Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth Part I: the Review
Book Edited by Kim Cooper and David Smay
By Ronnie

Ahh, the redheaded stepchild of rock 'n roll. Yep, I'm talking about bubblegum! The music that the pinhead intelligentsia of rock critics love to disdain (you know, the ones who take rock 'n roll TOO SERIOUSLY and actually think that Bono & Springsteen have something worth saying!). To some, it is considered the biggest insult to be called "bubblegum". The only insult that is worse is to be compared to Barry Manilow.

I'll admit it...one of the first records I bought with my own money was Don Kirshner's FUN ROCK. So, my consciousness was bombarded by the Archies, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Lemon Pipers, the Ohio Players and more. Add to this a healthy Saturday morning dose of the Archies, the Monkees and all those fab '70s shows which featured assembly line made to order, bubblegum music. But, bubblegum music is cool. It is catchy and infectious. It is timeless. And it SELLS. Hence, the reason why it keeps rearing its gummy head even today, albeit in the modern form of New Kids on the Block, Spice Girls, Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys.

BUBBLEGUM MUSIC IS THE NAKED TRUTH is the best rock 'n roll book I've read in many years. The great thing is that it serves as both a reference guide and an entertaining overview of this often misunderstood genre. It is actually a collection of many different authors, divided up into easy-to read sections. Just some of the sections include: the birth of bubblegum, the artists, the record labels, the producers, the moguls and even some of the collectibles/merchandising. The 'sectioning' of the book allowed me to skip ahead to some of the groups that I was more familiar with (the Archies, Bay City Rollers, etc).

Here are just a few of the fun trivial facts you will uncover:

  • Who came up with the term, "bubblegum".
  • What teen heartthrob did ABC briefly consider to replace the departing David Cassidy on the Partridge Family? (Shirley Partridge was to remarry and this was to be her new stepson)
  • What legendary punk band did the Bay City Rollers inspire on one of their best-known songs?
  • What connects the Bubblemetal group, Kiss to bubblegum? (Hint: it ainít just the merchandising)
  • Which anonymous bubble-singer actually charted twice with two different groups at the same time?

Additionally, this book is a learning tool when it comes to bubblegum. You come away with a healthy respect for such ruthless business practices, which ruled, bubblegum. There were a few surprises, too. For instance the sections on the Spanish & Japanese bubblegum phenomenon. There is a "recommended listening" section, which helped jog my memory to a few acts I'd forgotten about. My ONLY critique of this book is that there aren't any images in color! Bubblegum music is a Technicolor format. But, then again, I've got to realize the cost involved.

I can't say enough about this book. To get a little perspective, BUBBLEGUM MUSIC IS THE NAKED TRUTH has entered my hallowed shelve of much-re-read treasured rock 'n roll reference books.

WARNING: Like bubblegum music itself, this book is addictive.

BUBBLEGUM MUSIC IS THE NAKED TRUTH inspired me to go to WinMX (sorry, but Napster is dead thanks to Metalicca) to assemble my own bubblegum collection of mp3's. Over the years, I've lost all my copies of those vinyl 45's, my cereal box records, plus my much-treasured copy of FUN ROCK. Its been three days now since I've downloaded the Archies, "Jingle Jangle" and I can't get the damn thing out of my head! I'm still humming it!

Click here for part II - Our interview with the editors

Click here to find more about the book:

More Groovy Bubblegum Sites:

Click here for Bubblegum World
Click here for The Classic Bubblegum Music Page
Click here for Bubblegum Music
Click here for C'mon Get Happy
Click here for The Partridge Family Temple