This is the last of three Christmas singles that I had time to transfer, digitally restore, scan, zip, and upload (sounds cruel when it's put that way, huh?).
Two weeks ago, Kevin Killion contributed to Otis Fodder's amazing 365 Days project a selection of assorted singles from his college radio days. Among these was the A side of long forgotten Christmas novelty single from 1969.
I found the radio station copy you are looking at on eBay earlier this year and immediately began searching for any clues on Rocki Lane, Jerry Gross, and The Gross Group via the almighty Google.
There was one website for a Jerry Gross who claims to have been born "with the gift of leaving the body at will." Considering the times and the subject matter of this Christmas single, this very well could be him!
Side one begins with Santa Claus stating "I am the oldest and original hippy and I want to know..." Cue Rocki Lane & The Gross Group who sing the rest of the question: "What's so bad about long-haired people?".
Comparisons are then made between hippies and Santa concluding with catch phrases from "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In":
"You bet your sweet bippy Santa Claus is a hippy!" "Here come de sleigh, here come de sleigh!"
It's a gasser... But then we come to the throwaway side two which is anything but! "Santa Soul" is a wild, wall-to-wall instrumental that could have passed for background music while Goldie Hawn frugged on "Laugh-In"!
I've listened to side two many times now and its vitality just gets your adrenalin rushing. Granted, it's not very Christmas-ey, but it's sounds just as good as it did back in 1969. Side A is a wee bit dated but that's the fun of that track too, right?
If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Rocki Lane, Jerry Gross (provided he isn't floating around with Shirley MacLaine), or the Gross Group, please let us know - this is one magic single!
For long haired and short haired people alike:
Rocki Lane & The Gross Group - Christmas 45 - SINGLE
One last word on Otis Fodder's 365 Days Project: earlier this year, I was asked by Otis to contribute something for the Christmas season. Several albums were discussed (including the "Christmas 1971 Veterans Administration Hospital Program" album) and a date was reserved (Wednesday, December 26th).
I chose several after-Christmas radio PSAs and New Year's songs in one fun filled package to help you ring out the old and bring in the new. Look for that the day after Christmas at 365 Days - thanks again Otis!