Sunflower was a Los Angeles, California-based label that operated from 1970 to 1972. It was
distributed by MGM Records. Although Sunflower issued less than 30 singles, and the album output was
limited to less than a dozen items, the artist roster was quite interesting.
The label got off to a good start by getting the rights to some 1966-vintage concert recordings by the Grateful Dead. They issued these as albums SUN-5001 and SNF-5004, both of which made the LP charts. They followed the first Grateful Dead LP with another live set, from popular performer Danny Cox, whose low voice and clean guitar brought back memories of the best sounds of the folk era. Another artist was Randy Edelman, who would later find success in writing songs picked up by the knowledgeable big-name artists like Barry Manilow. In 1971, though, he was just another unknown artist who wrote great songs; his debut album was Sunflower SNF-5005.
The singles side of the Sunflower house was a little less serious. The first single, #101, was by Fearless Fradkin, and the third was "Patty Cake" by the Yummies. By the time they reached #105, they came up with a fictitious artist called Daddy Dewdrop, who coupled "Chick-A-Boom" with "John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith," the tried-and-true kid's tune.
"Daddy Dewdrop" was actually Dick Monda, a songwriter originally from Cleveland, along with some studio musicians calling themselves the "Torrance Cookers." The musicians were Bill Perry, Tom Hensley, Steve Rillera, and Larry Brown. The single and subsequent album were recorded in Torrance, California. Surprisingly, the song "Chick-A-Boom," a wry sexual fantasy put to music, jumped into the national top-10, the biggest hit the label ever had. The Daddy Dewdrop album, which followed the successful single, was a light-hearted, if not lightweight, effort that sealed the fate of Daddy Dewdrop as a one-hit wonder, never to be heard from again. The followup single, "The March of the White Corpuscles"/"Fox Huntin'" [Sunflower 111], sank without a trace.
Dick Monda provided us with a little more background. He explained in a note to us, "I was born in Cleveland, but I lived in California from the time I was five. The interesting thing about 'Chick-A-Boom' is that I originally did it for the TV cartoon show Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies. You were right about the lack of success of the second single. It wasn't the record I wanted to release, but [MGM honcho] Mike Curb would not give my choice a chance. The song I wanted, entitled 'I Ain't Never Seen a White Man,' was later released as the lead cut on an album I produced on Wolfman Jack. The song was a total departure from 'Chick-A-Boom,' as I never thought the hit could be followed up. No songs of that genre have ever been followed up successfully, so it remains to be seen if 'Who Let the Dogs Out' will break the jinx. Anyway, it still feels good to know that someone still remembers my one hit wonder after all these years."
Other notable artists on the label included Tony Scotti, Frankie Laine, Bobby Taylor, and R.B. Greaves. The last single to make the charts was Sunflower 118, "Love Me, Love Me, Love Me" by pianist Frank Mills, which reached the top-50 in early 1972. Mills was to have a top-3 record, "Music Box Dancer," about seven years later on Polydor.
We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail. Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with Sunflower Records or MGM Records, which are now owned by Universal Music Group. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in this discography (which are all out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 2000, 2003 by Mike Callahan.