The Sky Children - Kaleidoscope

LP track from Tangerine Dream, 1967

If we had a listing for toytown albums Tangerine Dream would certainly be in the top 3. As it is, this track from that album gives us our longest song on the list clocking in at over 8 minutes. Though Kaleidoscope tended toward more serious topics as their career progressed their first album is full of wonderful fairytales like The Sky Children.









Sam - Keith West

Parlophone single, 1967

With a number 2 hit on their hands Wirtz and West were handed a license to go over the top on their next single and that’s what they did with this tale of a railway hobbyist. Interestingly Sam had its roots in a track Wirtz recorded with girl singer Peanut and as was his tendency he reused those ideas for what should have been the second hit from The Teenage Opera. So big is this track that it’s impossible to absorb it all in one listen – which is ultimately what killed it with the public. As a last ditch effort to revive the song it was reissued to radio stations in a specially edited version (executed by Wirtz, much to his dismay). It should be noted that the first version of the record was sent to radio stations in a special colour sleeve (pictured here). Along with the record came a note warning DJs of the length of the track. Sadly, all of this only helped to doom Sam and the chances for a Teenage Opera album.



















Mr. Moody's Garden - Gilbert O'Sullivan

Major Minor single, 1969 & Columbia single B-side, 1971

Let’s face it, you either hate Gilbert O’Sullivan or… okay, fair to say just about everyone hates him. But it’s hard for us to disparage a guy who delivered one of the most perfect toytown pop songs known to man. Even better is the fact that two versions of this classic were issued.

The story behind the two releases is a bit confusing, made all the more unclear by Gilbert’s refusal to talk about his early days. However, to the best of our knowledge this is how it goes: In 1969 Gilbert signed with Major Minor after being dissatisfied with his artistic treatment at CBS. It seems apparent that he was after a sparse, old fashioned sound and at least some of his recordings were made on a telephone answering machine. Though CBS was not hip to Gilbert’s artistic vision, Major Minor took additional steps and enhanced his recordings beyond recognition. This did not please Gilbert and he took his piano and his golf caps to MAM where he felt Gordon Mills provided a more sympathetic production style. With in a couple of years Gilbert was a big star and Columbia, who must have owned some early demos, cashed in with one single I Wish I Could Cry b/w Mr. Moody’s Garden.

The Major Minor version of Mr. Moody is our favorite even if the female speaking part seems out of place and even if Gilbert hated the orchestration. The chamber arrangement gives it ultimate toytownatude. The Columbia version presents the song as intended with just piano and his artist friend Ken White in the speaking role.





Toffee Apple Sunday - Toby Twirl

Decca single, 1968

Toby, toffee, Sunday, twirl and apple make the perfect recipe for a toytown song. Like  World of Oz Toby Twirl had a knack for delivering wonderful child-like lyrics over top of soulful tracks but the sound just never took off in 1968.









Dance 'Round the Maypole - Acid Gallery

CBS single, 1969

It’s no secret that Roy Wood wrote this track; in fact he can be heard singing in the chorus. Roy Wood songs were like gold once he started getting hits and it’s a wonder that this bouncy little number didn’t make the higher reaches of the charts.



After Tea – Spencer Davis Group      United Artists single, 1968

United Artists single, 1968

As far as we’re concerned any song that mentions jelly beans has got to make the list. This neat little Ray Fenwick song became a minor hit for the Spencer Davis Group and it even spawned a band name for Fenwick when he moved to Holland.



Little Bombardier – David Bowie

LP track from David Bowie, 1967

While Mark Wirtz was creating his Teenage Opera and Pete Townshend was dreaming of Tommy David Bowie was inventing some of the best story songs this side of Jeff Lynne – Little Bombardier being a standout track from his debut LP. In fact, all the other story songsters of the 60s seem like rank amateurs compared to Bowie with his knack for authentic, storybook-like delivery. It helped that he had manager who was out of touch with current music trends and who also believed without a doubt that Bowie would be a huge star.




Tin Soldier Man - The Kinks

LP track from Something Else by the Kinks, 1967

Ray Davies could easily be considered, with Paul McCartney and Syd Barrett, one of the founders of toytown pop and this song demonstrates that fact. Though it’s really a sort of message song, Davies and his band deliver it with such charm that we decided to include it here.





Uncle Joe, the Ice Cream Man - The Mindbenders

Fontana single, 1968

In a last ditch effort to save their band the Mindbenders recruited Graham Gouldman, formerly of the Mockingbirds into the fold. Gouldman’s song about kindly Uncle Joe was certainly good enough to be a hit but sadly it didn’t help the band and they packed it in. Guitarist Eric Stewart landed in Hotlegs and Gouldman went back to songwriting until the two joined forces again 4 years later in 10cc.The things they do for love!























Melody Fayre – John Bromley

Polydor single, 1969

Bromley’s song is not to be confused with the Bee Gees song Melody Fair, this one being all jingly and jangly. Besides appearing on a single this song was also an album track on Bromley’s “Sing” which is full of wonderfully melodic tunes. As collectors know the back up band on many of Bromley’s recordings was the Fleur De Lys.



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