Vintage Video Collection
1956: "It's Great To Be Young" Talent Show - The Four Preps sing "Jezebel"
1957: The Edsel Show - The 4 Preps back Lindsay Crosby singing "In The Middle of an Island"
1957: Ozzie & Harriet; "Oh Baby I'm Sorry"; Ricky Nelson & The 4 Preps perform "Bye Bye Love" & "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You"
1959: "Gidget" - w/ The 4 Preps
1958: The Dick Clark Show - "26 Miles (Santa Catalina)"
1977: Billboard Music Awards - The Bee Gees introduce The Four Preps singing "More Money for You and Me"
Blue Velvet is a once-in-a-lifetime, LIVE concert performance with Bruce's lifelong friend, frequent collaborator and former Prep, Diamond Dave Somerville temporarily filling in for the Preps' regular bass Skip Taylor.
Musical Director: W. Michael Lewis
"Blue Velvet" written by Lee Morris & Bernie Wayne (JLZ Music) ASCAP
Four Preps Video Introduction
The Four Preps featuring Original Lead Singer BRUCE BELLAND, Making music, Making friends, Making history!
Four Preps Mini Sampler
Excerpts of live performances by The Four Preps. The Four Preps are Bruce Belland, Bob Duncan, Joe Dickey and Skip Taylor. Musical director is W. Michael Lewis.
Four Preps Promo Video
The Four Preps featuring Original Lead Singer BRUCE BELLAND, making music, making friends, making history!
You Belong To Me
The Four Preps live at Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center (2009) doing their special version of "You Belong To Me." Featuring original lead singer Bruce Belland, Bob Duncan (formerly of The Diamonds), and Joe Dickey & Skip Taylor from The Crew Cuts. Musical Director is W. Michael Lewis.
Unchained Melody - Symphony Performance
The Four Preps perform the timeless classic "Unchained Melody" accompanied by The New Chordettes and The Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra on Sunday, November 2, 2014, at the Fred Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks, California.
So Many Voices Sing America's Song
"So Many Voices Sing America's Song" performed by The Vocal Majority Chorus.“ This song was used at two presidential inaugurations and subsequently honored as the official anthem of the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Bruce’s lyrics were read into the Congressional Record and he was awarded the Freedom Foundation’s Presidential Medal of the Arts.
What Would I Do Without My Music
From T.G. Sheppard's 1979 release "Daylight." A beautiful country version.
“WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT MY MUSIC” (the song I wrote with the multi-talented Harry Middlebrooks that Elvis was scheduled to record when he died), is now featured on YouTube as performed by over 130 different artists, from a men’s choir in Wales, and a high school glee club in South Carolina, to a lone teenager in his kitchen in Harlem.
It’s gratifying every time I watch one, and I thought I’d been moved as much as possible by their performances. But none has ever touched me like one that took place in the middle of the pandemic.
For the life of me, I couldn’t imagine what possible gratification could come out of this horrible scourge.
Then, just recently, as things started getting back on track, I discovered this Zoom video performed by a marvelous group of young people who may be separated physically, but are still united by their music.
With young people like this around, we just might work things out.
The Liberty High School 2020 Virtual Choir Awards
NOTE: “What Would I Do Without My Music” has become a favorite with choral groups around the world and YouTube currently features over 60 different versions from various choirs, should you want to hear the song performed by a large vocal contingent.
Down by the Station & 26 Miles
The "handsome rascals" performing Down by the Station and 26 Miles on Dick Clark's Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show. May 26, 1960 & April 12, 1958. Check out my saddle shoes!
Four Preps - A Letter To The Beatles (1964)
This was to be The Four Preps “comeback” hit in 1964. We used the legendary “Wrecking Crew” studio band—most of them buddies since our 50’s hits—and the session felt like the good old days.
The four of us really bore down to prove we were still around to tweak anybody who was fair game.
It’s the usual Preps tongue-in-cheek comment on a Pop culture phenomenon, just as we had kidded Elvis, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Dion and the Belmonts, the Kingston Trio, The PLatters and out-of-tune Doo Wop groups.
“Letter” started to race up the Billboard Charts when the Beatles’ management threatened to sue the Preps AND Capitol, our mutual label, for defamation. I’m not kidding.
Capitol buckled, withdrew the record and in 24 hours, it was impossible to buy… or even hear. It was the last significant chart action for the Preps, and more-or-less the beginning of the end. (More about that in the book.
Our good-natured satire seems so mild now, and I’m convinced the Beatles themselves would have laughed it off.
A classic case of corporate cowardice.
Now it’s a regular on YouTube, and I haven’t heard a word from Ringo or Paul.
The Four Preps May 1989 Interview
May 1989 Interview with the Four Preps by Clint Holmes, on Entertainment Tonight, with Jim Pike (from The Lettermen), David Somerville (from The Diamonds), Bruce Belland (from The Four Preps) and Ed Cobb (from The Four Preps).
Four Preps 1989 - Three Golden Groups Hits Medley
The Four Preps in Concert in 1989 with Bruce Belland, Ed Cobb, David Somerville, and Jim Pike. Singing the hits of The Four Preps, The Diamonds, and The Lettermen and finishing with SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW. Enjoy their magic!
I’m always fascinated by how two artists can interpret the same song so differently. Here are some prime examples...
"The Troublemaker" — Willie Nelson vs Della Reese
Willie’s recording of the song made double platinum history – and the cover of Rolling Stone.
What a marvelous singer and lady Della was. Total authority. Huge heart. She went Gospel and hit a home run.
“THE TROUBLEMAKER” has been recorded by a dozen different artists, but Willie Nelson’s version is the one that made history. It was the title song of Willie’s double platinum album, and the subject of a cover story in Rolling Stone. Willie’s quote on the front of the album says: “The words to The Troublemaker are as important today as they were 2,000 year ago!”
Concept & Lyrics: Bruce Belland (ASCAP)
Music: David Somerville
“THE TROUBLEMAKER” recorded by Della Reese (1971).
Concept & Lyrics: Bruce Belland (ASCAP)
Music: David Somerville
"Big Man" — The Four Preps vs Donny Osmond
The Four Preps - Big Man
The success of the Preps’ version was due in part to the rollicking piano introduction… an effect it took us 30 takes to capture.
Donny Osmond - Big Man
Donny gave it a slightly different treatment. Ah these young whipper snappers!
"Ain't That Just the Way" — Barbie Benton vs R&B diva Lutrecia McNeal
Barbi Benton - Ain't That Just the Way (1975)
Hard to believe it’s the same song.
Barbie sang her heart out in a “McCloud” episode, and had a small country hit.
Lutricia McNeal - Ain't That Just The Way (1997)
Ms. McNeal—God love her—updated it 20 years later, had a Platinum hit that reached the Top Ten in 28 countries.
Sort of a creative windfall.
"Sparkle And Shine" — Kathy Young vs the Four Coquettes
The Four Coquettes - Sparkle & Shine
Listen to the energy of The Coquettes, four talented gals I found at Uni High. It was only a local hit, but I’ve always LOVED it.
Kathy Young - Sparkle And Shine
Kathy (“A Thousand Stars”) Young’s version is essentially a cover.
Bruce and Lincoln Mayorga on Tour
Some of you die-hard fans of the original Four Preps, know that ever since Hollywood High the “fifth Prep”, was our genius arranger -pianist Lincoln Mayorga. A few years ago, “Linc” the fifth Prep, and Bruce the first, toured with a 2 man show that was spectacular fun for the two of us. I thought some of you might enjoy the promo piece put together for our show.
Ozzie and Harriet "The Exotic Housemother"
Bruce Belland gets some TLC from the sizzling Mamie Van Doren in "The Exotic House Mother" episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, 1964.
12 Days of Christmas
Excerpt from "The Twelve Days of Christmas" audience participation segment of The Four Preps Christmas Show at The Candlelight Pavilion in Claremont, CA.
A Woodie for Sandra Dee
Anecdote about Sandra Dee during the filming of "Gidget", the movie, by Bruce Belland of The Four Preps, one of the writers of "26 Miles". This is an introduction to the video SANDRA DEE/GIDGET - INSEPARABLE ICONS (next video, included below).
Sandra Dee/Gidget - Inseparable ICONS
The Four Preps tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Gidget starring Sandra Dee. "Gidget From Gidget" and Film clips from GIDGET.
Music for Disney
Throughout the 70’s, I was lucky enough to write lyrics for a handful of Disney films. (see www.brucebelland.com/songwriting-credits for titles)
My collaborator at the studio was a brilliant composer named Bob Brunner, whose office was on the corner of Goofy Lane and Pluto Way. A Disney project was always a dream experience. There was no other studio like it at the time. Co-ed Volleyball on the lawn at lunch. A cafeteria straight out of Archie Comics with young guys and gals wearing saddle shoes, and prim secretaries in heels and skirts. More like a 50’s college campus than a studio.
In fact, I never heard any Disney employee refer to it as a “studio.” It was always called the “campus.”
Whatever it was called, it was a wonderful place to work. Let me re-phrase that. At Disney it was never “work”. More like playtime.
Bob and I once spent a sleepless weekend filling a Friday afternoon order from the Mickey Mouse club for “10 original songs, production-ready by Monday”.
We delivered 10 on a bleary-eyed Monday morning, and went home to get some sleep.
One song in that bunch, “You’re Really Terrific,” was nominated for an Emmy.
It got beat out by a ditty from “Sesame Street.” It hurts a little less to lose to a great show. The film quality isn’t great, but wow – what a trip back in time.
As always, the Disney production values are superb.
Another tune spawned over those 48 hours, “Country Flavor” is a sentimental favorite of mine. Geez – did I really rhyme “Tom foolery or trickery” with “just a kick of hickory”?
Cole Porter eat your heart out!
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) Title Sequence
One of the films Bob Brunner and I were part of was “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes,” starring Disney’s new teen heart-throb KURT RUSSELL.
This trailer is a real kick.
Russell is terrific… doing most of his own stunts. Disney said they wanted “tech sounding language,” so I came up with a space age term, “cosmofrapic.”
O.K. Maybe, it’s not “Supercalifrag…whatever”. But they loved it.
By the way, the guys singing the song are a team called “Belland and Somerville”.
Music for the title sequence for the Walt Disney movie "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" (1969).
“Computer” and Russell were a smash, and Disney followed it with “The Barefoot Executive”. This trailer is really a kick with Russell doing most of the motorcycle stunts himself.
Bob Brunner and I wrote the theme which again was sung by Belland and Somerville.
"So Many Ways" — Title Song for Amy
Every songwriter has a heart-breaking story about a pet song that should have been more successful than it was.
This is one of mine.
After writing all kinds of playful songs for Disney, Bob Brunner and I were given an opportunity to create the theme for a beautiful little film called “Amy.”
It told the true story of a gallant young wife in 1913, who suffers the loss of her deaf child. She soon leaves her domineering husband and dedicates her life to educating deaf and blind children at a rural school in Appalachia.
A lovely English actress, Jenny Agutter, played the title role, and when they screened the film for Bob and me, we couldn’t wait to make our contribution to the story.
The Disney brass was liked what we submitted, and they thrilled me when they cast the great singer, Julie Budd to breathe life into the song. I had admired Julie ever since I first saw her perform on TV when she was 16. What an extraordinary artist.
She flew out here from NYC, and the next morning we all gathered in the campus recording studio to record our newborn creation.
A gifted singer has a way of breathing life into words scribbled on a yellow pad.
Just before the first take Julie, a consummate pro, walked over and asked me what kind of interpretation we wanted from her.
I took her hand and smiled, “We want Julie Budd to sing it like Julie Budd. That’s why you’re here.”
And boy did she come through. I was high for two days after the session.
Talk began about an Oscar nomination, and we couldn’t help fantasizing about the possibilities.
Sadly, the movie did not do well, and after making the shortlist for an Oscar nod, our song didn’t make it to the finals.
Disappointing, but I still have Julie’s beautiful rendering of a favorite song of mine.
Incidentally, the pristine piano accompaniment was played by the “Fifth Prep”, Lincoln Mayorga.
"So Many Ways" is the title song from the Disney movie Amy.
Lyrics: Bruce Belland (ASCAP)
Music: Robert F. Brunner (ASCAP)
Ketty Lester - Now More Than Ever (1969)
David Somerville and I wrote a great many “protest” songs in the late 60’s.
The country was in turmoil back then too, and Ketty, a devoted peacemaker recorded our song as her contribution to calming things down.
Unfortunately, the lyrics here are not always discernable.
The chorus sums up the theme, “Now is the Time to love ourselves less, and others a little bit more.”
Sadly, it’s still true… despite the feeble efforts of a lyricist and a well-intentioned lady 50 years ago.
Leonard “Mr. Spock” Nimoy “sings” The Hitch-Hiker
My longtime friend and partner David Somerville had studied acting with Leonard Nimoy, who became an avid fan of Belland and Somerville. (A lot more of B and S coming on site. Photos you have to see to believe.)
Leonard loved to sing. Most actors do.
He liked “Hitch hiker” because it could be “talk/sung” and didn’t demand a lot of vocal range.
Leonard was a wonderfully passionate man, and I always found it ironic that he became famous for portraying a man devoid of emotion.
What a kick it was touring with him.
National Lampoon’s Vacation, “Wally World National Anthem” performed by Chevy Chase
It’s a scenario straight out of a 1940’s MGM musical.
Two dispirited songwriters – in this case a gifted composer named Roy Rogosin and I, are in our studio struggling to create a Broadway show. (Which we ultimately do. It flops.)
The phone rings. It’s the music supervisor of a new Warner Brothers comedy starring Chevy Chase, called “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”
He does a rapid-fire plot summation… “everyday family takes off on a dream trip to “Wally’s World”—(Disneyland). Jubilant Dad, Mom and kids in car break into the “Wally World National Anthem.”—we want that Mickey Mouse Song sideways.”
Sounds like fun. A break from the drudgery of working on the show.
“Oh, one more thing”, he adds, “we need it tomorrow morning by 8:00. Can you do it—yes or no?”
We jump all over it. And he’s gone before I have a chance to ask him how he knew about us. (Things like this have happen to me “out of the blue” all my life.)
Roy writes terrific melodies, and is very funny. We hold a hilarious all-night work session that I still remember with a chuckle.
“Hmm, “Mickey Mouse song sideways. How’s this sound?”
By dawn we have it.
Then, an early, bleary-eyed breakfast at the Beechwood Café up the hill, and we hit the Warner Brother’s front gate at 8:00, lead sheet and demo tape in hand.
The self-important music honcho comes out takes them, says the check will be sent to our studio and walks off.
They shoot the scene that afternoon.
The movie does many, many millions at the box office and spawns a couple of sequels.
I have a very hip stepson who’s always been complimentary about the things I’ve done.
But nothing has impressed him more than my “Marty Moose” theme for a major film epic.
Here's the scene from National Lampoon's Vacation where the whole family sings the Marty Moose song... Hilarious!!!
The Checkmates - Please Don't Take My World Away
Circa 1967, The Checkmates were bringing down the house in Las Vegas at The Pussycat A Go Go, where they were discovered by Jazz Great Nancy Wilson. They were signed to Capitol Records and recorded several singles, including "Please Don't Take My World Away." In my lifelong collaboration with the 5th prep Lincoln Mayorga, we only wrote 2 songs together. We were trying to create a song like "You've Lost that Loving Feeling." Obviously, we didn't quite make it, but Sonny did a great job.