The Hello People are a little remembered 60s rock act that performed in mime makeup. They did sing, but between songs they performed mime routines and never spoke to the audience. Unfortunately, the mime routines did not come off on record as well as on stage. I always thought it would be cool in a concept art kind of way if their albums contained nothing but silent grooves. Alas, that was not the case.
When I was in high school I used to see Hello People albums in the bargain bins at the Annapolis Record & Tape Exchange all the time. Pete and I made fun of the band a lot. ("Hey dude are you gonna get this Hello People record? It looks pretty awesome." "Uh, yeah, I was going to, but I want to save up for this SWA record first.") The whole concept of a mime rock band just struck me as the worst kind of hippy-dippy 60s nonsense. I never heard the albums, so I had no idea whether the music was any good or not. I just assumed it was bad because it was...well, mime rock. In my defense, I never claimed to be open-minded. And when you're 16, mimes are an easy target for abuse.
At some point I stopped seeing Hello People albums in bargain bins, or anywhere else. I guess they were either snatched up by collectors of obscure 60s rock, or thrown out by record store owners looking to make room for CDs. So when I recently came across The Hello People's 1974 "comeback" record, The Handsome Devils, I was overtaken by curiosity and picked it up. It was only $3.50, so what the heck? After all the abuse I piled on the band as a kid without ever having heard them, I figured I owed The Hello People that much.
The first thing I noticed about this record was that it was produced by Todd Rundgren. I guess Todd loved him some Hello People. According this website, The Hello People toured with Rundgren during the 70s. Not surprisingly, the music sounds more than a bit like Todd Rundgren. Everyone Todd Rundgren produces ends up sounding like Todd Rundgren.
Frankly, the music on The Handsome Devils is not too bad. It's not great or anything, but I can think of a lot of music made by 60s holdovers circa 1974 that was considerably worse (including solo efforts by certain members of The Beatles). It makes me wonder if their 60s work is worth hearing after all. Maybe I would have been better off if I had picked up a copy of Fusion instead of Tom Troccoli's Dog.
Judging by this late 60s YouTube clip from the Teen Time television show, The Hello People made the kind of sunshine pop/soft psychedelic music that has enjoyed something of a renaissance of late. If I run across one of their late 60s Philips albums, I think I'll pick it up. Thank God for YouTube.
Anyway, here is the lead off track from their 1974 album, The Handsome Devils. This song peaked at #71 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in 1975.