Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965 to 1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.
Track 64/118: It’s Cold Outside by The Choir
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Aphoristic Rating: 8/10
IT’S COLD OUTSIDE – The Choir [2:46]
Personnel/DAVE SMALLEY: vocals, guitar * WALLY BRYSON: lead guitar, vocals * DANNY KLAWON: guitar * DAVE BURKE: bass * JIM BONFANTI: drums
Produced by NAJWEB HEDAFY (NEIL GANIM & DENNY GALLIGAN)
Recorded in Chicago, IL
Canadian-American single #CA-203 (9/66); Roulette single #R-4738 (5/67); Pop #68
The Mods formed in Cleveland in 1964. Inspired by The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, they opened for The Yardbirds and The Dave Clark 5. When the group, aged in their mid teens, recorded their debut single ‘It’s Cold Outside’, their record label made them change their name to The Choir.
‘It’s Cold Outside’ deviates from the usual garage rock style – with a light and innocent sound that recalls the early British Invasion. It was recorded in September 1966, but not released until May 1967. It’s out of step with the tougher and more psychedelic sounds of 1967, but it’s a strong song regardless. It was very popular on Cleveland’s three Top 40 radio stations, although it only peaked at #68 on the nationwide Billboard charts.
The Choir had a relatively short career, releasing a handful of singles between 1967 and 1970. They recorded an album in 1968, unreleased until 2018, and reunited for two concerts in 2006. Drummer Dann Klawon, who wrote ‘It’s Cold Outside’, became an electrical contractor.
The Choir’s biggest contribution to pop culture is the spinoff band they spawned. Dave Smalley, Wally Bryson, and Jim Bonfanti linked up with singer Eric Carmen and formed 1970s power-pop band the Raspberries. The Raspberries included ‘It’s Cold Outside’ on their 2004 live album Pop Art Live, alongside their own classics ‘Go All The Way’, ‘Let’s Pretend’, and ‘Overnight Sensation’.