Desert Island Singles: “Rendezvous” by The Hudson Brothers (1975)Posted: March 26, 2013
The Hudson Brothers were The Monkees* in reverse: they were a real band that got turned into teenybopper idols. Not unlike Hanson. I don’t know what the music industry’s obsession is with chopping and channeling and modifying and rebranding brother acts. (Do they do the same with sister acts?)
* – Disclaimer: I’m a huge Monkees fan. It’s inexcusable that they’re not in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. Another topic for another day.
Bill, Mark, and Brett Hudson started making records in the late ’60s. They recorded under various names and bounced from label to label until the mid ’70s, when they landed on Sir Elton John’s Rocket Records. Their onstage banter and shenanigans were hysterically funny, and they caught the attention of CBS television execs. An evening variety show followed, then a couple of Saturday morning kids’ shows. In the meantime, however, they kept on recording astonishingly good music.
Bill Hudson, the oldest brother, married and divorced Goldie Hawn and is the father of actress Kate Hudson. (Dude, Goldie Hawn, fer crissake.) He still works as a session musician and actor. Middle brother Mark was the bandleader for Joan Rivers’ short-lived late night talk show on Fox, and eventually helped Ringo Starr put together the All-Starr Band. Kid brother Brett was groomed to be a teenybopper idol, which never quite worked out. Later he underwent treatment for throat cancer, and is now in remission and works as a movie producer.
“Rendezvous” is from their best album, Ba-Fa. Produced by Sir Elton’s longtime songwriting collaborator Bernie Taupin, this is about as perfect as a three-and-a-half-minute power pop song gets. Written by the Hudsons and Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, whose influence is easy to hear. More hooks than a tackle box. A great sing-able chorus with falsetto the first two times, and not the third time just to throw us off. A cheesy Farfisa organ and a Clarence Clemons-style sax break. An a capella break near the end that relaunches back to the chorus. And it builds nicely too: it opens with just a guitar riff, adds the Farfisa, and then kicks into high gear. This is sing-along-in-the-car music.
This song just makes me stupidly happy, like Shonen Knife and Mac & Katie Kissoon. Disappointingly, all the Hudsons’ records are out of print. A best-of compilation was released briefly on CD: used copies start at about $75 on Amazon. If any knowledgeable reader can hook me up with some mp3s, give me a shout. I’d be eternally grateful.