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The Clique

The Clique had a medium hit in late 1969 with "Sugar on Sunday," a cover of a song from Tommy James' Crimson and Clover album, and a smaller hit with "I'll Hold Out My Hand," a song from their sole album. Emphasizing harmonies and carefully arranged light pop-rock tunes with horns, they were part of the scene that's now known as L.A. sunshine pop, except that they fell closer to bubblegum than some other acts in the genre. Like several such acts of the time, they were less a self-contained group than a vehicle for producer/songwriter Gary Zekley, who co-wrote much of their material with Mitchell Bottler and used session musicians on most of their tracks. If other such singer/producers in California at the time (like Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher) emulated the lightest aspects of The Beach Boys, then Zekley and the Clique were lighter still, sometimes sounding a little like the Monkees or bubblegum groups of the time like the Cuff Links, and at gutsier moments like Tommy James (who produced a couple of Clique cuts). As it turned out, however, the Clique are not remembered today for "Sugar on Sunday," but for its B-side, "Superman." Out of the ordinary for the Clique in its cool paisley moodiness and forceful guitar strumming, it was covered in 1986 by R.E.M. on Life's Rich Pageant; their version has become far more famous than the original. The Clique's album was reissued on CD by Varese Sarabande, with bonus tracks.
© Richie Unterberger /TiVo


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