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

The Young Lions even had their picture on the record sleeve

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.

Open Up Your Door: Richard & The Young Lions

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

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Author: Steven Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with Puget Sound Media 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

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

    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.

  1. 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.

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