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The Banana Splits were a musical group of four animal characters; Fleegle, a beagle; Bingo, a gorilla; Drooper, a lion; and Snorky, an elephant; (played by actors in costumes), who starred in their own successful television series The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.
The Banana Splits' bubblegum pop rock and roll was provided by studio professionals, including Al Kooper ("You're the Lovin' End"), Barry White ("Doin' the Banana Split"), and Gene Pitney ("Two Ton Tessie") and Jimmy Radcliffe provided his songs ("I'm Gonna Find a Cave", "Soul", "Don't Go Away Go-Go Girl", "Adam Had 'Em" and "The Show Must Go On") but did not contribute vocals to Splits recordings. The music director was music publisher Aaron Schroeder who picked the songs created by his staff writers. The intended main theme song was to be the Ritchie Adams and Tony Powers song "We're The Banana Splits" but the television and advertising executives thought the "Tra La La Song", another Adams composition co-written with prolific songwriter and producer Mark Barkan, was a catchier theme. According to an interview in DISCoveries magazine, Adams and Barkan sang "Wait Til Tomorrow," "We're The Banana Splits" and "The Tra La La Song". David Mook produced all of the released tracks (co-producing the single sides Long Live Love and Pretty Painted Carousel with Aaron Schroeder), credited as "A Past, Present and Future Production by David Mook for Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc." (Mook also co-wrote the theme songs for Chuck Barris' The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game.) Arranger Jack Eskew also orchestrated some of the Splits' tunes. Three singles, "The Tra La La Song", "Wait Till Tomorrow", and "Long Live Love" were released by the Splits along with an album, We're the Banana Splits. Two 45RPM EP records with four songs each were available via an offer on the back of Kellogg's cereal boxes. Two of the three singles as well as both EPs were issued with picture sleeves.
A bootleg recording of all the released Splits recordings was made and released on CD in 1995 on the Hollywood Library label. (This CD was mastered from vinyl sources at a slightly increased speed, with excessive noise-reduction, resulting in a noticeable echo effect, especially at the end of songs.) One song, "Wait Til Tomorrow", later appeared on a various artists bubblegum hits CD, sourced from the Hollywood Library bootleg. Most recently, an unauthorized vinyl pressing was issued in 2007 by Ripped Couch Records in the UK. This pressing has a different track listing from the original album, consisting of the first 16 tracks on the Hollywood Library bootleg CD (one track from the original album, "Soul" written by noted soul singer songwriter Jimmy Radcliffe, is missing from this version despite its being listed on the front cover). The audio was sourced from the Hollywood Library CD.
The Mr. T Experience recorded "Don't Go Away Go-Go Girl" for the 1993 Banana Splits Tribute album "Banana Pad Riot" on the Skull Duggery Label. Mr. T Experience also included "Don't Go Away Go-Go Girl", as a bonus track, on their 1997 Lookout Records re-issue of the 1989 release "Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood" and as a hidden track on the "Our Bodies Our Selves release also from 1993. "Banana Pad Riot" also featured recordings from punk bands The Vindictives ("Two Ton Tessie"), Boris The Sprinkler ("We're The Banana Splits"), and The Young Fresh Fellows ("Doin' The Banana Split").
Liz Phair and Material Issue recorded "The Tra La La Song" for the 1995 compilation album Saturday Morning. Their version was based on the Decca Records single version, with a different arrangement than the version used on the TV series, also including an otherwise unheard additional verse.
Throughout the '90's power pop band Autumn Teen Sound played "The Tra La La Song" live. They also recorded it, but is was never officially released. It appears on the bootleg "Beaten Up By Rock & Roll."
All Decca singles were released in mono mixes. "The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)", "Long Live Love", and "Pretty Painted Carousel" were not included on the We're The Banana Splits album. Decca singles 32429 and 73256 were issued with picture sleeves; Decca 32391 was not—although foreign releases of the first single had picture sleeves.
"The Tra La La Song" and "Doin' The Banana Split" are the same takes included on the We're The Banana Splits album. However, as released here, they are presented in "twin-track" stereo mixes, with vocals in one channel and instruments in the other, not unlike some of the early Beatles stereo mixes. The stereo mixes of the other six songs are similar, but mixed less widely with both vocals and instruments closer to the center. These records were sold together as a Kellogg's cereal box offer, and were released through Hanna-Barbera's premium division. They came in a mailer including unique outer artwork, showing Fleegle holding the two discs. Both were issued in art sleeves featuring drawings of the characters; advertisements promoting these discs on the back of contemporary Kellogg's cereal boxes showed slightly different artwork, and had a copyright date of 1968 rather than 1969. In the prototype artwork for the second disc used in the cereal box ad, it is more clear that the Banana Buggy is driving atop the surface of a 45 RPM record.
Side One: We're The Banana Splits/I'm Gonna Find a Cave/This Spot/Doin' The Banana Split/Toy Piano Melody/Soul Side Two: The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)/Wait Til Tomorrow/You're The Lovin' End/In New Orleans/Two Ton Tessie/Don't Go Away—Go-Go Girl
All songs on the album are true stereo mixes. There are two minor cover variations. The earliest pressings had a darker green color and had no copyright notice, which on some copies was added on a small yellow sticker. Later pressings are a lighter shade of green and have a copyright notice printed directly in the lower left corner of the front cover.
Counterfeit versions of the vinyl album appeared in the late 1990s. They carry a white promo Decca label, but have all other references to Decca Records removed, including the front cover logo. The songs also fade out slightly earlier than on the original album.
The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana) (Album Version)/We’re The Banana Splits/I’m Gonna Find a Cave/This Spot/Doin’ The Banana Split/Wait Til Tomorrow/You're The Lovin' End/Toy Piano Melody/In New Orleans/Two-Ton Tessie/Long Live Love/Don’t Go Away—Go-Go Girl/It’s A Good Day For A Parade/Pretty Painted Carousel/I Enjoy Being A Boy (In Love With You)/The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana) (Single Version)/Looking For The Beagles/Sharing Wishes/I’d Join The Foreign Legion/What More Can I Do?/Be The Captain/Humpty Dumpty/Thanks To The Man On The Moon/I Wanna Capture You/Indian Love Dance/You Satisfy/That’s The Pretty Part Of You/The Very First Kid On My Block/The Beautiful Calliopa/Let Me Remember You Smiling/Soul
This was an unauthorized CD reissue of the complete Banana Splits discography, including the We're The Banana Splits album, along with all other non-LP songs released as singles or EP tracks. Song titles in italics are not by The Banana Splits; they are from Here Come The Beagles, the soundtrack album from the Total TV cartoon series. All the Beagles tracks are in rechanneled stereo.