Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

The Surf Symphony’s Sole 7-Inch

Who are/were The Surf Symphony — and why just the one Capitol 45?

Night of the Lions

The Surf Symphony (1969)

Wait!  As it turns out, the joke’s on us:   This is a “supercharged” instrumental version of the song “Night of the Lions” from Mark Eric‘s A Midsummer’s Day Dream. released in 1969.  Imagine your first album is coming out – on a major label – so you release your first 45 … under a completely different name!  It actually happened, but why — was it a bid to stir up controversy?

Mark Eric Malmborg

Mark Eric LP

Much more intriguing, however, is the flip side “That Bluebird of Summer,” a composition that embodies Brian Wilson’s distinctive ‘West Coast’ musical sensibility to an uncanny degree – as if it were some so well long lost track from Smile (actually, more like Friends).

This Surf Symphony B-side is included on 2013’s Book a Trip 2 – More Psych Pop Sounds of Capitol Records — wish I had the liner notes to refer to.

45Cat identifies Mike Rubini and Vic Briggs as producers, with Jan Rubini and Vic Briggs tagged as arrangers., meanwhile, indicates Jan Rubini to be the conductor.

Impossible not to notice that A Midsummer’s Day Dream would be released on a different label, Revue.  As Rockasteria explains —

Eric and his collaborator/arranger, former Animals guitarist Vic Briggs, apparently wrote these twelve tracks intending to place them with other acts.  The sessions were apparently only intended to demo the material, but the results were so impressive that Revue decided to release it as a Marc Eric effort.

Note use of “Future Shock” typeface for label name, Revue

Mark Eric LP-aMark Eric LP-b

One other 45 from that album would be released – “Where Do the Girls of the Summer Go” b/w “California Home” – however, it would be issued under the name ‘Mark Eric‘!

This one album and two 45s would be Mark Eric Malmborg’s entire recorded output.


Gaffe Alert!

Mark Eric, as it turns out, is not actually involved with the Surf Symphony — Zero to 180 missed the boat on this one, as the comment appended below attests.  Musician credits for this album reveal Mark Eric to have merely authored the album’s closing track.

Musical personnel on Surf Symphony’s 1969 Song of Summer LP:

Bass:  Lyle Ritz & Ray Pohlman
Cello:  Anne Goodman, Frederick Seykora, Jesse Ehrlich & Raymond Kelley
Drums:  Jim Gordon
French Horn:  Arthur Maebe, George Price, Henry Sigismonti, Richard Perissi, Vincent Da Rosa & William Hinshaw
Guitar:  Ben Benay, Mike Deasy & Vic Briggs
Harp:  Gail Laughton
Keyboards:  John Myles & Mike Rubini
Percussion:  Gary Coleman
Trombone:  Dick Hyde & Lou McCreary
Trumpet:  Olliver Mitchell & Virgil Evans
Viola:  Gareth Nuttycombe, Joseph Di Fiore, Louis Kievman & Samuel Boghossian
Violin:  Arnold Belnick, Assa Drori, Darrel Terwilliger, Herman Clebanoff, John De Voogdt, Leonard Malarsky, Lou Klass, Lou Raderman, Marshall Sosson, Michael Nutt & Nathan Ross
Woodwind:  Jim Horn & Jules Jacob

* * *

Concertmaster:  James Getzoff

Conductor:  Jan Rubini

Copyist:  Barbara Caton, Norman Bartold, Roy Caton & Virgil Evans

Engineer:  Jack E. Hunt

Producer:  Michel Rubini & Victor Briggs

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One Response

  1. Contrary to what you claim, this is not Mark Eric, only his song and his arranger. Steve Stanley’s notes to the Book a Trip 2 CD state:

    “A 1969 studio project of conductor/violinist Jan Rubini, pianist/composer Mike Rubini and ex-Animal/arranger Vic Briggs, The Surf Symphony included a plethora of LA Philharmonic members and Wrecking Crewers. They released one lushly orchestrated LP on Capitol, Song of Summer, which included the single ‘That Bluebird Of Summer’, b/w a bombastic cover of Mark Eric’s ‘Night Of The Lions’. Sounding like a lost track from The Beach Boys’ Friends album (with that distinctively compressed piano sound) ‘That Bluebird Of Summer’ was penned by ‘M. Marquette’, a pseudonym for Mike Rubini.”

    Both the back cover of the LP (Capitol ST-329) and the CD booklet list the full personnel involved: 41 persons in all, none of whom is Mark Eric. Apparently the existence of the LP was unknown to you?

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