What about the Poodles?

A few years ago, Napster was considered the number one enemy of the music industry. Today, the big target is bit-torrent file sharing, which works on the principle of a decentralized distribution of material. What most critics of this technology fail to mention is that it wasn’t that long ago, over 20 years ago, when the major motion picture studios rallied to stop the proliferation of the VCR. They claimed it would spell the death of the motion picture industy as they knew it.

Of course, they’re half right. The industry they knew did change radically, yet by some crazy miracle, the motion picture industries actually made more money from the videotape market, and people are still attending movie theaters. Sometimes these “experts” really have no clue….

I recently stumbled upon a rare version of LOUIE LOUIE recorded by The Fabulous Poodles, thanks to bit-torrent technology. I didn’t really know much about the Poodles, other than the fact that they happened to “fab” like the Fabulous Wailers (as opposed to Bob Marley’s Wailers), the Fabulous Stains, and of course, the Fab Four- John, Paul, George, and Ringo. I’d seen their album covers back in the 80’s, but I never got around to check a band that seemed to me nothing more than just another generic new wave band.

It’s nice to discover something that’s been hiding under your nose all these years. Using bit-torrent file sharing, I downloaded a live recording of the Fabulous Poodles from a 1979 FM broadcast from My Father’s Place in Hempstead, NY. In my attempt to download the song, I was forced to download the entire concert. What I discovered was a very entertaining band along the lines of Kinks and the Who, combining catchy pop music with a healthy share of satire. LOUIE LOUIE wasn’t part of their regular show, but they had a special feature where they would encourage audience members to shout out the name of the first record they ever bought, and the Poodles would attempt to play it. So it was at this New York show that the Poodles peformed this song, borrowing heavily from Ray Davies interpretation of the Richard Berry classic.

After enjoying this concert, I decided to see what legitimate product exists of the Poodles. I’d been missing the band all these years, so I figured I had some catching up to do. As it turned out, the Fabulous Poodles only lasted about four years, releasing four albums. During their heyday, the Poodles actually sold more records in the U.S.A. than the Clash. After the band broke up in 1979, the manager of the band waged a nasty war against its members, preventing them from being able to work under their real names.

Lead singer Tony De Meur reinvented himself as “Ronnie Golden,” and began a new career as a standup comedian in order to survive. He started another band known as Ronnie and the Rex” and even put out an album entitled “Return of the Fabulous Poodle.” It’s a fascinating story, and you can read more about it at:

http://www.ronniegolden.com/New%20York%20Review.htm

Needless to say, I might not have been interested in the Fabulous Poodles if not for bit-torrent technology. It’s a great way to share music with people that love music. Now that I’m hip to the Fabulous Poodles, Tony De Meur, and Ronnie Golden, I will certainly pay more attention the next time I hear these names mentioned.

3 comments to What about the Poodles?

  • sarah

    I don’t suppose you know if this torrent is still available do you? My dad is a big fan so i’m trying to hunt it down.
    Alternatively do you know of anywhere else I can find it?

    ta.

  • EP

    Dimeadozen.org is where I first saw this recording shared via bit-torrent.

  • Paul Robertson

    Just remembered that my uncle was in the Poodles – I can’t say that I’ve ever talked to him about it – learned more reading this post of yours – FYI he currently happily living in the county of Dorset

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