All it took was one song from my music library and there he was, big, very fair, naked, standing in the shower shaving–and singing The Partridge Family’s I Woke Up in Love This Morning.
I saw him so clearly. Everything I needed to know about William Murphy was contained in two minutes and 38 seconds of a well-crafted but manufactured sugar-sweet bit of Bubblegum pop genius.
That moment doesn’t explain William’s albinism except that’s how I saw him and his very essence came down to a love of expensive suits and hook-driven, upbeat, teenybopper tunes from the 60s and 70s. And I knew I had to set him against the backdrop of a romance. That romance is Next to You and it comes out in July.
You might ask ‘What is Bubblegum pop, Sandra?’ or say, ‘Wait, I thought you said you were all about Powerpop, Sandra.”
To answer the latter: I am all about Powerpop, which isn’t as sweet (or saccharine) as Bubblegum pop, but William Murphy is all about Bubblegum pop.
Prepare for a music history lesson:
Intrinsically catchy, sunny, and targeted at a preteen audience –rather than middle aged men–Bubblegum Pop was simple and melodic, the music and lightweight lyrics often about happiness, love, and candy. With repetitive hooks, simple harmonies and simple chords, Bubblegum was often manufactured, created by record producers who hired session musicians—like Andy Kim and Ron Dante, to play and sing the songs.
Often considered to be contrived and production-driven, Bubblegum groups were often given fake names to present the illusion that they were a ‘real band’—The Partridge Family and the Archies, for example. Some groups like The Monkees were real musicians brought together by producers, but played as real band. Occasionally a single artist would provide vocals for several groups, such as Ron Dante’s lead vocals for The Archies (some of you might remember The Archies cartoon) and The Cuff Links. Other artists like David Cassidy (who went on to later solo fame) and Shirley Jones appeared on The Partridge Family television series, and provided vocals for the eponymous musical act, while supported by session musicians.
Most Bubblegum bands were one-hit wonders, however, Bubblegum has a left long legacy of songs reflect the upbeat, catchy simplicity of the music and memorable titles such as Sugar Sugar, Yummy Yummy Yummy, Hanky Panky, Dizzy, Mony Mony, I Think I love You, and memorable acts like The Ohio Express, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Partridge Family, The Monkees, The Osmonds, The Jackson 5, The Bay City Rollers, The Sweet and so many more.
William is simple, upbeat, sweet — naturally I have a playlist for Next to You–and it’s full of William Murphy’s beloved Bubblegum pop tunes.
I bet you’re dying to know what’s on it.
By the way, THIS is Ron Dante, who gave a marvellous voice to cartoon Archie Andrews’s lead vocals. And what a totally bitchin’ sunny and catchy song it is. I bet you’ll hum it all day.