Once upon a time there was a band called the Left Banke. Alan Merrill auditioned for the band in the spring of 1968 at a cattle call of about 50 young musicians, all with hope in their hearts and guitars in hand. He had found out about the auditions in the Village Voice, a New York City weekly newspaper. It came down to two people at the end of the gruelling try outs, Bob Kulick, and Alan Merrill. Ironically Bob and Alan would play as guitarists in the group Meat Loaf together a couple of decades later. The auditions took place around the time the Left Banke had released their 1968 single 'Dark Is The Bark,' and they were replacing guitarist Rick Brand. Alan Merrill got the job, edging out Kulick, and rehearsed with the band for a month or so at The Bryant Hotel in midtown Manhattan. After much internal band confusion and rudderless management, The Left Banke decided to continue as a vocal trio, leaving the disappointed Merrill to pack up and head for Tokyo, Japan. Always ambitious and resilient, he almost immediately joined a band called The Lead, who were on RCA Victor Records. This was in the winter of 1968. The Lead had one hit single, a song titled 'Aoi Bara' (Blue Rose). A short lived project, The Lead disbanded, and Merrill promptly landed a solo deal with Atlantic Records. He was the label's first Japan based signing, recording the LP 'Alone In Tokyo' in 1969, a record which yielded the top ten hit single 'Namida.' With this, Merrill was the first established domestic market foreign pop star in Japan, starring as co-host of the televison show 'Young 720.' Alan Merrill left Japan in 1974 and formed the British chart hit pop group The Arrows as lead singer. Arrows were a trio who hosted their own weekly televsion series, and wrote and recorded the original 1975 version of 'I love rock n roll,' an oft covered international rock classic. Since the 1970s on to the new millennium Alan Merrill has released a number of critically acclaimed solo albums, and contributed to many recording projects as both a composer, player and singer. This maxi-single is Alan Merrill putting his personal stamp on the Left Banke mid 1960s hit songs 'Walk Away Renee,' 'Pretty Ballerina,' and 'Desiree.' Alan sings all the parts, playing bass and guitar on the songs. On keyboards and drums are rock music legends Tommy Mandel (ex-Bryan Adams Group) and Sandy Gennaro (ex-Joan Jett and the Blackhearts). Also included as bonus tracks are the Radiohead song 'You,' and an intimate acoustic guitar and voice self penned tune 'Only 19,' about a young model's suicide. Trivia: Alan Merrill performed 'Sing Little Bird Sing' on Japanese televison in 1968, before the Left Banke ever released it. In fact, he nearly beat them to releasing the first recorded version, however, Alan's Japanese management (Watanabe Productions) decided that his debut album should be entirely in the Japanese language, and so plans to release the gorgeous Tom Feher composition were scrapped.
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