The Thomas Group

(L-R: Marty Howard, David Goldsmith, Tony Thomas, Bobby Wallerstein, Greg Gilford)

Members (1966-late 1967)

Name

Instrument

Tony Thomas Drums
Greg Gilford Organ & Lead Vocals
Myron (Marty) Howard Lead Guitar
Robert Wallerstein Rhythm Guitar
David Goldsmith Bass Guitar

Members (late 1967-1968)

Name

Instrument

Tony Thomas Drums
Greg Gilford Organ & Lead Vocals
Steven Gaines Lead Guitar
Robert Wallerstein Rhythm Guitar
David Goldsmith Bass Guitar

(L-R: Greg Gilford, Bobby Wallerstein, Tony Thomas, Marty Howard, David Goldsmith)

(Location: Beverly Blvd., nr. Beverly Hills, CA)


Discography

Release Date

Title

Writer

Producer

Time

Label

Catalogue #

A/B Side

Audio

Notes

1966.03 Penny Arcade P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri 2:33 Dunhill D-4027 A Mono The percussion sounds like someone shaking a piggy bank! Falsetto on the chorus is by P.F. Sloan.
1966.03 Ordinary Girl P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri 2:15 Dunhill D-4027 B Mono Originally released on both of Terry Black's albums in 1965.
1966.05 Autumn P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri 2:35 Dunhill D-4030 A Mono
1966.05 Don't Start Me Talkin' 'Bout My Baby P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri 2:35 Dunhill D-4030 B Mono
1967.01 I've Got No More To Say P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri 2:33 Dunhill D-4062 A Mono This single was apparently a regional hit in Albany, NY. Issued in a picture sleeve.
1967.01 Then It Begins P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri 2:29 Dunhill D-4062 B Mono Recorded at Eldorado Studios. A demo version also exists from Western Recorder. Marty Howard plays lead guitar.
1967.11 Is Happy This Way Susan Haber Steve Barri 2:07 Dunhill D-4117 A Mono Notable in that it is the only song released which does not feature a solo Greg Gilford vocal. Here it is blended with Steve Barri's voice. Susan Haber also wrote "Please Don't Ever Leave Me" (The Cyrkle) and "Summer Love" (J. Davidson, Laurie Johnson).
1967.11 Ordinary Girl P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri 2:15 Dunhill D-4117 B Mono The same recording as the D-4027 B-side.


Unreleased Recordings

Recording Date

Title

Writer

Producer

Time

Label

Audio

Notes

1968 Someone Greg Gilford Steve Barri ? ABC / Dunhill This was the first song recorded on which The Thomas Group played all the instruments. It was also the first song to be recorded that was written by one of the band. While recording of the basic tracks was finished, the vocal needed re-recording, and the track needed sweetening (i.e. the addition of horns and strings).
1968 Is It Any Wonder? P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri The Thomas Group ABC / Dunhill ? All instruments played by The Thomas Group. Recorded at Eldorado Studios.
1968 Someone Greg Gilford Tony Harris VMC Records Tony Harris was an L.A. producer. The label VMC Records sold the unfinished master of "Someone" to Epic Records. If anyone has "Someone", please contact me!
1968 I'm Gone The Thomas Group The Thomas Group
1968 I Just Want A Chance The Thomas Group The Thomas Group "Our hardest rocker"!
1968 Is It Over? The Thomas Group The Thomas Group
1968 It's So Nice In The Sunshine, Baby The Thomas Group The Thomas Group
1968 New People The Thomas Group The Thomas Group This was recorded in an attempt to get the title song of a new series called "The New People" (co-produced by Tony's father, Danny, and Aaron Spelling) for Leonard Goldberg's nascent network ABC TV. The honor eventually went to The First Edition.
1968 Unwanted Man The Thomas Group The Thomas Group
1968 Woman of 7 Sins The Thomas Group The Thomas Group
1968 Hold My Hand The Thomas Group The Thomas Group The lyrics at the start of the bridge are:

≥Stenographic notebook paper
Written are the words, ĆIĻll see you laterĻ.
Do you think IĻll ever realize?≤

referring to a ĆDear JohnĻ moment.of a guy coming into a room, and seeing a sheet of steno-pad paper, on which his girlfriend has written.

Live / TV Appearances

Date

Name

Place

Notes

1966.05.29 The Ed Sullivan Show Performed "Autumn". Their first professional exposure was before an estimated audience of 30,000,000. Ed Sullivan introduced them, describing them as having a "groovy, smooth, rock sound".
1966 Numerous TV Shows West Coast, U.S.A.
1966 Dick Clark Caravan of Stars 7 Eastern States Performed approximately 30-minute sets, featuring covers of such songs as "Mr. Soul" (Buffalo Springfield) and "Reason To Believe" (Tim Hardin), in addition to their own material. Other acts on the tour were Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, The Capitals ("Cool Jerk"), The Happenings ("See You In September"), Lou Christie ("Lightning Strikes"), Strangelove ("I Want Candy"), and Cash McCall.
1966 Utah State Fair Utah
1967 Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Santa Monica, CA. The Thomas Group opened for The Turtles and Eric Burdon and The Animals.
1967 Where the Action Is (ABC - Dick Clark Productions) Hollywood Performed "I've Got No More To Say".
1967 9th Street West (WOR - Casey Kasem's show) Hollywood Performed "Autumn". At the time Casey Kasem was dating Tony's sister Terre Thomas, the band manager.
1967 The Andy Williams Show (NBC) Hollywood Performed "Is Happy This Way".
1967 Riot On Sunset Strip U.S.A. A full-length feature film, for which The Thomas Group filmed one scene, and recorded a song, which was scored and arranged by Jimmie Haskell. Whether the scene or the song made it to the final cut is uncertain - the video has been out-of-print for a long time.



Information

Background

Anthony (Tony) C. Thomas is the youngest of three children of the freemason comic of Lebanese ancestry, Danny Thomas (died 1991.02.06), and his wife Rose Marie (died 2000). Danny Thomas went from a childhood of poverty in Toledo, Ohio to become a star in the United States, producing such hits as "Make Room for Daddy" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show", gaining in the process such friends as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, George Burns, Sid Caesar, and Buddy Hackett.. On 1962.02.04, Danny Thomas founded the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, which was to play a significant role in his life. His early 90s autobiography, "Make Room for Danny" co-authored by Bill Davidson, might give more information about this. Tony was born in Los Angeles in 1948.12.07, and grew up in Beverly Hills.

Gregory Maxwell Gilford is the son of actress Anne Gwynne. Ms. Gwynne made some 65 films from 1939 to 1970, mostly for Universal Pictures, including "Spring Parade", "Ladies Courageous", "Black Friday", "Sin Town", "We've Never Been Licked" (still played at Texas A&M every year), "Jailhouse Blues", "Frontier Badmen", "Bad Man From Red Butte", "Panhandle" (Blake Edwards' first film), "Murder In The Blue Room", "The Strange Case of Dr. Rx", "The Glass Alibi", "Arson Inc.", "Broadway", "House of Frankenstein", "Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe", "Ride 'Em Cowboy, and "The Enchanted Valley". As for television, Anne Gwynne holds the distinction of starring in what was, perhaps, the first series produced strictly for the new medium. In 1947-1948, Ms. Gwynne starred in "Public Prosecutor", filming 26 episodes for NBC.

Early Days

The Thomas Group met, according to the liner notes of the single "I've Got No More To Say", at Beverly Hills High School. During their senior year, they were all enthusiastic basketball players, and thus got to know each other on the school's court. Tony, Greg, Marty and David were all native Californians, while Robert originated from Kentucky. David had studied the trumpet prior to joining the group. Marty apparently had "a wealth of professional experience".

The Years of Success

1965

Dunhill Records discovered them, and signed them to Trousdale Music as writers with a 5-year contract. P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri were apparently impressed with their "happy sound and fresh look". They assembled their standard team of studio musicians to work with the band, namely P.F. Sloan on guitars, Joe Osborne (bass), Larry Knechtel (keyboards), and Hal Blaine (drums).The following table provides a brief summary of some of the other people behind the group.

Role Name Notes
Agency Representation Ted Ashly, The Ashly / Famous Agency Ted went on to become Chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures for a time.
Management Terre Thomas Tony's sister.
PR Rogers & Cowan

1966

They were allegedly acclaimed as "the fastest rising rock'n' roll group" of 1966. An article in 'KRLA Beat' in late 1966 featured an article about them. Even before their third single had been issued, however, they found themselves back in various colleges in Southern California, beginning their Freshman year, in September 1966.

Steve Barri said the following about them:
"At that time, again we always seemed to jump on what craze was happening at the time and at that time there was a lot of success by artists who were sons of stars, and Tony Thomas was the son of Danny Thomas, and a very good drummer as well. It was just this little band that he had that we heard and again, it was an opportunity for us to have someone do our material and the songs which we were writing, and we felt we had a good shot with them. They did do an Ed Sullivan show and one of the songs we had out with them, "Autumn", got on the charts here, but it was never that successful."
(Taken from an interview with Glenn A. Baker in 1983.02, courtesy of California Music)

While on the first two singles, background vocals were mainly P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, from the 3rd single onwards, the group would participate more in their recordings. Greg, Tony and David added their voices to P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri's background vocals.

1967

Steve Barri told The Thomas Group that "I've Got No More To Say" was the number one record in South Africa of 1967. (If true, Dunhill must have enjoyed an inordinate amount of success there, what with the South African Fantastic Baggys!). However it had little success in the USA, which raised eyebrows at their record company. Despite having had top quality material and staff to work with, none of their first three singles had made much impact saleswise. Jay Lasker (the president of Dunhill after Lou Adler sold it to ABC) decided that the problem was the lead vocal; hence Steve Barri's vocal being prominent in the mix of their 4th single.

Marty Howard was severly injured in a single engine plane crash on a trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. David Goldsmith suggested a friend of his, the rest of the band agreed, and so Marty was replaced on lead guitar by Steven Gaines in late 1967.

The group would use a room at Tony Thomas' home for rehearsal. It was here that Jimmy Haskell helped them work on one of his songs for the "Riot On Sunset Strip" movie, although is uncertain whether this recording was ever finished. The group's participation in the movie was probably due to David Goldsmith having a connection with its producers. This movie itself was a teen drama dealing with the problems innocent flower children had in dealing with society's "squares" (police, parents, storekeepers...). Greg Gilford played a bad guy who was holding a school building hostage, although it is uncertain whether this short scene made it to the final cut of the movie.

Their fourth, and final single, the understated "Is Happy This Way", marked a slight change of direction, to a mellow, "soft rock" style.

1968

Sessions for a fifth single yielded two songs, "Someone" and "Is It Any Wonder?", in a successful attempt to show that The Thomas Group could play their own instruments, and stop using studio musicians. Yet, this was apparently not what was wanted at Dunhill, and so the group left. 8 tracks were written, recorded and produced by the band in order to interest other labels. Through their manager, Terre Thomas, a connection was made with the small label, VMC Records, for whom the band re-recorded the song they had recorded at their final Dunhill session, "Someone". It was to be the band's final session. The president of VMC decided not to release it as a single, and so the band drifted apart. The first to leave were Tony and Robert. Greg, David and Steve recruited a couple of new members, and released a single "Little Girl, You're A Woman To Me" / "Together" as a single on VMC Records, under the band name Morning Sun (VMC 739). The single was commercially unsuccessful, and so Morning Sun broke up.Greg Gilford remained with VMC as a solo artist. His producer, Tony Harris, and his partner, then sold the VMC Records master of "Someone" to Epic Records.



Where Are They Now?
  • Tony Thomas

    Tony Thomas' oldest sister, Marlo, became a sitcom star hereself in the late 60s as "That Girl". She was asked "What was the biggest disadvantage of being Danny Thomas's daughter?", and replied that "The real disadvantage was not having my parents there when I wanted them. They traveled a lot, and my sister, brother and I were left home with staff and relatives. It made me appreciate the telephone. As far as being an actor and following a famous parent, the biggest disadvantage is that you aren't allowed to fail anywhere. People are watching you too soon; even when I was doing summer stock, people were writing reviews of me in Variety because they wanted to see what Danny Thomas's daughter was doing. It gives you too much spotlight too soon, and you have to make a lot of mistakes before you get to be any kind of an artist." Perhaps the same happened to The Thomas Group.
    Tony went on to study at the University of San Diego, and through his father's connections, moved into the field of TV and movie production. In 1976, Tony Thomas created Witt-Thomas-Harris Productions, together with Susan Harris and her husband Paul Witt, which grew to become the largest independent producers of television comedy in the United States, including the cult favorite "Soap", which began airing in 1977. Here is some of his work:

    Producer filmography

    Date Title Type Position
    1971 Brian's Song TV Associate Producer
    1972 Chill Factor, The (aka Cold Night's Death, A) TV Associate Producer
    1975 Fay TV Series Producer
    1976 Practice, The TV Series Producer
    1976 Griffin and Phoenix: A Love Story TV
    1984 Firstborn (aka First Born) Motion Picture Producer
    1985 Golden Girls, The TV Series Executive Producer
    1987 Beauty and the Beast TV Series
    1988 Empty Nest TV Series Executive Producer
    1989 Dead Poets Society Motion Picture
    1989 Heartland TV Series Executive Producer
    1991 Blossom TV Series Executive Producer
    1991 Herman's Head TV Series Executive Producer
    1991 Nurses TV Series
    1992 Final Analysis Motion Picture
    1993 John Larroquette Show, The TV Series Executive Producer
    1994 Mixed Nuts (aka Lifesavers) Motion Picture
    1995 Muscle TV Series
    1995 Minor Adjustments TV Series Executive Producer
    1995 Brotherly Love TV Series Executive Producer
    1996 Radiant City TV Series Executive Producer
    1996 Local Heroes TV Series Executive Producer
    1996 Pearl TV Series Executive Producer
    1998 Secret Lives of Men, The TV Series Executive Producer
    1999 Everything's Relative TV Series Executive Producer


    Now his two older sisters, Marlo and Terre continue to do work for the St. Jude Children's Research hospital. Marlo serves as the hospital's National Outreach Director, Terre serves on the ALSAC / St. Jude board and Tony organizes many fund-raising events. Tony was interviewed in the 1995 documentary "Danny Thomas: Make Room for Danny."

    Here is a picture of Tony in 1996:

    From left to right:

    Terre Thomas, John Larroquette, Tony Thomas and Marlo Thomas


  • Robert Wallerstein


    Robert works as an attorney in Los Angeles for the legal company Armstrong Hirsch, which specializes in the entertainment industry.


  • David Goldsmith

    He went on to become a highly talented and experienced broadcast executive, with now more than 25 years of continuous work in the Hollywood production community. He supervised or produced TV programs such as 'Shogun', 'Winds of War', 'Max Headroom', 'Valerie', 'Perfect Strangers' and 'She's The Sheriff'. As a senior manager and creative affairs specialist, he controlled the budgets and ran the programming operations for various organizations including Grant-Tribune Productions, Lorimar Television, Gaylord Productions, Chuck Fries Productions, Paramount Television and MGM Television. He now heads a full service program / marketing consulting firm that assists new and established companies with high-level development and marketing contacts to major media outlets.


  • Greg Gilford

    After The Thomas Group broke up, Gilford released a single on VMC Records, "Little Girl, You're A Woman Now" / "Together" (by Harry Nilsson) ("Someone" being an unreleased 3rd track from these Tony Harris-produced sessions).He then went on to sign as a solo artist with CBS Records Group's Epic Records before touring Europe. Staying in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, he married and remained in Holland for 4 years performing and touring in Europe. Returning to New York, he produced and starred in numerous Off- Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions, including 'The Crucible', 'Native Son', 'Moon for the Misbegotten'and 'Rage'. When the personal computer was introduced, he got swept up in the new technology, becoming a consultant to various companies including Blue Cross / Blue Shield. Gilford became a pioneer in the fields of virtual reality production, interactive multimedia production, and the internet. Gilford, continuing his artistic expression, produced and starred in the inaugural production at the Off-Broadway Producer's Club Theatre in "The Legend of Nick Diablo". Keeping his hand in music, he produced and arranged "Hep deHopcat at the Hep Hop", a CD project for Cybersapien Entertainment. Currently a web architect, Gilford lives in New York City.


  • Marty Howard

    Unknown


  • Steven Gaines

    Unknown





    With deepest thanks to Greg Gilford for the supply of a great amount of additional information.