Brute Force

Brute ForceFrom: Jersey City, NJ, USA

Born Stephen Friedland in 1940, Brute Force first showed an interest in performing onstage at age eight after watching his mother act in a number of plays at the Jersey City Jewish Community Center Theatre. All throughout high school, Friedland worked at developing his skills, both onstage and off. In the early 1960s, he met Billy Gussak, a studio drummer who had played with Bill Haley & The Comets, and the two began collaborating. Gussak was the father of Friedland’s girlfriend at the time. One of the songs Friedland and Gussak composed, “My Teenage Castle,” became the B-side of Peggy March’s 1963 single “I Wish I Were A Princess.” Friedland’s success with RCA led him to his next project, playing keyboards and guitar for the Tokens. While in the Tokens, he composed songs for the likes of Del Shannon, the Creation, the Cyrkle, and the Chiffons.

Friedland left the Tokens in 1967 and recorded the absurd album I, Brute Force: Confections of Love for Columbia Records. The album failed to appeal to both fans and critics.Brute Force’s most memorable song was “The King of Fuh.” George Harrison of the Beatles loved the song and it was released on the Beatles’ Apple label. Later in ’69, Brute Force released the album Extemporaneous, recorded live in the studio with minimal piano accompaniment before a small audience. The album was made up of mostly comedy songs, political jabs, and absurd improvisations, and is now a sought-after collectors item. Brute Force has continued to perform into the new millennium.

Artist information sources include: an article by James Christopher Monger at Allmusic.com

Wikipedia’s notes on “The King of Fuh”

Brute Force may be best known for a song that barely saw a release. “The King of Fuh”, a song produced by The Tokens, prominently included at least two intentionally obscene double entendres, referring repeatedly to a “Fuh King” and telling everyone to “all hail” with a pronunciation that made it sound suspiciously like “aw, hell.” The record was admired by Beatles George Harrison and John Lennon. Harrison used the already recorded demo track but had strings arranged and overdubbed for the record. Apple Records knew that partner EMI would never distribute it, so the company pressed and distributed 2,000 copies themselves in 1969 (catalogue number Apple 8). There was also a copy of the record on the US version of Apple, without a catalogue number (said to have been created as personal copy for an American Apple employee). Brute Force also attempted to have Major Minor records in Britain release the record but with no success. Finally, the artist issued the record on his own label Brute Force Records with an alternate B Side, “Tapeworm Of Love,” which received airplay on the Dr. Demento radio show. More recently (2005), the Revola label issued both “King of Fuh” and its original B side (“Nobody Knows”) as bonus tracks on the CD release of Extemporaneous. In 2010, “The King of Fuh” was released by Apple Records on their first “best of” compilation album, Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records.

Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1967 album I, Brute Force: Confections of Love
I, Brute Force

  • King of Fuh