Chicago’s Faux-British Buckinghams

The British musical invasion of the Sixties changed the face of pop music, but not just in terms of the music itself. The songs from bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were tremendously popular, but a lot of American bands also adopted the look, complete with shaggy haircuts and English-style clothes. I’ve written before about the subject (Beau Brummels) but there were a lot of bands going down that road, and some of them had a surprising amount of success. For a while, one of the most popular was the group known as the Buckinghams.

A Chicago-based quintet that hit stardom very early — in fact, several of the guys were still in high school when they began to attract attention — the group was originally known as the Pulsations, but changed its name to one buckthat sounded more British. It was led by the vocal talents of Dennis Tufano, but included some solid singing from guitarist Carl Giammarese, bassist Nick Fortuna, drummer John Poulos, and keyboardist Dennis Miccolis.

It didn’t take long for the Buckinghams to find a record company and success soon followed. The guys were a big hit with fans and their look probably didn’t hurt, even if they didn’t really claim to be British. The group’s music was all over the charts in 1967, with solid hits on “Don’t You Care,” (video below) “Hey Baby (They’re Playing Our Song),” “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” and of course their huge number-one, “Kind Of A Drag.”

By the following year, things were slowing down a little for the guys, although they continued to sell some records with songs like “Susan” and “Back In Love Again.” However, the end was in sight and eventually the members of the group began going their own way, dissolving the band in 1970. In later years, original members Giammarese and Fortuna started up the group again to tour the Oldies circuit, and have done well keeping alive the music they made famous.


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