The “Golden Hits Of The 50s” 

Main MenuConcept Refinement The Author..Wayne JancikGolden Age Of The 50sGolden Age Of The 60s1970s and There After




(E. Y. Harburg, Harold Arlen)

Jubilee 5573

No. 11   July 1, 1967




“I was taking advantage of senior class privileges, skip­ping a study hall and taking a nap under a grand

piano in the empty school auditorium,” explained Don Askew to DISCoveries’ Joseph Tortelli,”when I was

aroused by ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade:  This guy, Wayne Wadhams had come down to play and–not

noticing me–had begun.”


Such was the meeting in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1964, of Stamford High’s aspiring wordsmith and poet

and “Wads” Wadhams, a keyboard pro known in the region for his pipe organ recitals and the beginning of

a relationship that would culminate in the Fifth Estate. Said Askew, “Once I got out from under the piano,

we got to talking about songs and groups and lions in the street. Some spirit whispered in my ear, ‘Wayne’s

got the music, you’ve got the words:”


Together they created “Nothin Is, but Thinking Makes It So,” “Oh Baby, You Exceed the Norm,” and

“Talking Macbeth Blues”; all yet to be issued. Soon Wads, on fuzz organ and electric harpsichord, and Don,

on nonlinear thoughts, were surrounded by man­dolin and fuzz guitar picker D. Bill Shute, guitarist Rick

“Ric” Engler, an ex-member in a surf band, the Galax­ies, bassist Doug “Dick Duck” Ferrar (plus kazoo, elec­

tric clarinet, violin, vocals), formerly of a competing surf unit, the Chicanes, and a drummer/maraca man

with jazz-leanings, Ken “Furvus” Evans–soon, they were the D-Men.


“We played intense rock’n’roll,” said Evans. “It was heavy rock for the time.” Within a month, the D-Men

had a manager in Kevin Gavin; two months further, Gavin had the boys signed to Veep, a United Artist sub­-

sidiary. All but Don Askew acquired new “D” names: Wayne hid beneath the Dwayne persona, Rick became

Don; Ken, D’Arcy; Doug, Duke; and Bill, D.Wm.”It was really magic,” said Doug/Duke. “I was 16 years old

when we went into the [A & R] studio, and the other guys weren’t much older. We just sat in the studio and

whipped off these tunes.”


“Don’t You Know” and “I Just Don’t Care” got little in the way of charting, but were teen-approved by those

who got to hear them. An International Fan Club was formed and in March 1965, the D-Men appeared

opposite Peter & Gordon and CANNIBAL & THE HEAD­ HUNTERS on NBC-TV’s “Hullabaloo.” ”After the

curtain closed, the place was mobbed;’ said Doug/Duke.”Peo­ple were trying to rip our clothes off … it was

like with the Beatles … and I wasn’t much out of junior high school.”


Kapp issued a folkie-flavored single; it, too, flopped. Before 1965’s end, Chuck Legrow was added, as vocal­ist; and the group became the Fifth Estate. Red Bird, founded by George Goldner and legends Leiber &

Stoller, signed the act for a lone single, “Love Is All in the Game.” With time on their side, Wads and Askew

wrote tunes for the Two People, Brothers Four, and Highwaymen; and the group recorded commercials for

Ocean Spray, Proctor & Gamble, and McGregor, a clothier. Years’ end saw the disappearance of Legrow

and manager Gavin.


With basement tapes in hand–20 tracks that they had recorded in Wads’ basement–the band ap­proached

Bill and Steve Jerome, producers of the Left Banke’s “Pretty Ballerina.” “They were impressed, but not

enough to make a commitment,” said Doug/Duke. “Then we returned with ‘Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead.’

It really blew their socks off. They thought it was a great idea.”


Recording the old tune was born during a Christ­mas party bet. Askew had advanced a theory that any song

properly presented could become a hit. One par­tyer doubted it and challenged him to a wager, ‘Bet your

group can’t get a hit with a song from The Wiz­ard of Oz.’


“At the time, I was studying Renaissance dance music,” said Wads. “I felt there was no more purely

entertaining music; it seemed delightfully, bubbly, and simple. I thought, ‘Why not use it?'” Wads

embellished “Ding Dong” with the Bouree from Terpsichore, a col­lection of dance songs by 17th-century

composer Michael Praetorious. As “Ding Dong” hit, summer vacation was at hand and the band stuffed in a

station wagon and made the best of it–with appearances at the Red Rooster in Pittsburgh, Surf Ballroom in

Clearlake, Iowa, and the Wedgewood Village Amusement Park in Oklahoma City.


“We did a tour with Gene Pitney,” D. Bill/D.Wm.  told Goldmine’s Tom Bingham.”There were a bunch of

other groups, too; the Happenings, the MUSIC EXPLOSION, the EASYBEATS. Anyway, that was a real taste

of rock and roll stardom. I figured, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore!’ That was enough of that.” D. Bill

didn’t have much of a choice anyway–he was drafted. And after a total of seven more Jubilee 45s, all issued

as by “the Fifth Estate”–including “The Mickey Mouse Club” and “Heigh Ho” from the Walt Disney

animated Snow White-and a noncharting LP (Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead), the group broke up.


“The straw that brought the whole camel down,” said Wads, “was when I heard our version of ‘The Parade

of Wooden Soldiers’ on the radio. The Jeromes had hired studio musicians and singers to do the whole

thing, and it went out on Jubilee with our names on it. Outraged, I called and was informed that the label

owned our name, and they could issue anything they wanted… .”


On D. Bill’s return from the service, he married and settled into a life as a teacher. In the mid-’70s, D. Bill

formed the Green Linnet record label with Lisa Null and folkie Patrick Sky. D. Bill and Null have collaborat­

ed on a few LPs; notably The Feathered Maiden & Other Ballads and American Primitive.


Group members continued for awhile working as session musicians for advertising jingles and other artists.

Wads and Askew wrote tunes as “Sal Paradise” and “Harry Krishna,” respectively. Wads–whose

rearranged “Candid Camera” theme was utilized by Alan Funt for years–reportedly graduated from Dart­

mouth, receiving further degrees from MIT and Har­vard in nuclear physics and English. He’s alleged to

have gone on to teach recording techniques at the Berklee College of Music, run the Orson Wells Cinema in

Boston, and done unsung independent production work.


“The record company wanted more novelty tunes, and that’s all they wanted from us;’ said Wads to Tortel­li.

“Once we had the hit with ‘Ding Dong’ all they could think of was … novelty songs.”


“I see “Ding Dong” as a bit of fun that backfired…. We had worked and prayed for a hit for over three

years,” said Askew.  ”And then had our dreams shattered by our answered prayer.”


Fifth Estate’s second album was never issued; Jubilee went bankrupt in 1969.