The Happenings are a 1960s pop group formed in 1965 from Paterson, New Jersey. Their biggest and best-known hits were 1966’s “See You In September” (their cover of the Tempos original) and 1967’s “I Got Rhythm” (a cover of George and Ira Gershwin original), which were done in the group’s sunshine pop style. The original lineup consisted of Bob Miranda, David Libert, Tom Guiliano and Ralph DeVito (who was later replaced by Bernie LaPorta). Lenny Contorti later joined the band as their drummer. During their heyday, The Happenings enjoyed a handful of Billboard Hot 100 hits during the years 1967-1968, including four Top 20 singles.
Their claim to fame rested on taking on other people’s songs and putting their own “spin” into them, which was their original formula. They later began to write their own material. They also performed a handful of LPs aside from singles of course, and appeared in several television shows such as The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. The band still performs today, only occasionally, with Miranda being the remaining original member.
The formation of the Happenings
The Happenings are a pop act formed in Paterson, New Jersey in 1965. The original members were Bob Miranda, David Libert, Tom Giuliano and Ralph DiVito, but in the future the lineup would shift. In 1968 DiVito left, and Bernie LaPorta came to replace him. A newer addition to the group, Lenny Conforti, also arrived.
Miranda, Libert, Giuliano, LaPorta and Conforti made up of the Happenings’ classic lineup until 1970.
The Happenings are primarily known for their two major hits: “See You in September” and “I Got Rhythm.” Their charting singles were mostly covers.
“See You in September”
“See You in September” is written by Sid Wayne and Sherman Edwards and was originally sang by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania vocal group the Tempos in 1959. The Happenings recorded the most famous version, and brought the song into the top ten pop chart at #3 in 1966. The song appeared on the Happening’s self-titled debut album.
“I Got Rhythm”
“I Got Rhythm,” on the other hand, is a jazz standard written by brothers-composers George and Ira Gershwin, and was published in 1930. It has also been featured on several films, and covered by a lot of artists since. The Happenings did one of “I Got Rhythm”‘s more commercially successful versions, which peaked at #3 ont eh Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. It also charted in the UK that same year, at #28.
How did the Happenings become popular?
Other singles that performed well on the charts include the Goffin-King song “Go Away, Little Girl” (#12 pop, 1966) and “My Mammy” (#13 pop, 1967) which was popularized by Al Jolson.
Their claim to fame initially rested on taking on other people’s songs and putting their own “spin” into them. Aside from their singles, the band also recorded a few albums that include their eponymous debut album (1966),Psycle (1967) and Piece of Mind (1969). They also made appearances on national television (such as Tonight with Johnny Carson and The Merv Griffin Show). Although the band initially thrived in covering other artists’ songs, later in their career they had also started to write originals. The classic Happenings lineup dissolved in 1970, when Libert left the group. He eventually managed other acts such as George Clinton and Alice Cooper. Today, the Happenings still exists, but Miranda is the only original member of the group remaining.