Pacific NW Regional Hit: Richard & The Young Lions in ’66

In listening to old sixties airchecks from Seattle, I noticed that a big hit at KJR in the summer/fall of ’66 was “Open Up Your Door” by Richard and the Young Lions. It was also a hit at KPUG in Bellingham. I know because I remember hearing it back then. I bought the record and it had a photo of the band on the record sleeve. That honor of having a photo on the 45 sleeve was usually reserved for the big bands and artists — Beatles, Stones, Animals, Lovin’ Spoonful, Elvis, Petula Clark. The Young Lions must have been a big deal, right?

I was surprised to discover recently that, on a national and international basis, “Open Up Your Door” was more of a “never made it” than a “made it” song. Its peak position on the Billboard Hot 100 was a whopping #99 on Sept. 24, 1966.

Despite the record’s minor stature nationally, it was familiar to me because it was a regional hit in the Pacific Northwest….at least from Seattle north to Vancouver, Canada. Richard and The Young Lions peaked in the top 5 in Seattle and Vancouver,  and it went all the way to the top of the chart in Cleveland, Detroit and Salt Lake City. You might say it was hot in spots.

You can take a gander at these KJR and KOL charts from 1966. The record was getting lots of spins.

Richard & The Young Lions was a Newark, NJ band. Their other singles, neither of which charted nationally, were “Nasty” and “You Can Make It.” The original lead singer, Richard Tepp, passed away in 2004. Some rock music aficionados look upon Richard and The Young Lions as among the first of the garage bands. You can watch the band perform and hear the song, if it is fuzzy in your mind, in the video below. (The video is at ad free Vimeo, so click on the play button 2x – once to go to Vimeo and again to start the video.)

Open Up Your Door: Richard & The Young Lions

Technical notes: An improved quality audio track has been lip synced with the original TV performance.

Click on the names below to read about these broadcasters who were popular in Bellingham and Whatcom County, including nearby Canadian legend Red Robinson:

Danny Holiday (KPUG)
Dick Stark (KENY & KPUG) 
Kirk Wilde (KPUG)
Gary Shannon (KPUG)
Mike Forney (KPUG)
Jay Hamilton (KPUG & KBFW)
Bob O’Neil & Marc Taylor (KPUG)

John Christopher Kowsky (KPUG)
Haines Faye & Rogan Jones (KVOS & KGMI)
Tom Haveman (KENY & KVOS)
Red Robinson (Vancouver B.C.)

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Author: Steven Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with QZVX.COM in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions. View other articles by Steven Smith

15 thoughts on “Pacific NW Regional Hit: Richard & The Young Lions in ’66

  1. Another song that has been living rent-free in my brain from the Sixties (I believe) was “100 or Two”, by the Springfield Rifle. Weren’t they a Northwest Band?

  2. The big ones were Village West, Beacon Ballroom, Forest Grove near Blaine-Birch Bay, and Point Roberts had The Breakers.

  3. Speaking of Northwest Bands…there was a place on the road into Birch Bay that hosted live bands, back in the early ‘60’s. You could go there and see Northwest up-and-comers such as “Paul Revere & the Raiders”. Was to young to go, back then, but when in the area a few years ago I noticed that dance hall building looked abandoned but was still standing. I’m sure the Vancouver kids would come across the Border to attend back then. Anybody remember the name of the place?
    I remember playing that “Richard & The Young Lions” song on KPUG, but by that time it was an oldie!

  4. Thank you for this!…we in the wild NW favored hard, basic-beat tunes that were dance-worthy….I thought this group was from here!…anyway, around this time period. psychedelic stuff was making headway-think “Electric Prunes”!…our local kick-ass groups like the Sonics, Wailers, Dynamics, had pretty much done the gritty. garage band thing to death….and they were even harder edged than this East Coast group…about 25 years ago, the late Mike Webb, with the help of the owner of golden Oldies record store, put together 126 NW tunes, some very obscure, and it aired on KVI..I have a copy of that impressive show (had to pay a guy at work $50 bucks for it!)…It covered several genres of music, from the mid-50s through the early 70s….oh yeah, Peter Blecha was the owner’s name!…he has written a book or two on the History of NW Rock….I bought a few rare oldies from him…I was glad he was there…but he seemed very full of himself!

    1. Does your tape have “Polly Anne” by Billy Saint? A non-edgy love tune that I love. Please post it if you have it. It was on Dolton or one of those.

      Last time I drove Metro’s Route 44, there was still a Golden Oldies in Wallingford on 45th kind of between Drunken Dognuts and Dick’s.

    1. Hmmm… You have many previously approved posts (only one is needed to reach whitelist status–and you are whitelisted) –as long as you use the same email address it should not be happening. We will keep an eye on it.

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