Thursday, September 3, 2015

Running Faster Than an LP at 78 RPMs

On My Mind For 50 Years...and Counting!

I don’t know what were you doing 50 years ago, but August and September of 1965 were pretty big months in the life of this former 20 year old from Pomona who was then living his dream from a houseboat tied up near Sausalito on the San Francisco Bay. 

We Five’s hit single, “You Were On My Mind” was climbing the charts all across America and the ascent dropped us onto a merry-go-round spinning faster than a record played at 78 RPMs. In a period of about 8 weeks, We Five played concerts in Santa Clara with the Beach Boys, and in San Francisco with Herman’s Hermits and the Turtles. We flew south to tape several installments of “Where The Action Is” on the beach in Malibu, then appeared on Shindig, Shivaree, and Shebang further down Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. A PSA Electra Jet (remember those?) took us back to San Francisco to play a concert with Bill Cosby and to finish recording “Love Me Not Tomorrow.” It was the last song completed and the first track heard on our new album, We Five – You Were On My Mind. The album was released in September of 1965 with a reception at the Continental Hotel—while in Hollywood again for appearances at It’s Boss on the Sunset Strip. Since it was just down the street, we stopped in to Capitol Records to put the finishing touches on our 2nd single, “(Let’s) Get Together,” in Studio B. 

 Exhilarating at the time, but 50 years later, I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

As the month ended, we were taping a live performance on the Hollywood Palace in a segment later memorialized with Fred Astaire’s introduction of us on YouTube: “A few weeks ago, five youngsters from San Francisco made a recording and just like that (Snap!), it became one of the top musical hits in the country.”

You can watch the video at, and for more backstories, check out my book, “Wounds to Bind – A Memoir of the Folk Rock Revolution” at

Monday, August 3, 2015

We Five at McCabes

WE FIVE Special McCabe’s Appearance

You Were On My Mind for 50 Years ….

It’s been 50 years since We Five came to LA from our houseboat in Sausalito to play at IT’S BOSS (now the Comedy Store) and do some TV shows like Where The Action Is, Shindig, and American Bandstand.

For those who have been waiting almost that long for us to play a show on the West Side, the time has come.  We Five will be at McCabe’s, the iconic guitar store and concert club in Santa Monica, for one show on Sunday, August 16. The doors open at 7:30 pm and the show starts at 8:00 pm.

Also on the bill that night will be Jeff Alan Ross with ‘Straight Up: The Songs of Badfinger.’

Should be a great night of music!

For more information and tickets, go to McCabe’s website at

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Remembering BB

A lot has been written and said about BB King and his impact on music this week because of his passing. While I am certainly a fan on that front, one recollection of him will always stand out that had nothing to do with music. We were opening for him in Tahoe and our son Chris was standing alone watching his parents from the wings when BB King approached him. Chris was about 10 at the time and he was wearing a cowboy hat, boots and a fringe vest. BB was a very large man and dwarfed Chris as he bent over and said something then shook his hand and stood with a big hand on his shoulder to watch us. When asked later what BB had said, Chris's comment was, "Hey cowboy, where's your horse?" Above all else, I'll remember him as a good man who reached out to a young boy.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fifty Years and Counting...

Hey, can you believe that it has been fifty years since we recorded You Were On My Mind? We are honored that you still remember that amazing time! Check out this this flashback on

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Getting 'Discovered'

I recently heard from a singer in his 20s who asked for some insights on getting discovered or signed... That's the g'zillion dollar question with no simple answer.
For what it's worth, here's may take on it. - jb

Thanks for writing. I'm glad you somehow found and like the work of We Five.

I'm afraid I don't have any great insights on how to be discovered. We now live in the era of downloads and American Idol-- and it didn't exist when I got started. We were discovered because my partner Michael's brother was in the Kingston Trio and he was a great mentor who eventually led us to a record deal.

Regarding record deals, record labels don't sign and develop acts the way they used to do. They package material by artists that have a following, or serve as an outlet for entertainment management companies that link talent to an audience.
The only thing I can suggest (and it applies to everything, not just music), is to:
1) get good at what you want to do -- that means study (with people better than you), don't limit the kind of music you listen to or sing, and practice everything. Figure out what the successful people are doing regardless of your personal taste and learn to do it; then use your talent to make it your own.
2) find places that use what you want to do and get involved. For a singer, that could be a school, church, theater group or someplace like Disneyland, a band, etc. (though being in a band with friends will often limit your exposure to a lowest common denominator that may limit who sees you. Assuming everyone is good, your singing and performing needs fit what's going on--and yet still somehow stand out).
3) Try out for a talent discovery show and see where you fit in against others in the world who have the same dream.
4) Always do your best when you are performing and be ready to walk through a door if it opens.

I don't know where you live - but there are probably people doing what you want to do in your area making music in churches, clubs, local commercials, community theater, and such. Find them. If there isn't a music business of some kind where you can develop relationships, you may need to go where they are.
In any case, good luck in your pursuit.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jerry Burgan - Outsight Interview

I was asked to do a radio interview that We Five fans might find interesting. It was podcast live to San Francisco and to England this week by Tom Schulte for Outsight.

It began with a discussion of the We Five single, "There Stands The Door" that was released in 1965 and then goes on to cover an array of topics. If you'd like to check it out, the We Five segment starts about 50 minutes in with
There Stands The Door followed by several cuts from my solo CD Jerry Burgan - Reflections, Songs & Stories (available from the Global Recording Artists website at The 30 minute discussion with Tom begins at about 60 minutes. The URL for the interview is

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Parting words for a friend

You may have seen the obituary last month when actor Tim Robbins’ father, Gil Robbins, passed away. He was an old friend of our family who had a profound affect on me in the late 1950s. Gil directed my parents in their church choir in Pomona. He also gave me clarinet lessons, taught music at our school, and directed the boys’ choir where Michael Stewart and I first sang together. Gil was a talented musician who found delight in music as a key element of life. I loved his quirkiness and that he didn’t simply ‘teach’ music. He would seek the unusual--sometimes reading to us from Beethoven’s biography exposing us to the human side of the musical genius. I recall one occasion where he brought a portable pump organ to class, set it up in the class room and proceeded to play-sing-alongs as he huffed and puffed and pumped the pedals. Not everyone was impressed, but I loved it.

His work with the Glee Club at Pomona Catholic High School led to meeting John Stewart and eventually playing bass with him in a folk trio called The Cumberland Three. They signed with Roulette and moved to New York where he remained until retiring. His departure left a void in my musical life until I met John Stewart a few months later. I followed Gil’s career when John left the Cumberland Three to join the Kingston Trio and in the mid-60s would occasionally see him when We Five was in the Big Apple.

Gil went on to play with Harry Belafonte and The Highwaymen and though he was not ‘man on the street’ famous in the classic sense, he was definitely a player. Along with his wife Mary, who was active in children’s theater the last time I saw her, they taught countless of kids like me to embrace music and the performing arts (and Mary died only weeks after he did).

We communicated for while by email when it first appeared, but only enough to regret not really getting to know him as an adult. He will always hold a special place in my heart, and with thanks I say, “Farewell.”