The Cascades consisted of a group of young men who assembled in San Diego and managed to put one great song in the top ten before fading away.
John Gummoe was born and raised in Cleveland, then joined the Navy. He was assigned to the U.S.S. Jason and while aboard ship he met Lenny Green and Dave Wilson. Gummoe was a singer and songwriter and one evening while on watch during a thunderstorm, as the ship was cruising near the Aleutian Islands, he wrote a song that he titled Rhythm Of The Rain. Lenny Green helped him to work out some of the arrangements for his composition. In the early 60's Green and Wilson had a group along with Art Eastlick that they called the Silver Strands and eventually Gummoe began to join them in their performances, in which he would sing Everly Brothers' songs.
After leaving the Navy some personnel changes were made. Lead vocalist Gummoe, guitarist Green and drummer Wilson were joined by guitarist Eddie Snyder, Dave Szabo on keyboards and Dave Stevens on bass. They changed their name to the Thundernotes and worked on writing and performing songs in a crude studio that they had constructed in the back yard of Stevens' parents' house in San Diego. They made some demos and took them to Don Blocker at Liberty Records, who referred them to Andy DiMartino, who secured a contract for them with Valiant Records. Green left the group, it was decided that the name Thundernotes should be changed and, drawing their inspiration from a box of dishwashing detergent, they became the Cascades. The group's first release on Valiant was a song that producer Barry deVorzon liked called There's A Reason.
In the Summer of 1962 they did some recording at the legendary Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, which was record producer Phil Spector's favorite recording studio. In those days groups would often go to the studio to record a single song rather than a whole album. One day the Cascades went to Gold Star and recorded Gummoe's composition of Rhythm Of The Rain, with John Gummoe on lead vocals. Spector happened to be in the studio at the time of the session and asked them if they were recording a demo for Ricky Nelson. Little did any of them know then just how big a success the song would be. It dented the charts in January of 1963 at number 80, then quickly rose to 60, to 40, to 20, and eventually into the top five. Rhythm Of The Rain was an international success, reaching number one status in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan.
The Cascades released other records such as The Last Leaf which sold half a million copies, For Your Sweet Love on RCA, and Truly Julie's Blues. After Gummoe left the group and pursued a solo career with ABC Dunhill, Gabe Lapano joined the Cascades as lead singer on Maybe The Rain Will Fall.
John Gummoe was in and out of the music business in the years that followed. Today he lives in the Los Angeles area and records in a studio that he built in his home. Lenny Green, who served on the U.S.S. Jason and played in the Thundernotes with him, is working as Gummoe's manager.
The Cascades' recording of Rhythm Of The Rain is a beautiful song that has been covered by many artists over the years, including Jacky Ward, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Floyd Cramer, Percy Faith, Al Caiola, Johnny Tillotson, Lawrence Welk, French recording artist Silvi Vartan, the Ka'au Crater Boys from Hawaii, Johnny Rivers, Jan and Dean, and Dan Fogelberg. It is one of the last great songs of the pre-Beatles era in rock-and-roll history.
John Claude Gummoe recorded a cut from a dance mix several years ago called Rhythm Of The Rain 2000 and it is available as a CD that you can obtain at http://www.rhythmoftherain.com.
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