VANILLA FUDGE

Hard Rock / Proto-Metal / Non-Metal • United States
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Vanilla Fudge is an American rock band. The band's original lineup - vocalist/organist Mark Stein, bassist/vocalist Tim Bogert, lead guitarist/vocalist Vince Martell, and drummer/vocalist Carmine Appice - recorded five albums during the years 1966-69, before disbanding in 1970.

The band has reunited in various configurations over the years, and is currently operating with its four original members. The band has been cited as, "one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal."

Stein and Bogert played in a local band called Rick Martin & The Showmen and were so impressed by the sound of The Rascals (swinging and floods of organ) that they decided to form their own band with Martell and Rick Martin's drummer, Joey Brennan.

Originally calling themselves The Pigeons, they changed the name to Vanilla Fudge in 1966, after the replacement of Brennan by Appice. A recording of the Pigeons was released in Germany
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VANILLA FUDGE Discography

VANILLA FUDGE albums / top albums

VANILLA FUDGE Vanilla Fudge album cover 3.47 | 6 ratings
Vanilla Fudge
Proto-Metal 1967
VANILLA FUDGE The Beat Goes On album cover 1.94 | 4 ratings
The Beat Goes On
Hard Rock 1968
VANILLA FUDGE Renaissance album cover 4.47 | 5 ratings
Renaissance
Hard Rock 1968
VANILLA FUDGE Near the Beginning album cover 3.03 | 3 ratings
Near the Beginning
Hard Rock 1969
VANILLA FUDGE Rock & Roll album cover 3.94 | 5 ratings
Rock & Roll
Hard Rock 1969
VANILLA FUDGE Mystery album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Mystery
Non-Metal 1984
VANILLA FUDGE The Return album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
The Return
Hard Rock 2001
VANILLA FUDGE Out Through the In Door album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Out Through the In Door
Hard Rock 2007

VANILLA FUDGE EPs & splits

VANILLA FUDGE live albums

VANILLA FUDGE The Best of Vanilla Fudge: Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Vanilla Fudge: Live
Proto-Metal 1991
VANILLA FUDGE The Real Deal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Real Deal
Hard Rock 2003

VANILLA FUDGE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

VANILLA FUDGE re-issues & compilations

VANILLA FUDGE The Best Of The Vanilla Fudge album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of The Vanilla Fudge
Hard Rock 1982
VANILLA FUDGE Psychedelic Sudae: The Best Of The Vanilla Fudge album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Psychedelic Sudae: The Best Of The Vanilla Fudge
Hard Rock 1993
VANILLA FUDGE Box Of Fudges album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Box Of Fudges
Hard Rock 2010

VANILLA FUDGE singles (0)

VANILLA FUDGE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

VANILLA FUDGE Reviews

VANILLA FUDGE The Beat Goes On

Album · 1968 · Hard Rock
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siLLy puPPy
If there was ever an award for the most head scratching career moves of the entire 1960s, VANILLA FUDGE must would surely win first prize. After a surprise hit debut album of nothing more than cover songs reinterpreted into the world of psychedelic soulful rock laced with heavy organ fuzz and showcasing some of the earliest traces of progressive rock and what would become heavy metal, the band followed with one of the most avant-garde albums to come out in the year 1968. While the debut featured familiar catchy pop songs including the top 10 hit remake of The Supremes’ chart topping single “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” the band quickly shifted gears into a strange collage album in the form of THE BEAT GOES ON in early 1968.

The year 1967 was the Summer of Love and offered a last air of innocent hippie glee before the calendar year 1968 roared in full force. The idealism of perpetual peace and free love were interrupted by a turbulent world stage where everything seemed to go topsy turvy overnight. The music of the era reflected this by shifting from simpler musical forms that had only just evolved out of the straight forward approach of rock and roll to headier and ever bolder musical experiments. The Beatles’ classic “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” deserves the lion’s share of credit for upping the ante in the world of simpler rock forms that focused on singles as a means of marketing to a full-fledged concept albums in an art rock style which hit the world with the subtlety of a lightning bolt.

While the world of psychedelic pop and rock would sally forth unscathed with many simpler forms of rock continuing to occupy the hit singles charts, some intrepid acts followed the cue of The Beatles and went for the concept album avant-garde jugular. VANILLA FUDGE was one such band having never even released a single song of their own making and then suddenly delivering a followup album that recklessly abandoned all the rules and engaged in a fearless exploration into the unknown musical possibilities that could result from just simply going for it. THE BEAT GOES ON was basically a meandering sampling of the entire history of music without any regard to how things connected or fit together in any way, shape or form. Based on the smashing success of the debut, the album still sold its share of copies but quickly alienated any fans who were expecting a continuation of the band’s soulful psychedelic rock playfulness that put VANILLA FUDGE on the map.

Broken into four phases with various short snippets called tracks, THE BEAT GOES ON meanders through a maze of crossover classical music (Mozart, Beethoven etc), medleys of famous pop hits by Elvis Presley and The Beatles as well spoken word speeches and one of the very first recordings of all time sampled by Thomas Edison. The band retains its psychedelic rock at key moments with the already established fuzzy organ heft and heavier rock combo effect of the guitar, bass and drum but in reality there are no actual songs on THE BEAT GOES ON and merely samplings strewn together into a psychedelic haze of consciousness shifting. Clearly the year 1968 was a traumatic one for the world and the methodologies of finding the proper musical escape hatch were becoming bolder and more ambitious with THE BEAT GOES ON being one of those albums that at first listen may seem completely pointless but also when placed into the context of the time fits in with how the world of musical exploration was panning out.

The album is compared with Frank Zappa’s “Lumpy Gravy” however VANILLA FUDGE beat Zappa to the punch by a few months with a nerdy concept album that engaged in the everything and the kitchen sink approach. The major difference of course that being that Frank Zappa was a gifted and brilliant composer of the avant-garde and VANILLA FUDGE being a naive quartet of youngsters who didn’t quite have the chops to bring their ambitions to a high level of competency. While many really hate this album including the band itself as they blame this unwise followup as a total career killer, as far as experimental avant-garde albums go it’s not that bad. While its hardly any milestone of creative fortitude, as a historical reference point and unorthodox art rock album from 1968 it’s a totally listenable experience.

Luckily the band would quickly follow up with a new album of mostly self-penned tracks titled “Renaissance” but momentum had been lost and THE BEAT GOES ON has been ridiculed by many ever since. Personally i admire VANILLA FUDGE’s audaciousness as the band clearly had no idea of how to keep an audience enthralled. One of those cases of moving too quickly into an arena where the artistry wasn’t up to snuff. It would’ve made a lot more sense to release “Renaissance” first and establishing the band as a bonafide creator of its own material and sound and only then after retaining its momentum by releasing something like this a year or two later. But when all is said and done, THE BEAT GOES ON exhibits a trend of a musical expedition into completely uncharted territory and that’s pretty remarkable for a band that could’ve simply put out another album of psychedelically tinged cover songs. Despite not crafting the next great art album of all time, VANILLA FUDGE earned its place as a bonafide proto-prog act that helped propel the spirit of the evolution of the rock music paradigm. While results were mixed, the spirit of the creative process excelled.

VANILLA FUDGE Vanilla Fudge

Album · 1967 · Proto-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
VANILLA FUDGE was an unusual 1960s band in the fact that these New Yorkers that formed in 1966 successfully created an entirely new sound in the world of psychedelic soul rock all without writing a single song of their own on their debut release. Add to that the band somehow cemented itself into the history books as one of the earliest bands that forged the way for not only progressive rock but the world of heavy metal, both of which would become major dominant musical forces in the decade to come. Starting out as The Electric Pigeons and then truncating to just The Pigeons, the band changed its name to VANILLA FUDGE which referred to a group of white guys singing and playing music created by black singers and musicians.

VANILLA FUDGE was organist Mark Stein, bassist Tim Bogert, guitarist Vince Martelil and drummer Carmine Appice. While Stein handled lead vocals, the entire band engaged in intricate harmonies influenced by bands such as The Beatles and The Rascals only VANILLA FUDGE was a pioneering band in bridging the world of black soul music with the brave new world of psychedelic rock. The band’s eponymously titled debut emerged in 1967 and found instant gratification as it literally shot up to the #6 position on the Billboard album charts even before the release of the crafty cover of The Supreme’s 1966 smash hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” was released as a single and too shot up the charts. Graced with an impeccable sense of harmony and by playing cover songs at half the original speed, VANILLA FUDGE delivered an irresistible new perspective on well known songs on its self-titled 1967 debut.

This first album was unique in the band’s five album run that lasted only three years as it featured no original songs whatsoever however the band did contribute three very short self-made instrumental intros that were listed as separate tracks but in reality served as nothing more than short snippets that connected the cover songs. With no original songs to showcase VANILLA FUDGE made it count in their unique and original approach into how they interpreted each song. The band excelled at crafting a mix of top notch soulful harmonies with Mark Stein’s vocals showing a particularly engaging style that mixed traditional soul singing with bouts of wailing and extended vocal techniques. The use of acid rock organ runs, energetic drumming excursions and heavy guitar moments earned the band the reputation as one of the few American acts that bridged the gap between the world of 1960s psychedelic rock and the future worlds of prog and metal.

Following only a year after The Supremes hit #1 on the Billboard singles chart with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” VANILLA FUDGE’s version shot up to the top 10 as well only stalling at the #6 position. The single was enough to keep the band’s album racing up the charts and propelling VANILLA FUDGE into the big time. The success allowed the band to tour with Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and eventually the band would tour with Led Zeppelin as their opening act. The band was a major influence on Deep Purple with its emphasis on the use of bombastic organ heft and harder rocking moments of guitar and drumming. The album walked a delicate balance between beautifully delivered soulful harmonies laced with tender orchestrations and the contrasting hard rock, the likes of which had never been attempted.

To be honest i’m not a fan of cover albums for the most part and the mid-1960s found many newly established acts not ready for prime time releasing albums that relied too heavily on cover songs to fill up space but VANILLA FUDGE is the exception as they definitely reinterpreted a diverse set of covers all the while drenching them in the sounds of the organ-fueled excesses of acid rock and heavy psych. The album flows perfectly from beginning to end and the band members really did take full command of the cover songs and make them their own. VANILLA FUDGE’s debut is an excellent slice of traditional soulful pop songs transmogrified into proto-prog and proto-metal splendor. This one really is a unique moment in history since the band would follow with the avant-garde sophomore release “The Beat Goes On” before delivering an album of all original material on “Renaissance.” While i don’t want to love this one, i can’t help myself! It’s a brilliantly bold move from a band that masterfully crafted one of the most uncanny hybridization albums of the entire 1960s.

VANILLA FUDGE Near the Beginning

Album · 1969 · Hard Rock
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Warthur
Vanilla Fudge hit on something special with Renaissance, especially with their haunting take on Donovan's Season of the Witch which closed out the album and could almost be seen as a precursor of Black Sabbath's early doom style.

Unfortunately, with this album they lost all the character and atmosphere and presented a rather generic psychedelic rock record crammed to the gills with somewhat aimless noodling. Break Song, in particular, is a side-length live jam that just consists of wanky solos of a type we've all heard before dozens of times (including an absurdly overlong drum solo) which more or less encapsulates all the worst aspects of that particular performance format.

This is an album which time has not treated well; it's dated extremely badly, particularly now that if you wanted you could get similar live jams from better performers in massive quantities at a very reasonable price. Thanks, guys, but no thanks.

VANILLA FUDGE Renaissance

Album · 1968 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Surely ranking alongside the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple when it comes to setting the standards for prog-leaning heavy psych, Vanilla Fudge's second album is a true tour de force, with a range of decent songs building up to the absolutely incredible album closer, Season of the Witch. Devastatngly doomy, if you swapped out Mark Stein's organ performance for a Tony Iommi guitar solo you'd basically arrive at early Black Sabbath - but you wouldn't want to, because the organ-focused proto-doom of the track offers a truly hair-raising and unique trip which must surely be one of the most underrated songs of all time.

VANILLA FUDGE The Beat Goes On

Album · 1968 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
J-Man
Vanilla Fudge's debut may not have moved me a whole lot as a listener, but I certainly understand the album's place as a seminal album in the development of psychedelic and heavy rock music. The success of that album only increases the confusion generated by The Beat Goes On, the American outfit's controversial sophomore observation - this experimental album is a 'head scratcher' for sure, and though some have hailed it as a misunderstood masterpiece, I will join the choir of folks that just don't get it. The Beat Goes On has a few interesting things going on, but the band's total disregard for musical structure and composition makes for a tough pill to swallow, even when looked at from a historical perspective.

Although the music on 1967's Vanilla Fudge was primarily straightforward organ-led psychedelic rock, the same can not be said for The Beat Goes On. There are flirtations with conventional music, like the piano intro "Sketch" and a few Beatles covers in rapid succession, but a majority of the music seems to have very little direction at all - a good portion of side two can hardly be called music, if truth be told. As cool as a sound collage of twentieth century political figures can be if done right, it seems out of place and overly long when it takes up eight minutes on a rock album. The Beat Goes On does have some cool musical ideas from time to time, but they rarely expand beyond interesting fragments; although Vanilla Fudge sticks to cover tracks once again, they never actually recreate any of the tracks they pay homage to. Instead, they briefly touch on numerous compositions, and the result is an incoherent mess.

It's actually a shame that the band never decided to flesh out any of the tunes here, as I think a heavy psychedelic version of "Fur Elise" or "Hound Dog" could have made for an entertaining listen. The Beat Goes On aims to transport the listener through history, musical and otherwise, and although this is a great concept, the execution is baffling. A directionless and confusing album, The Beat Goes On is a failed experiment in my book, and a disappointing followup to Vanilla Fudge's 1967 debut. This is only recommended to the most die-hard of psychedelic collectors - all others should proceed with extreme caution.

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