This Top 10 Gary Puckett And The Union Gap Songs list presents the best Gary Puckett And The Union Gap Songs like “Young Girl,” and more. Minnesota-born Gary Puckett grew up in Yakima, Washington, close to the Union Gap, as well as Twin Fall, Idaho. When he was a teenager, he began to play guitar before moving to California to attend college after graduating from high school in 1960. Instead of continuing with his studies, he pursued music instead.
He played with a series of local bands before joining a local hard group, the Outcasts, before moving on to create a new group, Gary and the Remarkables. He, along with bass player Kerry Chater, keyboardist Gary Withem, saxophonist Dwight Bement, and drummer Paul Wheatbread served as the starting lineup. However, when the band embarked on its Pacific Northwest tour in 1966, Wheatbread stayed behind to serve as the house drummer for the Where the Action is television series. He did eventually catch up with the group.
In 1967, the group changed its name to The Union Gap, which then had them sport civil-war era Union army uniforms as part of their promotional gimmick. Between Puckett’s tenor voice and the band’s soft-rock style, Gary Puckett And The Union Gap earned themselves a contract with Columbia Records.
At first, the music Gary Puckett And The Union Gap performed and recorded were written and composed by Jerry Fuller of Columbia Records. Although some of the earlier material was successful enough to score high on the music charts that also saw a 1969 Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist, the band wanted to do their own stuff. Puckett, who enjoyed singing ballads, was opposed by Fuller, who hated it.
The creative differences between the band and fuller finally reached their peak in 1969 when Fuller prepared a studio orchestra to record a new song he had written for the band. Puckett and the group refused to cooperate, which put a permanent end to their working relationship with Fuller as they moved on to producer, Dick Glasser. Unfortunately for the group, the earlier success they achieved did not quite return to an ideal level, which later saw Chater and Withem choosing to leave the band as they wanted to be paid weekly salaries instead of album sale percentages.
Bement took over on bass while newcomers Barry McCoy and Richard Gabriel took over the keyboard and the horn, respectively. Starting in 1970, however, Puckett began to perform solo with the Union Gap now serving as his live backing band. In 1971, Puckett and the Union Gap parted ways that were followed a year later by the cancellation of Puckett’s recording contract.
When Gary Puckett’s recording contract was terminated, he stepped away from the music scene and went into dancing and acting for theatrical productions in the Los Angeles area. It wouldn’t be until 1981, through an engineered comeback tour held in Las Vegas, Nevada, would Puckett return to performing music again. When the Monkees embarked on their reunion tour in 1986, Puckett was on the bill for their first three live performances as he was now a regular performer on the oldies circuit at this point. Overall, Gary Puckett And The Union Gap have recorded and released a total of four studio albums, as well as two compilation albums. As a solo artist, Puckett recorded and released three studio albums, but when touring live it was Union Gap that accompanied as backing vocals.
Top 10 Gary Puckett And The Union Gap Songs
#10 – The Beggar
Released as a stand-alone single through Columbia Records, “The Beggar” was a song written by Gary Puckett, which is now among the songs featured on their 1970 compilation album, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap’s Greatest Hits. The album, as a whole, became certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As for “The Beggar,” this energetic, yet heartfelt single served as a great lyrical tale of how life is seen through the eyes of those whom society tends to ignore most.
#9 – Home
“Home” was the leading track featured on the studio recording, The New Gary Puckett and the Union Gap Album, which was released in 1969, and also appears on the 1970 compilation album, Gary Puckett & the Union Gap’s Greatest Hits. This beautifully laid out ballad paid homage to war veterans, as well as those still serving in VietNam at the time. During an era where there was a push to put an end to the American occupation in the VietNam War, this song served as Puckett’s message he, along with The Union Gap, simply wanted the soldiers to come home, safe and sound.
#8 – Don’t Make Promises
The original 1966 recording of “Don’t Make Promises” came from Tim Hardin’s debut album, simply titled, Tim Hardin 1. For him, this was a hit, along with its accompanying single, Reason to Believe. Both of these songs have seen several cover versions over the years. For Gary Puckett And The Union Gap, “Don’t Make Promises” their version of this fragile pop-rock classic saw Puckett’s vocals add a hint of dramatic flair. Although this song did not reach any of the music charts, it is still among the favorites associated with a group that knew how to make an impression where it counted.
#7 – Let’s Give Adam and Eve Another Chance
“Let’s Give Adam and Eve Another Chance” was a song that was recorded by Gary Puckett And The Union Gap for their 1970, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap’s Greatest Hits. On the Us Billboard Hot 100, the single charted at number forty-one while on the US Billboard Easy Listening/Adult Contemporary chart it peaked as high as number sixteen.
This served as the final charting single for the band before Kerry Chater and Gary Withem left. With a hint of Beatles in the style of the piano works, the Puckett-gospel-like, lyrical plea made this song an easy to listen to favorite. Although not released as a gospel song, there was enough biblical message put into it that brought the message home love matters more than past sins.
#6 – Don’t Give in to Him
On the US Billboard Hot 100, as well as the US Cashbox chart, “Don’t Give in to Him” was a number fifteen hit in 1968. On the Canada Singles Chart, it peaked at number ten and in 1969, peaked as high as number twenty-four on Australia’s Kent Music Report. “Don’t Give in to Him” came from The New Gary Puckett and the Union Gap Album, which was released in 1969.
It was still through the Columbia Records label, but now with a new producer, Dick Glasser. The instrumental group known as The Ventures covered this song for their 1969 album, Hawaii-Five-O. Ballads were the style of music Gary Puckett did best as he not only had the voice for it, but the melodic soul needed to catapult it from another slow-beat song into something spectacular.
#5 – This Girl is a Woman Now
“This Girl Is a Woman Now” was recorded by Gary Puckett And The Union Gap for the 1969 release of The New Gary Puckett and the Union Gap Album. This single reached number two on the US Billboard Easy Listening chart, at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100, and at number five on the US CashBox Top 100. In Canada, “This Girl is a Woman Now” peaked at number three and it was a number thirteen hit on Australia’s Go-Set singles chart. For Puckett, he’s at his lyrical best when performing a power ballad, which “This Girl is a Woman Now” was beautifully designed to be.
#4 – Over You
In 1968 the romantic ballad, “Over You” charted as high as number five on the US Cashbox chart, at number three on the US Billboard Easy Listening chart (now known as Adult Contemporary), and at number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100. Puckett’s baritone performance also saw this single peak at number three on Canada’s Singles Chart, at number six on Australia’s Kent Music Report, and at number seven on Recorded Music New Zealand’s singles chart.
It came from the third studio album, Incredible, which would be the final recording of Gary Puckett And The Union Gap in collaboration with Jerry Fuller of Columbia Records. “Over You” also became the group’s fourth consecutive certified gold single and record by the RIAA. This single featured strong influence from previous hits performed by the Righteous Brothers, as well as a notable performance by The Union Gap’s instrumental arrangement.
#3 – Woman, Woman
The debut single, “Woman, Woman,” was a lyrical ballad of a man’s fear about his love interest’s consideration of cheating on him, which was released in August 1967. It became the group’s first hit as it peaked as high as number three on the US Cashbox and at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100. It didn’t take long for “Woman, Woman” to become certified gold with the RIAA as a single, as well as the identically titled album. In Canada, it was a number one hit, as well as number seven on the official singles charts belonging to Australia.
Upon its original release, “Woman, Woman” only reached as high as number forty-eight on the UK Singles Chart, but its re-issue in 1974, along with Young Girl, saw this song combo peak as high as number six. For Gary Puckett, his preference to perform soulful ballads was hated by Jerry Fuller of Columbia Records, who insisted to come up with the songwriting material henceforth, at least until Gary Puckett And The Union Gap dissolved their working relationship with him in 1969.
#2 – Lady Willpower
On the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1968, “Lady Willpower” was a number seven hit while on the US Cashbox it peaked at number one. For Gary Puckett And The Union Gap, this was the third single to become another certified gold seller by the RIAA. In the UK, “Lady Willpower” charted as high as number five on its Official Singles Chart. It also peaked as high as number four on Australia’s Kent Music Report. This now or never lyrical demand, performed by Puckett’s trademark baritone, made this an easy-listening favorite among the fans who enjoyed what was considered a contemporary classic at the time. It still holds a special place among discerning listeners today.
#1 – Young Girl
On the US Billboard Hot 100, “Young Girl” was a number two hit while on the US Cashbox it peaked at number one. It was the first occasion Gary Puckett And The Union Gap experienced a number one hit on the US Cashbox, as well as on the UK Singles Chart in 1968. Also, for the first time, “Young Girl” earned the group their first real taste at global success as it also topped the music charts belonging to the nations of Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand.
It also became the second certified-gold single for the group by the RIAA. Puckett’s soulful distress was performed beautifully as a man learning his love interest is younger than the legal age of sexual consent. It served as a stark contrast to the debut single, “Woman, Woman,” which joined “Young Girl” in 1974 as a rerelease in 1974 in the UK, which saw them both chart as high as number six.
Photo: David Baillieul, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
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