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The Millennium/Ballroom

The Millennium

Biography                                       by Richie Unterberger

Influenced by psychedelia and California rock, pop/rock producer Curt Boettcher (the Association) decided to assemble a studio supergroup who would explore progressive sounds in 1968. Millennium's resultant album would find no commercial success and only half-baked artistic success, but nonetheless retains some period charm. Influenced in roughly equal measures by the Association, the Mamas and the Papas, the Smile-era Beach Boys, Nilsson, the Left Banke, and the Fifth Dimension, Boettcher and his friends came up with a hybrid that was at once too unabashedly commercial for underground FM radio and too weird for the AM dial. It would have fit in better on the AM airwaves, though; the almost too-cheerful sunshine harmonies and catchy melodies dominate the suite-like, diverse set of elaborately produced '60s pop/rock tunes.

The Ballroom

Biography                                         by Richie Unterberger

The Ballroom only issued one single during their brief existence, and even that 1967 45 might have never made it into the shops. They've attained a reasonable level of recognition, however, due to the cult following that arose several decades later around the group's leader, songwriter/performer/arranger/producer Curt Boettcher. Numerous unreleased Ballroom tracks had come out by the early 21st century, allowing listeners a pretty in-depth glimpse of the group's repertoire and studio creations.

Boettcher had already made his mark on the Los Angeles pop/rock prior to the formation of the Ballroom in late 1966, primarily for his production work with the Association. The Curt Boettcher production "That's the Way It's Gonna Be," a single by Lee Mallory, won the admiration of Brian Wilson. Boettcher had already recorded as an artist in his own right with the folk group the Goldebriars and as part of the male-female duo Summer's Children, before hooking up with Michele O'Malley, Sandy Salisbury, and Jim Bell for the Ballroom. The Ballroom recorded an album's worth of material for Warner Brothers, produced by Boettcher, who wrote many of the songs as well.

The Ballroom's recordings were bedrock sunshine pop: super-optimistic lyrics, ultra-sweet commercial melodies, sophisticated and sometimes experimental production and arrangements, and high harmonies with similarities to the Beach Boys, the Mamas & the Papas, and the Fifth Dimension. The songwriting, however, was not on the level of John Phillips, Brian Wilson, or P.F. Sloan, and even in comparison to Boettcher's later, better-known late-'60s pop/rock group (the Millennium, who did manage to put out an official album), it's on the light and airy side. The Ballroom never got a shot to be evaluated by the marketplace and the public, though, as just one single, "Spinning, Spinning, Spinning"/"Baby, Please Don't Go," was made; it is rare enough that it may have only gone out to radio stations. The folky "Spinning, Spinning, Spinning" was covered in New Zealand by the Simple Image, who had a hit with it down there in 1968.

The songs that would have comprised the Ballroom's debut album were finally issued about three decades later. These, and numerous unreleased Ballroom tracks, appear on the three-CD Sundazed set Magic Time: The Millennium/Ballroom Recordings, which rounds up more Millennium and Ballroom tracks than most suspected even existed, along with some other Boettcher recording projects of the time. The Ballroom themselves, however, broke up about half a year after they formed, with virtually nothing to show for their efforts release-wise. Boettcher soon went on to greater heights with the Millennium (which also included Ballroom member Sandy Salisbury), and was also an important contributor to the late-'60s studio group Sagittarius.

Content provided by All Music Guide. Copyright 2008 All Media Guide, LLC.
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