The Peppermint Rainbow were a sunshine pop band from Baltimore, Maryland fronted by the sisters Patty and Bonnie Lamdin (later known as Bonnie Lamdin Phipps). They originally called themselves The New York Times, a name their first manager gave them that name. Later, their record agent told them to change their name to The Peppermint Rainbow in order to fit in better with the popular music of the times.
Mama Cass of The Mamas & the Papas
got the band their big break. She was in Washington, DC, performing with her old band The Mugwumps. When the Peppermint Rainbow did a medley of Mamas & the Papas songs at a venue across the street, Cass joined them onstage. After the performance, she said she'd get them record contracts. Sure enough, talent agent Alan White contacted the group less than 24 hours later and got them in front of Paul Leka of Decca Records, which became their label. Phipps later said it was all just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
Like all sunshine pop acts, the Peppermint Rainbow used a full orchestra in every song. Leka would record the music on a 16-track recorder. The band's core members would first record the bass, lead guitar, and drums. After that, the orchestra musicians would record their part. Bonnie would then add her vocals, and finally the harmony would be put in.
Bonnie was the band's leader. She grew up singing at church and at hootenannies with her brother and sister. By happenstance, she and her sister met Lewis, Harris and Corey, who were already in a band but looking for a vocalist.
Bonnie didn't allow anyone in the band to drink before a show because she felt they couldn't gauge the quality of their sound well enough when drunk.
The band split up in 1970 after discovering their manager was stealing money from them. The news disillusioned them to the music business.
On May 2, 1969, the band did a lip-sync performance on a television quiz show called The Generation Gap.
After the band split, Bonnie divorced her first husband and eventually became CEO of Saint Agnes Healthcare in Baltimore.
In 2008, a worker accidentally set much of Universal Studios Hollywood on fire. The inferno destroyed all the Peppermint Rainbow's archived materials.
While touring in a van through Macon, Georgia, the band had a scare (and the only negative experience Bonnie can recall from those days). Flowers covered the vans and the male bandmembers all had long hair, which was a big no-no among some of the more conservative areas of America at that time. When they stopped to eat in Macon, a man approached them and threatened to cut the drummer's hair. The band never found out how serious he was because they quickly fled the scene.