The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Tuppy Saussy)

Warner Bros. 7261

No. 17   June 7, 1969




The Neon Philharmonic was a two-man studio act; a project, if you will.   Tuppy Saussy, keyboardist/

arranger/conductor, had the words and music for what he called a “phonographic opera”; Don Gant had

the voice.   Both were based in Nashville, well-versed in the ways of music-making and both were under

the sway of the new psychedelic sounds and lyrical freedom of the Bea­tles and Beach Boys.


Tupper was the product of a prominent Georgia family of lawyers, leaders, and painters. His 1962 LP

Discover Tupper Saussy featured pop piano tinkling and strings and was pronounced a critical success

by DAVE BRUBECK.   Three years later, Tuppy was in Nashville cre­ating jazzy interpretations of a Walt

Disney flick, The Swinger’s Guide to Mary Poppins.   In 1968, he arranged and conducted several sides



The chronological order of Don Gant’s life is vague, but there are numerous scraps of detail.   It is known

that Don had given pop singing a try in the early ’60s; Colpix issued some solo sides.   He was also a

member for a moment, with producer/singer/songwriter Norro Wilson, of an Everly Brothers-type duo.

Nothing momentous happened, but Don Gant kept on writing songs (co-wrote “Cry Softly, Lonely One”

with Roy Orbison), worked day jobs with the Acuff-Rose and Tree International music-publishing

houses, and sang back-up for artists like JOHN D. LOUDERMILK, Don Gib­son and Mickey Newbury.


Over the years, Gant produced recordings for Bobby “Blue” Bland, Jimmy Buffett, GENE & DEBBE,

Lefty Frizzell, Ferlin Husky, the Newbeats, and Eddie Raven.   He was director of ABC-Dunhill Records,

and served as president of the Nashville chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.

At the time of his death, he was the head of Don Gant Enterprises and a board member of the Country

Music Foundation.   Don was 44 when he died on March 6, 1987.


“Morning Girl,” recorded with a chamber-sized gathering of musicians from the Nashville Symphony

Orchestra, was a surprise smash.   The tune was a melodic hodge-podge, an extract from a larger work,

The Moth Confesses: A Phonograph Opera, released as the act’s debut album.  Their label, Warner

Bros., trumped the album as the logical successor to The San Sebastian Strings/Rod McKuen opus The



The immediate follow-up, “No One Is Going to Hurt You,” sank like a stone.   “Heighdy-Ho Princess” did

receive a scattering of airplay (#94, 1970).   Warner Bros. released the act’s self-titled album and five

more singles, but the Neon Philharmonic’s magic moment had passed.


Too this day, a cult following surrounds this “group” of pop-rockersw.   Over the years,m Donald and

Tuppy had returned to the studio twice to revive their Neon project:  the result was two limited-release

singles, “Annie Poor” (for the TRX label) and “So Glad You’re a Woman” (for MCA).


According to liner note scribe Andy Zax, Tuppy left the world of music to become a playwright, ad man,

illustrator; eventually turning his energies to politics and anti-tax activism.   In 1980, he published a

mani­festo, The Miracle on Main Street: Saving Yourself and America From Financial Ruin.”   A few

years later,” writes Zax, “he fled the Feds and went underground; as of this writing [1996], he remains at

large, his whereabouts unknown.”