One of the most unusual stories in pop music is that of British singer Tony Burrows, who could be described as a sort of human hit machine. Although his name is not widely recognized, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s he had the knack – and the talent – to show up in an amazing number of musical groups, usually just in time to generate one hit song.
The English-born Burrows began his professional musical career around 1960, when he began to show up in various harmony singing groups, but with limited success. Pop music was chaotic at that time, with groups – many of them packaged by recording industry insiders – appearing and disappearing quickly. Burrows was a solid singer who seemed to always be able to find a singing job, but individual fame eluded him.
He finally found a little traction with a combo named Ivy League, which later became the Flower Pot Men, and then White Plains. Along the way, they had some success with “Let’s Go To San Francisco,” and later, “My Baby Loves Lovin’.”
At one time or another he found himself singing behind everyone from James Last to Elton John, but eventually his career evolved into mostly singing with short-lived singing groups whose recordings went on to sell a lot of copies. Among them were Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes),” the Brotherhood of Man’s “United We Stand,” and the Pipkins’ silly but irresistible novelty song, “Gimme Dat Ding.” (Video below.)
A few years later he was part of a bunch called First Class that had a hit with “Beach Baby,” but subsequent spots with now-forgotten groups such as Domino, Magic, Touch and others were less successful. He eventually moved more and more into the production side of the business, but even though he has continued to make occasional appearances through the years, and sometimes reunites with old band-mates, the ‘human hit machine’ is no longer on the charts.