Songs You May Have Missed #32

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Rare Breed/Ohio Express: “Beg, Borrow and Steal” (1966/67)

This is one of those songs which actually did hit the top 40 and still many people have no recollection of it since it’s been all-but-forgotten by oldies radio.

Originally released by the Rare Breed in 1966, “Beg, Borrow and Steal” was a chart flop. Then the same recording was remixed and re-issued on another label in ’67, credited this time to bubblegum band Ohio Express (known for such think-pieces as “Chewy Chewy” and “Yummy Yummy Yummy”). This time it hit #29 on the charts.

Ohio Express were, like 1910 Fruitgum Company and The Music Explosion, part of Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz’ Super K Productions, an interchangeable stable of musicians who recorded a good number of hits during the late 60’s peak of bubblegum pop. Sometimes an entirely different group of musicians would go out on tour under one of these band names than had actually recorded the songs. In this case the members of Ohio Express never had anything to do with recording the song. “Beg, Borrow and Steal” comes much closer to garage rock than their bubblegum hits. Whatever it is, it’s certainly a good song that fell through the cracks. And I have no problem with its ripping off the opening riff from “Louie Louie” either.

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