy Klingman - Keyboards, and lead vocal on
cut 19, Joel "Bishop" O'Brien - drums except* and lead vocal on cut 18
Songs 1 thru 12 produced by Bob Crewe and engineered by Roy Cicala
Yakus at A &R studios, NYC. Songs 13 thru 16 were produced by Weiss
Songs 17 thu 23 were all basically demoes produced by the Glitterhouse.
All songs written by Mike Gayle except songs, 10, 11, 12 which were
written by Bob Crewe and Charles Fox, Song 13 which was written by P.Cowap
and song 23, which was written by Mike Gayle and Moogy Klingman
*Gary Reems plays drums on cuts 13 thru 16, Leo Adamion
played drums on cuts 20 & 21, John Wilcox played drums on cut 22, John
Seigler played bass on cuts 20, 21 & 22, Bob Crewe played some percussion
and sang some backgrounds on cuts 1 thru 12
The Bob Crewe Orchestra played all the instruments on cuts 10, 11 and
12 except for Moogy and Hank on harmonica and Moogy on organ.