Richard Tepp heard the British Invasion music in his hometown of Newark,
NJ and saw how the girls reacted to the Beatles, he knew exactly what
he wanted to do with his life - play Rock & Roll!
So he worked
up his courage and asked a local band, called The Emeralds, that
was playing one night at the YMHA on Chancellor Ave. in Newark near
his home, if he could sing a few songs with them.
the raw, powerful voice of the tall lanky kid, Richard was soon in the
band and they renamed themselves The Original Kounts.
Kounts started playing the great British Invasion songs and grew their
hair out, becoming the first longhair group in Newark. Back in those
days there weren't many longhaired guys around, and those that had it,
were usually in bands.
On one occasion, Norm, Marc & Richard were hanging out in The Indian
Pizzeria, also on Chancellor Ave., singing along with the jukebox and
these two guys struck up a conversation about what their musical aspirations
might be. As luck would have it, those two guys just happened to be
hit songwriters Ray Bloodworth and Larry Brown of Bob Crewe Productions
(the management group of Mitch Rider and of the Four Seasons, among
skeptical of such good fortune, the boys invited them to an Original
Kounts rehearsal. Well, Larry and Ray liked what they heard and saw.
It seemed that they (and co-writer Neville Nader) had an idea for a
song that they wanted to record and after hearing the raw power of this
group decided this band would fit their concept. Eventually, this song
became "Open Up Your Door"
agreed to do it, but as sometimes happens in life, the road to success
can be a bumpy one. Disputes erupted within the band about contracts,
and there were issues about the recording, and other things, too.
this time, Bob Crewe, seeing Richard with his long hair, said that he
was reminded of King Richard the Lionhearted, and, because they were
all very young, Crewe came up with a new name for the band: Richard
and the Young Lions.
began performing, mostly in the Northeast, as Richard and the Young
Lions during this tumultuous time and doing television shows (Jerry
Blavet and others in Philadelphia) and radio programs. There were also
many trips to the studio, but anxious to get the record out, the producers
decided to add studio musicians to cut short the recording process.
This did not sit well with the band, who wanted the opportunity to do
it all themselves, and it caused a major disaffection. But, they all
did go back into the studio to add all the vocals, along with Larry
and Ray, to the now finished music.
after the recordings were completed however, the band began to disintegrate.
First, both Jerry and Ricky left to return to school. Also during this
time, Marc came down with mono. Luckily, through mutual friends, temporary
replacements were found. But by this time, the rest of the Young Lions
(except for Bob) felt betrayed enough by Richard and Crewe & Co.
to quit the band in the hours preceding their appearance on the Clay
Cole television show.
a result, not wanting to let this opportunity go unfulfilled, Richard
had to find himself some longhairs to perform on the show and maybe
become the Young Lions.
he came to the local "Grunings on the Hill" ice cream parlor.....