Love Machine (Griffin/Gordon) – Pastoral Symphony 1968
Assembly line pop music targeted primarily at pre-teens and teenage fans had been loosely defined as Bubblegum music in the States in the mid-to late 1960’s, the music was simple and danceable, it was recorded by session musicians who rarely performed live, and if they were only cartoon characters anyway – like The Archies, The Banana Splits, H.R.Pufnstuf, and Josie and the Pussycats – then they could never make live appearances.
Other studio-only American groups specializing in the bubblegum genre included Ohio Express and the Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus (both groups featured Joey Levine as the lead singer), the 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Royal Guardsmen (who specialized in novelty songs about the cartoon characters Snoopy and the Red Baron), the Archies, the Fifth Estate, and Australia’s own Pastoral Symphony, a name inspired by Beethoven’s Symphony No.6, Opus 68.
Pastoral Symphony were a studio-only group assembled by producer Jimmy Stewart, and society doctor/impresario Geoffrey Edelesten, and featured singers Terry Walker (Strangers, pictured below), Ronnie Charles (Groop, pictured above)), and all the Twilights – Peter Brideoak and Terry Britten on guitar, John Bywaters (bass), Laurie Pryor (drums), Paddy McCartney and Glen Shorrock on backing vocals, as well as the Johnny Hawker orchestra.
True to the formula for such groups they never performed as a live act, their musical skills were excellent, and Stewart did a fine production job, the phasing and reverb effects were reminiscent of the psychedelia of the Real Thing, the orchestration and use of brass were also effective, and this ultra-commercial pop ditty with the appropriate “song factory” title, Love Machine, hit #11 nationally. This prompted Stewart and Edelsten to make plans for a follow-up single and the creation of a touring version of the group, but they were thwarted by a Melbourne band who had already registered the name Pastoral Symphony.
This otherwise unknown group released one single later in 1968, issued on the obscure Implex label, but nothing else is known about them, consequently Pastoral Symphony became a classic one hit wonder. Love Machine was written by James Griffen who won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1970 with For All We Know, and was a long-term member of the 70’s soft rock band Bread; and his co-writer Michael Gordon was a songwriter/producer who had written the surf instrumental hit The Outer Limits for the Marketts in 1963.
Geoff Edelsten was a scion of the family that owned the Edels retail music chain, and he began dabbling in pop promotion and management in the mid-1960s in Melbourne while he was completing his medical studies. He went on to a colourful career as a medical entrepreneur and pioneered the concept of the 24-hour commercial medical centre in Australia. He also gained national notoriety in the 1980s for his lavish and flamboyant lifestyle — including his famous purchase of a pink Porsche and pink helicopter for his then wife Leanne; his opulently appointed medical centres and his short-lived ownership of the Sydney Swans AFL club. But in the 1990s Edelsten’s dodgy financial practices eventually got him into trouble and he was deregistered by the AMA and banned from practising as a doctor, Jimmy Stewart went on to establish the Sweet Peach label, and in the early 1970s he worked extensively with singer-songwriter Doug Ashdown.