Proudly Canadian The Staccatos

The Staccatos 1965.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The band The Staccatos was formed in Ottawa, Canada in 1963. The band initially consisted of Dean Hagopian (vocals), Vern Craig (guitars), Brian Rading (bass), and Rick Bell (drums/vocals, born Rick Belanger). Hagopian left after about a year, and was replaced by vocalist and guitarist Les Emmerson, who would quickly become the band's prime songwriter, while Bell and Emmerson split lead vocal duties.

The Staccatos made their debut as a recording act in 1965, with their early singles being written by the team of Craig and Emmerson. After releasing a non-charting single on a small independent label, the group signed to Capitol Records of Canada, and their second single, "Small Town Girl", made it into the Canadian top 20. Several follow-ups also cracked the top 40, and The Staccatos were rising stars in their native country. Their debut album, Initially, came out in 1966, and featured their hits to that point as well as several new recordings.

In the summer of 1966, Mike Bell (Rick's brother) joined the group as a second drummer and third vocalist. Shortly thereafter, the group had their biggest hit to date with "Half Past Midnight", which made it all the way to #8 on the Canadian charts. This was the second Staccatos single written solely by Emmerson, who by this point had taken over writing virtually all of the band's original material. Also in 1967, The Staccatos issued a joint album with The Guess Who, each band taking up one side of the LP.

“It’s a Long Way Home” was a song that never really made the charts in any serious way but showed the band could have a serious ballad side to their vocals.

The Staccatos follow-ups to "Half Past Midnight" did not meet with as much success in Canada. In the US, the situation was worse – the band's singles (released by Capitol and Tower) failed to chart at all. Looking for a new direction, at the end of 1968, Ted Gerow was added to the line-up on keyboards, and shortly thereafter, Vern Craig left. Around the same time, while recording their second full album, the band was prompted to change their name by producer Nick Venet's comment that the name The Staccatos sounded "dated". After discussing various possibilities, bassist Rading seized upon a song Emmerson had written called "Five Man Electrical Band", claiming that's exactly what the group was. The band's name was duly changed, and Five Man Electrical Band released their self-titled album in early 1969.

Half Past Midnight
youtu.be/9blxLXSQ7Es

It’s a Long Way Home
youtu.be/c6h4_r5nU9k