Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Intruders' "Fried Eggs": Minimalist New Jersey Rock from the '50s




New Jersey's Intruders notched a minor national hit with "Fried Eggs" in 1959. Nationally, the single peaked at only #73 in Billboard, but it was a big hit in some markets. At Seattle's KOL, for example, it reached the Top 10.

The Intruders consisted of two electric guitarists and a drummer. The guitarists were the Mitchell brothers, George and Augie, who were 17 and 29 years old at the time. Augie had played minor league baseball, and the brothers rated baseball second only to music among their passions. The drummer was Joe Rebardo. Augie was an Air Force veteran and Joe was a Marine Corps veteran. 

The Intruders were discovered while playing at a New Jersey Holiday Inn in 1958. Lee A.C. Gallo Jr. and Larry Bennett from Fame Records saw them and signed them to Fame, which was a subsidiary of Gallo's Gallo Records label. (Gallo also ran the music publishing firms Aurelio Music and Leeann Music.)

The Intruders' first record for Fame was "Fried Eggs," which George Mitchell wrote as a tribute to a relative whose nickname was "fried eggs." The songwriting credit was split between Mitchell, Gallo, and Ben Smith. According to Dead Wax, Smith had been a saxophone player in Andy Kirk's Mighty Clouds of Joy and owned the New York record labels Teenage, X-Tra, Tra-X, and others. Smith is credited as the writer or co-writer of 62 songs in the BMI database, but "Fried Eggs" appears to be the most successful one with his name on it.
 




The B-side of "Fried Eggs" was "Jefferie's Rock," which has the same composer credits.



The Fame label says "Vitasonic Sound" beneath the catalog number. Vitasonic was an audio technology in the film industry, but here it is probably only hype. 

The success of "Fried Eggs" was substantial enough to land the Intruders appearances on American Bandstand and on Alan Freed's television show.

The group followed up with a novelty adaptation of "O Tannenbaum" called "Frankfurters and Sauerkraut" (b/w "Creepin"), which was mostly instrumental but had occasional vocal interjections. 


The group's third and final Fame single, "Rock-A-Ma-Roll," was also released in 1959. It must be a rare single, because I couldn't find much information about it. The flip side was "Era-Rock-A."

After that, the group released one single on Beltone in 1961, "Camptown Rock" b/w "Morse Code." A number of groups have been called "the Intruders" over the years, but this is definitely the same Intruders that recorded "Fried Eggs," because the "Tequila"-esque "Morse Code" is credited to Mitchell/Rene/Gallo.




George Mitchell said in a YouTube comment that Augie Mitchell passed away about a year ago. George still plays music three nights a week and says that the secret to success in music is to "play with simplicity."

5 comments:

  1. My daughter and I met George Mitchell at a car wash yesterday. What a nice guy! He said to look him up, and I found this article. Thanks!

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  2. does anyone have an e mail address for George Mitchell.My name is Johnny Gibson I played bass with George and Augie for two years . so sorry to hear about Augie he was a great guy . I am still playing bass and on u tube with a band called privilege few if you print Will the real Johnny Cash stand up you will see it is george still living in California?I would like to get in touch with him thank you so much'

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  3. I just saw George Mitchell on my friends Facebook, apparently he plays at The Golden Spur Resteraunt in Glendora, Ca Maybe they can provide some info on how to contact him?

    alejandra

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    1. WHATS YOUR GIRL FRIEND FACEBOOK PAGE? AND WHAT INFO CAN SHE SHARE?

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  4. yes I need to contact George Mitchell myself about some good info SHOWTIME461@HOTMAIL.COM

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