For a few years, the musicians in the Myddle Class led a Zelig-like existence, rubbing shoulders with people who would become legendary. And though this garage-rock band left behind some great recordings — including “Don’t Let Me Sleep Too Long,” below — they are now pretty much forgotten.
So let me recap: Singer David Palmer, guitarist Rick Philp, drummer Myke Rosa, organist Danny Mansolino and bassist Charles Larkey began playing together while attending Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren Township, in the mid-’60s. Through rock journalist Al Aronowitz, who was living in Berkeley Heights, they were introduced to the great songwriting duo of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, who wrote material for the band and produced their singles, and used them as studio musicians for some of their demos. When the band presented a concert at Summit High School in December 1965 (organized by Aronowitz), one of the opening acts was the then-unknown Velvet Underground, performing their first gig ever (and, by all accounts, shocking everyone with the intensity of their sound).
The Myddle Class continued to work together for several years, mainly playing clubs in New York, but never landed a big record contract or scored a hit single, and their story came to an end when Philp was murdered by a college roommate in 1969.
Palmer resurfaced, though, as a member of Steely Dan, and sang on that group’s first album, 1972’s Can’t Buy a Thrill (most famously, on the song “Dirty Work”). Larkey continued to work with King — he contributed to her classic Tapestry album — and was married to her from 1970 to 1976.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.