The Cascades began aboard the Navy ship, The U.S.S. Jason AR-8 back in the early 1960's. Dave Wilson and John Gummoe sitting
around the fantail singing harmony to the guitar playing of Len Green; mostly singing the songs of the Everly Bros., The Lettermen,
The Four Freshman. We loved the close harmony thing. The Beatles, The Stones and the English Invasion had yet to come.
We began performing in Navy Service Clubs at most all the many Navy bases in San Diego and entered and
WON! A few talent contests as well. I acted as the group's manager back then as well as performing with the group and we were
known during that period as "The Thundertones"; the name coming from a song that Len Green had written called "Thunder Rhythm".
In our off-duty hourse, we spent much time (often 14-15 hours a day) writing original tunes and then trying with our cheap mikes
and even cheaper equipment to turn out some half-way decent demos that we could shop around in Hollywood and try for a "big time"
recording deal. Young Dave Stevens, our bass player, acted as engineer.
Not knowing any better, we begin driving up to La La Land and knocking on doors in Hollywood and eventually we landed on the doorstep
of Liberty Records where we were fortunate enough to get an interview with the legendary record man, Don Blocker. He told us that
we should not be shopping our own stuff and that we needed a manager; enter Andy Di Martino, a guitar teacher in San Diego and
wannabe personal manager. Andy liked what he heard and was soon representing us around Tinsel Town and in about three months, he
was sitting at the desk of Barry De Vorzon and Billy Sherman of Valiant Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. They also liked what
they heard and in the summer of 1962, we released our first record for them, a song I wrote called "There's a Reason" which is
one of my favorite songs on this collection. That song laid the groundwork with the DJs around the country and set the stage for our
next release, another of my tunes called "Rhythm of the Rain".
"Rhythm of the Rain" was released in November of 1962 and by January of 1963 it hit the Billboard Top 100 at 80, with a bullet!!
It rose rapidly up the charts, sometimes jumping 20 points at a time until it at last reached the #2 spot. All that kept it out of #1
was a song called "Walk Like a Man" by The Four Seasons.
In the following months, "Rain" reigned on the International music scene, going to #1 in almost every country in the world! Spain,
Germany, Hong Kong, The Philippines, Japan, England, Ireland, Belgium and many more. At teh close of 1963, Billboard rated it the
third largest selling single in the world!
Through the decades, "Rhythm of the Rain" has been covered by such diverse artists as Lawrence Welk, the late Floyd Cramer, Jan
and Dean, Johnny Rivers, Bobby Darin, Percy Faith, Johnny Tillotson and many more, too numerous to mention. It has twice been a
top twenty country hit and more recently wen all the way to #2 on the adult contemporary chart; a fabulous interpretation of my song
done by Dan Fogelberg, who by the way has always been one of my idols. "Rain" has been recorded in English, French, Spanish,
Japanese, Dutch, German, and recently on a trip through Arizona, I had a young girl sing me my song in Portugese.
Our next hit after "Rhythm of the Rain" was the hauntingly beatuiful song, "The Last Leaf" and we continued on the
charts with that one. Another chart record for us was the Jerry Fuller penned, "For Your Sweet Love" which was one of our first
releases after moving to RCA Victor. We so enjoyed doing "Little Betty Falling Star" penned by Hal David and Burt Bacharach.
Several tunes, like "Cinderella" once again showed up on the charts all across the world. I sure hope you all enjoy
"Awake", penned by J.J. Jackson which is one of my all-time favorites.
Our frist records were done at the legendary Gold Star Studios and engineered by Stan Ross who was probably responsible for more hits
in the late 50's and early 60's than any other sound engineer in Hollywood. Gold Star and Stan worked with a young producer, just
beginning his career whose name was Phil Spector and what a career that was!! Everyone heard the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" back in
those days. Phil walked into the studio one day as were were doing the vocal tracks to "Rhythm of the Rain" and stood around
listening for quite a long time. Later, as we took a break he walked over and complimented us on what we were doing and then asked, "Are
you cutting a demo for Ricky nelson?" Well, how was he to know.
More than three decades have gone by and "Rhythm of the Rain" is more popular now than ever! I am very proud to say that I
have just received a Special Citation of Achievement presented by Broadcast Music, Inc. in recognition of over 6.5 million broadcast
Lead Signer of The Cascades