Picture from the liner notes in "Let's
Talk About Girls"
Along with the Grodes, the Dearly Beloved were Tucson, AZ's top group in
the mid-'60s. They started out in 1963 as a surf music combo called the
Intruders, who were heavily influenced by the Ventures, and added singer
Larry Cox to their line-up in early 1964. The Intruders cut one single,
"Everytime It's You" b/w "Let Me Stay," as a result of winning a battle
of the bands contest. The single wasn't much, although it had a vaguely
Beatle-esque quality and showed a band with a lot of potential, and this
was borne out by their local reputation--by the spring of 1964 they were
one of the hottest bands in Tucson. The quintet was forced to change
their name when they learned that there was a vocal group of the same
name based in Detroit--they existed very briefly as the Quinstrells and
then, at the behest of Dan Gates, a local disc jockey and
producer-manager who came in to help guide the group's fortunes, they
became the Dearly Beloved.
The group broke out of Tucson in 1966, playing clubs as far away as Los
Angeles and teen fairs throughout the west and southwest. They also cut
a strange novelty single, "Peep Peep Pop Pop," which had been foisted on
them by Gates, which became a No. 1 hit in Tucson when issued on the
local Boyd label, which got Columbia Records interested in the band. A
Columbia version of the single was issued and scraped the lower reaches
of the Billboard Hot 100, even getting onto American Bandstand's
rate-a-record segment. They also recorded a complete album for the label
that stayed in the can for 30 years. One lawsuit later, they were on
White Whale, with a lot of promise before them, and then it all fell
apart when Larry Cox was killed in a car crash that took place while the
band was driving back to Tucson, to get Cox to his wedding the next day.
The group never recovered, despite getting an unexpected regional hit
out of the song "Flight 13," the B-side of their one attempt to cut a
record after Cox's death.
Their seven singles are passable period pop/garage rock that don't
measure up to the standards of literally hundreds of better obscure '60s
garage groups throughout the country. The evidence from their unreleased
Columbia LP, part of which was issued in 1997 on Dionysus Records'
Tucson garage band collection Let's Talk About Girls, shows that they
did have a good ear for hooks and a hard attack on their instruments
that translated well in the studio, and Cox to be a strong singer. Had
he lived, the Dearly Beloved might've been White Whale's answer to the
Bassist Shep Cooke went on to join the Stone Poneys briefly,
before returning to the Dearly Beloved during their final days, and went
on to play on albums by Tom Waits, Linda Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne.
Richie Unterberger, Bruce Eder, All Music Guide
Some information and all samples from "Let's
Talk About Girls"
- Shep Cooke
- Larry Cox
- Terry Lee
- Leonardo Lopez
- Rick Mellinger
- Tom Ripley
- Pete Schuyler
- Val Valinto
- Tom Walker