One-Hit Wonders Alive N Kickin’

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Introduction

Alive N Kickin’ (aka Alive and Kicking & Alive’N Kickin’) were a one hit wonder band out of Brooklyn, New York.  Their 1970 Billboard top ten song “Tighter, Tighter”  peaked at #7 on The Billboard Hot 100 and was a gold record selling over 1 million copies.  The song was written by Bob King and Tommy James of Tommy James and the Shondells.  Tommy also had the group signed by his record label Roulette Records owned by mobster Morris Levy (as defined by Tommy in his  autobiography “Me, the Mob, and the Music”).  The original band consisted of lead singers Sandy Toder and Pepe Cardona (the bands founder and leader),  Bruno Sudano (organ, who later founded the band Brooklyn Dreams and also married Disco singer Donna Summer), Woody Wilson (bass guitar), Johnny Parisio (guitar) and Ron Pell (drums).  The band released two more singles “Just Let It Come” (peaking at #69 on The Billboard Hot 100) and “London Bridge”, but neither had the success of their first hit.  Because of this and their rocky relationship with Levy, the band broke up in 1971 after making only one record album titled “Alive ‘N Kickin’.” Pepe Cordona reinvented the band in 1976 and they continue to perform at weddings, parties, clubs and other small venues in the northeast.  Other Alive N Kickin’ Hit Songs:  “Junction Creek,” “Jordan,” “Kentucky Fire,” “Sunday Morning,” “Mississippi Mud,” “Hitter Man,” “Mother Carey’s Chicken,” “You Gave Me Something”  &  “Good Ole Lovin’ Back Home.” More on the band’s history below.

The formation of Alive N Kickin’

Alive ‘N Kickin was one of those one-hit wonder bands in the 70s music period. In 1968, a group of teenagers from Brooklyn, New York decided to form a band. Sandy Toda (vocals), Pepe Cardona (vocals), Dave Shearer (guitarist), Bruce Sudano (keyboardist), Woody Wilson (bass guitarist) and Vito Albano (drummer) collectively named themselves Alive And Kicking. But later on, they altered their band name from Alive and Kicking to Alive N Kickin’.

“Tighter, Tighter” – the group’s only major hit record

After two years of dealing with struggles as a young band, they finally got signed with Roulette Records where they started recording for Tommy James (of the sixties rock n roll group, Tommy James And The Shondells). The band started their recording sessions for their debut album. “Tighter Tighter,” Alive N Kickin’s first single off their self-titled album, was released in May 1970. It went to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year (and stayed for a total of 16 weeks on the chart), selling over a million copies and receiving a gold disc.

Alive N Kickin’s follow-up singles, “Just Let It Come,” “Good Ole Lovin’ Back Home,” and “London Bridge” did not gain much popularity. The band broke up without much fanfare. Despite another minor hit with “Just Let It Come,”  (#69 pop), Alive N Kickin’ is mostly considered as a one-hit wonder.

Reformation and later career

In 1976, the four founding members of Alive N Kickin’ reunited and paraded with a new bassist, Richie Incorvaia. The band’s reformed version emerged as one of the sought-after dance, party and show bands in the region from the mid 70’s until the late 80’s.

Alive N Kickin’ is still active, although Pepe and Johnny Parisio are the only remaining original members, while the rest of the lineup consists of new members. They still perform for parties, dance events and weddings. Incorvaia had already passed away.

These people made up the band:

  • Pepe Cardona – lead vocals
  • Elaine Tuttle – vocals
  • John Parisio – guitar
  • Jeff Miller – keyboards
  • Chris Vega – bass
  • Sal G. – Sax
  • Zoe Grella – Drums

In August 2019, Pepe Cardona received a stage 3 pancreatic cancer diagnosis. In April 2020, the tumor was removed, but it had already migrated to his stomach. Cardona, 72, passed away on July 28, 2020.

Lists of Songs

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the rock and roll group “Alive N Kickin” was very well-liked. Some of their well-known songs are:

Tighter, Tighter

Composer: Tommy James / Robert L. King

Just Let It Come

Composer: Tommy James / Robert L. King

Mississippi Mud

Composer: W. Wilson

Jordan

Composer: Bruce Sudana / W. Wilson

Midnight Cowboy

Composer: John Barry and Don Black

You Gave Me Something

Composer: W. Wilson

Sunday Morning

Composer: W. Wilson

Mother Carey’s Chicken

Composer: W. Wilson

Kentucky Fire

Composer: W. Wilson

Junction Creek

Composer: W. Wilson

Hitter Man

Composer: W. Wilson

Good Ole Lovin’ Back Home

Composer: W. Wilson

Down So Long

Composer: Jewel

London Bridge

Composer: David Gates

My Friends

Composer: Tony Powers and Jimmy Phillips

The First Cut is the Deepest

Composer: Cat Stevens

  • Do You Know What I Mean
  • Tell Me What You Want
  • Angels
  • Life At 180 (Magnum Opus)
  • Move My Way

These are Alive N Kickin well-known songs. The band’s music is still well-liked by followers of traditional rock and roll.

 

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