My Version Is Better Than Yours Part 6 –Incorporating the Mike Berry story Part 2: Round The Gum Tree:Fire VS Real McCoy

Fire –Round The Gum Tree/Toothie Ruthie –London 45 -20048 (1968 US issue)
Real McCoy –Round The Gum Tree/ I Will –Target 7N 17704 (1969 IRL)

We are talking Bubblegum here and with a capital B! Fire were a trio from Hounslow featuring future Strawb Dave Lambert, they are more widely celebrated for their classic Psych/ Freakbeat number My Father’s Name Was Dad (Decca). Mike was producing this later Fire session.

MB: Time was running out and their songs were not coming together, so I showed them this song that I knew we could finish before we ran out of time.

At 1 minute and 32 seconds you can see his point and it’s also a very simple but catchy tune, even the backing vocals are sped up sounding like the Chipmunks on Helium.
MB: After we finished the session, I said to myself –What I have done here? –I’ll never work in this business again.

Later Mike received a phone call… “Hello Mike –Dick Rowe (head honcho at Decca at the time) here –I have to say that Round The Gum Tree is the most commercial song I’ve ever heard, we must release it and it will be a huge smash”

MB: I thought it was a prank call and I put the phone down on him, but rang back to check and it was actually him

Fire’s Round The Gum Tree wasn’t the predicted smash, but Irish showband Real McCoy gave it another shot. Their version is longer with added Psych guitar effects and even a key change. Whatever version you prefer, this song sounds like a real hit, just a shame that it wasn’t issued in the US as The 1910 Fruitgum Company…

Click on title for edits of Fire’s and Real Mccoy’s versions of Round The Gum Tree

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