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December 13, 2004

'Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye' - finally, the secret of Steam

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For decades I have been mystified by the group Steam.

In 1969 they recorded one of the enduring classics of rock 'n roll and Philadelphia Eagles fans.

I had assumed for many years that Cher was the singer, but only learned it was Steam in the 80s.

Huh?

Man, but the singer sounds so much like Cher, it's uncanny.

Now my research team has brought back news to us that truly astounds: there was no such group as Steam.

Read the following, from a website about the history of rock:

    1969 - A fictitious group called Steam was given credit for the chart-topping tune "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye."

    The song was actually recorded by Gary De Carlo, who intended it to be the "B" side of his first single.

    Gary didn't like the song and when record executives wanted to issue it as the "A" side, he insisted it be released under an assumed name.

Well.

So a guy sang it.

We now must ask, "Who was Gary De Carlo?"

The research team returned to cyberspace and came back through the wormhole with this:

There was no Gary De Carlo in Steam.

Instead, try this review of Steam's album on amazon by one Andrew M. Bergey - whose amazon nickname is "bubblegummer," which is plenty good credentials by me - of Thornton, Colorado:

    The story goes that after singing "Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye" for the group Steam, Garrett Scott wanted very little to do with the group.

    "Musical differences" usually gets the nod in these situations but personality conflicts may have played a part.

    The back cover of their only album has a small picture of Scott with his arms folded looking a bit um... steamed.

    You do the math.

    In some sort of arrangement that only the 70's could produce, Scott stuck around long enough to co-write all 10 songs on the album.

So now we must ask, who was Garrett Scott?

Once again, a round-trip ticket to cyberspace for the research team.

What's this?

What have we here?

Well, for one thing, the superb, complex lyrics for the song:

    INTRO: |C / / /|Eb / / /|Bb / / /|C / / /|

    C Eb Bb C
    Na na na na, na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye

    VERSES:
    C F6 G C F6 G
    He'll never love you, the way that I love you
    He's never near you to comfort and cheer you

    C Am Dm G
    'Cause if he did, no no, he wouldn't make you cry
    When all those sad tears are fallin' baby from your eyes

    F E Am D
    He might be thrillin' baby but a-my love (my love, my love)
    He might be thrillin' baby but a-my love (my love, my love)

    C F Fm
    So kiss him (I wanna see you kiss him. Wanna see you kiss him)
    So kiss him (I wanna see you kiss him. I wanna see you kiss him)

    C
    Go on and kiss him goodbye, now
    Go on and kiss him goodbye,

    CHORUS:
    Eb Bb C
    Na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye

    C Eb Bb C
    Na na na na, na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye


    CODA:
    Eb Bb C
    Na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye


    C Eb B C (fade out)
    Na na na na, na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye

But also the news that the song was "sung by Steam featuring Garrett Scott," and written by De Carlo/Frshuer/Leka [I gotta tell ya, I'm a little suspicious about that Frshuer person: are they sure it's not spelled Fershur? But I digress].

Wouldn't it be great if it turned out it WAS

Young_cherthumb_1

Cher singing?

December 13, 2004 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Comments

Here's the true story from the vocalist himself:

There is no Garrett Scott, but there is a Gary Decarlo who’s stage name was Garrett Scott. He was a friend along with Paul Leka (who produced the song) and Dale Frashier. All three were also writers. Gary Decarlo (stage name: Garrey Scott) was in the studio working with Paul Leka. We were also working with Leka at the same time (he was our producer).

The three (Leka, Decarlo, and Frashier) went in and wrote two songs one as an “A” side and one as a “B” side. Na Na Hey Hey was to be the “B” side. A VP from a division of Mercury (Fontana Records) named Bob Reno (now dead) heard the songs and thought that Na Na would be a hit. He suggested that and Decarlo said “no, it was not my bag” and he thought it would not be a hit. It was too long, had no harmony etc. Reno then asked him if he would mind them finding someone to record it and put it out as an A side, and let Decarlo record another B side which he did.

Since Leka was also our producer, he asked us if we would record it (and then later an album) which we did. It became a hit, and Decarlo’s record did not hit the charts. But Mercury decided to give him credit on the Album cover.

Posted by: Dook | May 1, 2007 12:56:06 PM

I was told my father, Frank Borrelli, was a singer in the Chateaus before I was born with Dale and Gary and I'm trying to find out more information about it. Thanks

Posted by: Anthony B. | Oct 16, 2006 11:41:53 PM

Steam was definately a Stratford band. One of a few of the members lived up the street from me when I was a kid, near Wooster Jr. High. I'll see if I can find out more. But, definately Stratford. I seem to remember the name Corea associated with them.

Posted by: Pam | Oct 14, 2006 4:25:12 PM

Does anyone have any information on the band they were in prior to Steam? They were the Chateaus in the early 60's and I would like to know if anyone knows who else was in that band.

Posted by: Anthony B | Jul 7, 2006 6:43:39 PM

Interesting NY Times article about the song:
http://www.nydailynews.com/city_life/big_town/v-bigtown_archive/story/294273p-251958c.html

See also the AMG biography of Steam:
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:6sw67uu0h0j0~T1

...and AMG song review:
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:ltf4z2jheh3k

Posted by: Mr Ed | Feb 7, 2006 5:06:44 AM

Scott Spray from Bridgeport played bass on the recoding. None of the performers ever got residuals.

Posted by: paulLepone | Dec 24, 2005 5:06:34 PM

I remembered when the song came out and was told that one of my old Harding High School classmates in Bridgeport, Connecticut by the name of Joey Reeves was also one of the background singers on the hit record and we were all proud that he was finally on his way to stardom, but then the group fizzled out and disappeared and we were wondering what happened...

Posted by: John Rucker | Oct 28, 2005 11:20:37 PM

Sorry Jeff. The above info is absolutely correct.
Steam originated and recorded in Brigeport Ct.
Gary Decarlo still resides in Shelton Ct. He co-wrote and sang the lead in "Na Na,hey,hey. End of mystery, rumor and innuendo!

Posted by: John DeS | Sep 1, 2005 4:30:49 PM

I believe everyonr here is wrong. The group steam came out of Mammaroneck, NY and one of its members, Joe Lanza, went on to become Mayor of that town and actually still resides there

Posted by: Jeff Krieger | Sep 1, 2005 8:43:37 AM

Your info is incorrect! Gary DeCarlo was the lead singer of Steam, which WAS a real group from Bridgeport, Ct., where they recorded on Main St. at Paul Leka's studio. Garrett Scott was Garys stage name. His mother's name was Jennie Albanese LePone and she was married to my Uncle
Dominic "Lup" Lepone.

Posted by: John DeS | Aug 18, 2005 3:15:20 PM

As I remember it the group Steam was a local group from Stratford, Conn. Most graduated from Bunnell High School. They were passionate about their music and played local and school dances.
They were approached to do a record and went West to make music.
Once there they found out their lead singer wasn't going to be the lead. Instead, a very annoyed Gary DeCarlo was going to sing the lead. So, all individuals were pretty miffed. The "machine" used them to achieve their own goals and ultimately, Cher didn't do it either. She's way too smart to let record execs abuse her.

Posted by: patt | Mar 19, 2005 12:25:16 AM

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