Red Rubber Ball

Album: Red Rubber Ball (1966)
Charted: 2
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Songfacts®:

  • In 1964, Simon & Garfunkel's released their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., which was a flop. Paul Simon relocated to England before returning to the US a year later after finding out that the song "The Sound Of Silence" had been overdubbed with electric instruments and was a now a huge hit. It was in this period when Simon was pursuing a solo career that he met Bruce Woodley, who was a songwriter and member of the Seekers, and the two wrote this song. It was intended for The Seekers, but Woodley's bandmates turned it down.
  • This was The Cyrkle's first hit. It was recorded when the band was in danger of disbanding over creative differences. Tom Dawes (the band's bassist) was touring with Simon & Garfunkel, when Simon offered his band this song. When Simon & Garfunkel finished their tour, The Cyrkle recorded it, and their manager, Brian Epstein (who also managed the Beatles), hired them to open for the Beatles' 1966 summer tour, which had audiences of up to 70,000 people.
  • The Seekers finally recorded a version of this song for their 1966 album Georgy Girl. A live version by Simon & Garfunkel can be found on their 1997 collection Old Friends. Other artists who have covered this song include Del Shannon and Mel Torme. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for above 3
  • The Cyrkle were known as the Rondells, before Brian Epstein became their manager and renamed them. John Lennon came up with the new name.
  • In the US, this was on the charts at the same time as Simon & Garfunkel's "I Am A Rock."
  • This was produced by John Simon, who would later produce the landmark album by The Band, Music From Big Pink, and also the album Cheap Thrills by Janis Joplin's band Big Brother & the Holding Company.

Comments: 21

  • Joey Brunn from Manassas, VirginiaA friend of mine, named Gary White, now deceased, claimed that he, not Tom Dawes, played bass on this hit, when Tom came down with an illness on the day they recorded it. Can you look into this please?
  • Sam Williams from Sherman Oaks.Hey! So I wanted to get back on here and clear up a big misconception I had about this band. For a long time I thought this band like many bands from the 60’s didn’t play on their own records, and their producer used session musicians on their records. I didn’t know I was wrong until I read an article about the making of this record that was printed by Mix Magazine in their Classic Tracks series. According to that article, this track was cut at CBS Studios in New York (in Studio B with Roy Halee Engineering the session) and the band members played on the session with Tom Dawes playing bass and acoustic guitar, and Don Dannerman playing the electric guitar and Marty Fried on drums and the band’s producer (who was not Tom Wilson but actually John Simon) on Organ. John Simon and Tom Dawes overdubbed tambourine on the track as well, and it was all done on a 4 track machine. On a side note, Tom Dawes also played the sitar line on their next hit “Turn Down Day” and the story of them being offered 59th Street Bridge and them turning it down an offer to record the song is totally true. (On another note I think the Seekers were also offered to record Red Rubber Ball first since the song’s co writer Bruce Woodley was a core member of that group but I believe they also turned it down, even though there is a version of them doing the song that exists. The moral of this story is that this band completely danced around Paul Simon when Simon & Garfunkel were hot as hell but they really held their own and managed to have a couple of memorable and big hits back then, and just the Beatles connection alone with this band is still awesome within itself).
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaWeren't the Rondels the name of a band with Bill Neal?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyHere's some obscure trivia:
    On September 10th 1897, the first documented DWI occurred when London, England cab driver George Smith was arrested after his taxi slammed into the side of a building...
    He was fined 25 shillings...
    And seventy-one years later on April 7th, 1968 Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #73; on its 2nd and 3rd week on the chart it was at #62, then it fell completely of the Top 100...
    OK, here's the connection; the B-side of Neil's "Red Red Wine" was his covered version of "Red Rubber Ball".
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 11th 1966, the Cyrkle performed "Red Rubber Ball" on the NBC-TV program 'Hullabaloo'...
    The following month on May 15th, 1966 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at #90; seven weeks later on July 3th, 1966 it would peak at #2 {for 1 week} and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    The week "Red Rubber Ball" was at #2 on the Top 100, the #1 record for that week was "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles...
    And then on July 11th, 1966 "Red Rubber Ball" reached #1 {for 1 week} on the Canadian RPM Singles chart, the record it bumped out of the top spot, "Paperback Writer" {A little tit for tat, I guess}...
    Then on August 12th, 1966 the Beatles started their third U.S.A. tour, and the Cyrkle was one of the opening acts on the tour.
  • Sooner from OklahomaThese guys had a song that really pulls great feelings out of the memory hole. What memorable song along with the great "Turn Down Day." Two songs that transport me back to a warm day in the sunshine on the creek.
  • Coy from Palestine, TxNeil Diamond also recorded a great version of this song on his first album, "The Feel of Neil Diamond".
  • Sam Williams from Sherman Oaks, CaI don't think the Cyrkle played on this record or any of there other hits. there's a 90% chance Tom Wilson used studio musicians to back them up instead of the band members themselves (Paul Griffin might have provided the organ hook, Al Gorgoni might have played the guitar, although he's not 100% sure if he played on the record or not, Buddy Saltzman was most likely the drummer).
  • Beatlebob from St. Louis, MoThe Crykle's appearance on the Beatles 1966 North American Tour did NOT help "Red Rubber Ball" become a big hit. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 charts on May 21, 1966 and peaked at #2 on July 9, 1966, several weeks before the start of that tour.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxAfter this became a hit Simon and Garfunkel performed it at a 1967 concert. Simon said something to the effect that If he had known it was going to sell 900,000 copies, he would have hung onto it.
  • Beverly Schmieg from Minneapolis, MnMy all time favorite song. Great pick me up song.
  • Rick from Belfast, MeI remember being in 4th grade and the teacher said to draw a picture about a song....Red Rubber Ball was at the top of the charts and I drew a .....you guessed it....a red rubber ball
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaAfter The Cyrkle broke up, Tom Dawes went into advertising, writing commercial slogans. His best remembered jingle is the "Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz" theme song for Alka Seltzer.
  • Gerald from Dc, DcI always thought the song was tongue in cheek- you know the guy thinks he is going to be ok after his break up. The sun is shining bright red like in "Red sun in morning sailor take warning" so the poor guy is actually headed for more of the same. The high school garage band I was in actually covered the silly thing.
  • Billy from West Unity, OhI read somewhere that John Lennon came up with the spelling of Cyrkle.
  • Dave from Easton, PaThe band "The Cyrkle" formed in my hometown, Easton, PA. They were undergrads at Lafayette College. They got together initially to play at frat parties! At one point they were an opening act for The Beatles on their 1966, and last, tour of America.
  • Kevin from Reading , PaThe Cyrcle also had a hit with a pretty good little piece of pop fluff called "Turn Down Day."
  • Karl from Allentown, PaDuane, The joke's on the DJ. Red Rubber Ball is a better song than Stairway to Heaven. RRB will be played 100 years from now while self important, self indulgent, overly dramatic S to H will fade away.
  • Duane from Wheatfield, InThe thing that I most remember about this song was one year when I was ridiculously following a top 500 classic rock radio countdown. They had finally come to the top spot after songs such as Hotel California, Layla, and Hey Jude had played. The DJ said, "And now the top classic rock song of all time . . . RED RUBBER BALL by The Cyrkle". I almost pulled the car over for an instant I was in such short-term shock, quickly realizing he was kidding (Stairway to Heaven was the top song, of course).
  • Jonathan from Johnstown, PaJoshua, don't be a smart aleck, it's a song FROM 1966!
    Almost EVERY song from 66-67 was about "Sunshine" and stuff like that!
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnRed rubber balls don't shine.
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