Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
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Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (initially credited as "The Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett") was a popular American pop rock group in the late 1960s (see 1967 in music, 1968 in music, 1969 in music).
Gary Puckett (born 17 October 1942, Hibbing, Minnesota) grew up in Yakima, Washington (adjacent to the city of Union Gap) and Twin Falls, Idaho, graduating from Twin Falls High School.
Puckett formed the band in San Diego, California in 1967, and they were quickly signed by Columbia Records. Their first hit was the 1967 single "Woman, Woman" (written by CEQ;Jim Glaser & CEQ;Jimmy Payne) reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100), which was followed during the next two years by "Young Girl" (#2), "Lady Willpower" (#2), "Over You" (#7), "Don't Give In To Him" (#15), and "This Girl Is A Woman Now" (#9). Although the band never had a #1 record in the United States, "Young Girl" reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart. Controversial at the time, it tells the tale of a man trying to resist seduction by an underage girl who has "all the charms of a woman". Dramatically delivered in Puckett's trademark rich tenor and with a memorable strings and brass arrangement, the song was an instant classic and is still much played on radio today.
In addition to lead singer Puckett, the original members of The Union Gap included Dwight Bement (keyboards and saxophones), Kerry Chater (electric bass and rhythm guitar), Paul Wheatbread (drums), and Gary "Mutha" Withem (woodwinds and keyboards).
Puckett's powerful voice, and the skills of producer/songwriter Jerry Fuller, made this band one of the most familiar sounds on the radio during this period. In addition, many of their songs were loosely linked by a common theme of female empowerment, which was unusual for the era and genre. Another characteristic of The Union Gap that distinguishes it from its contemporaries was the band's (at the time) risqué lyrics. One of the band's gimmicks was that the members often performed dressed in Civil War era Union Army uniforms.
Although The Union Gap was disbanded in 1971, Puckett has had modest success as a solo artist, mostly performing and re-recording the band's classic songs. He has also released some new material, including a 2001 holiday album entitled At Christmas.
As of 2007, Puckett continues to perform live concerts in small venues across the U.S.
The group's hits continue to sell today, especially as part of 1960s hits compilations. All inclusive sales of the band's singles, albums, Puckett's solo efforts, and compilations, currently exceed 25 .mil units worldwide.