The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Wes Farrell, Jerry Goldstein)

MGM 13733

No. 6   July 8, 1967




For five years, Dennis (b. Nov. 22, 1948) and Larry “Lar” Larden (b. Aug. 10, 1945) had been a two-

guitar folk duo, working clubs and pubs in New York’s Green­wich Village.   Much like fellow folkies the

Lovin’Spoon­ful and the Mamas & The Papas, they went electric.   It was early in 1967 when a mutual

friend introduced the brothers to a New York University dental student, key­boardist-to-be Bruce Milner

(b. May 9, 1943).


“I was a Cabana Boy at this beach club, on the shore, in Brooklyn, that my parents went to,” explained

Dr. Bruce Milner in an exclusive interview.   “God, you know how many years ago? … It was the Doveil

Cabana Club, in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.   It was ’65, and I was in this a cappella group–no name;

sang ’50s stuff.   Larry and Denny were hired to walk around and serenade.   We had a mutual friend and

without thinking we decided to get together as a group. Against my family’s wishes, I went out and

bought an organ.”


The threesome hit it off, and by year’s end, two the­ater majors, drummer Christopher “Chris” Augustine

(b. Apr. 25, 1941) and bassist Schuyler “Sky” Larsen (b. Feb. 19, 1947), were added.   Chris had acted in

New York’s Shakespeare Festival and the American Playwrights’ Festival in Maine; since the age of 11,

Sky had been making money in TV commercials.   All the guys were New York-born and bred, and each

of them looked as squeaky clean as the boy-next-door.


During this time, the group was approached by Peter Leeds.   “Leeds was impressed, saw himself as a

manager, and wanted to get involved with us,” said Mil­ner.   “Later, he was involved in an off-track

betting scan­dal.   He didn’t do right by us; had power of attorney and when the royalties came, he kept

them.   He was a cheer­ful, confident guy; maybe he managed others.   He was dashing, a ladies’ killer.”

Leeds connected them with noted songwriter/pro­ducer Wes Farrell.   Wes, who had written “Boys,”

“Come a Little Bit Closer;’ and “Hang on Sloopy” signed them to his Senate Record Productions and cut

12 sides on the band.   Included at Wes’ suggestion was a cover version of the Rare Breed’s bubble-

gummy “Come on Down to My Boat.”


 Industry legend has it that five major labels grap­pled to acquire the rights to the Sons sounds.   MGM

won, and hastily issued the Every Mothers’ Son album and “Come on Down to My Boat.”   Image-

construct­ing ads–playing on the boys’ natty neckties and closely cropped hair–depicted Every Mothers’

Son as cheerful, clean, courteous, friendly, healthy, kind, and loyal.   Their “Boat” single cruised up the

charts, and the future looked bright for this wholesome bunch.


During the “Summer of Love,” at a out­door festival in Berkeley, they played along­ side JANIS JOPLIN

and Jefferson Airplane.   “I went out on stage in this white suit” said Milner.   “I had to be the only guy in

Berkeley wearing a suit and tie to this thing!


“Right there from the start, they pack­aged us.   We weren’t really that ‘squeaky clean,” as you say.   It

was Peter’s package; Peter’s idea that we wear …straight-looking clothes.   The name–Peter’s idea–it

came from Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer’s Night Dream.’   Now, this got old fast–especially for Denny and

Larry … after San Francisco.   We just didn’t want to do it anymore.”


As so often happens, instant success cre­ated instant dissension within the group.   Rather than follow

Leed’s lead and Wes’s paternal advice, the Larden boys decided to produce and record their own tunes.


“Larry and Denny were more interested, it seems, in putting out their own material.   I always felt if we

had just listened to Wes, we could have followed things up better than we did,” says Milner.


Three further 45s made Billboard’s Hot 100, but each one sold more poorly than its predecessor.   By

1969, the group was relegated to playing small halls, high school hops, and hole-in-the-wall clubs.

“We wound up playing a senior prom in Connecti­cut in 1969,” Milner said.   “It was embarrassing;

playing for drunks.   That was the last time we played together.”


Dennis Larden continued to rock and roll.   In addi­tion to supplying back-up vocals for Keith Moon’s Two 

Sides of the Moon (1975) album, Dennis, for much of the ’70s, played guitar for Rick Nelson’s Stone

Canyon Band.   Sky Larsen went on to become a bus mechanic in Pennsylvania.   Chris Augustine was

spotted in the late ’70s as a con­testant on “The Dating Game.”


Dr. Milner still gives thoughts to his rock’n’roll days.   “I don’t have one thing from those days; not one

tape, no photos, no TV dips, anything.   I’m looking, but I can’t find anything; yet people remember us

fondly.   As for the guys–I never speak to them, but I would love to get together just for one night and

play.   Just for one show; I dream about it sometimes.”