Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beatle People: Brute Force

Brute Force (born 1940) is the pseudonym of Stephen Friedland, an American singer and songwriter. He wrote and performed with The Tokens in the 1960s and wrote songs for Peggy March, Del Shannon, The Chiffons and The Cyrkle. He wrote and recorded the LP I, Brute Force - Confections of Love for Columbia Records in 1967. One song on the album, "No Olympian Height," was covered by The Other Voices (produced by Ellie Greenwich and Mike Rashkow) and released on Atlantic Records in 1968. He also recorded and released the album Extemporaneous on BT Puppy Records in 1970.

Brute Force may be best known for a song that barely saw a release: "The King of Fuh," a delightfully rude song produced by The Tokens, about a "Fuh King," which was admired by Beatles George Harrison (who arranged the record) and John Lennon. Apple Records knew that partner EMI would never distribute it, so the company pressed and distributed 2,000 copies themselves in 1969 (catalogue number Apple 8). There was also a copy of the record on the US version of Apple, without a catalogue number (said to have been created as personal copy for an American Apple employee). Brute Force also attempted to have Major Minor records in Britain release the record but with no success. Finally, the artist issued the record on his own label Brute Force Records with an alternate B Side, "Tapeworm Of Love," which received airplay on the Dr. Demento radio show. More recently, the Revola label issued both "King of Fuh" and its original B side ("Nobody Knows") as bonus tracks on the CD release of Extemporaneous.

After leaving show business for a period of time and working as a paralegal, Friedland began performing in small clubs, and also did some work on the film Ghostbusters. During this time, he renewed his connection to fans of The Beatles, making a surprise appearance at a Beatlefest fan convention in New Jersey, performing "King Of Fuh," and subsequently being interviewed by Brett Alan on a Beatles radio show on WNNJ radio, also in New Jersey.

Brute Force toured England in 2004 with Misty's Big Adventure, playing in Liverpool, Birmingham, London and Nottingham, plus a personal performance of a unique song to thoroughbred mare "Premier Bid" upon the occasion of her 30th birthday in Goole Fields. In honor of Brute Force, the horse's owners named a foal "Special Bru" after the singer in late 2004. In June 2006, The King of Fuh, a musical comedy, was produced at the Players Club, New York City, with Brute Force himself as the King.

Brute Force continues to perform at various venues in New York and other cities.


No comments: