In the mid-'70s, the punk sound sprang forth in the seedy downtown New York dives CBGB and Max's Kansas City, the fetid spawning ground of the cream of the crud, including the Ramones and Suicide and the Voidoids and Wayne (soon to be Jayne) County. Among their leather-jacketed, ripped-T-shirt number in that music scene were four fellows in dark mohair suits and crisp white collared shirts and skinny black ties, shaking their heads whilst crowding around one microphone to emit a high-pitch "woooooo" in unison. After all, what would be more punk at that time than being in the Poppees — a band that emulated the early Beatles, from their moptops to their Cuban heels?
The Poppees cropped up in the early '70s, begun by rhythm guitarist Bob (Bobby Dee) Waxman and bass player Pat Lorenzo. The Fab Four of the Bowery were rounded out by lead guitarist Arthur Alexander (not the singer/songwriter who recorded the originals of Beatles standards "Anna," "Soldier of Love" and "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues") and, later, drummer Jett Harris (not the original bassist for pre-Beatles British rock combo the Shadows).
Three years later, the group's second single forced its way out: The topside, "Jealousy" (a favorite John Lennon topic) is a great single to play "spot-the-reference" to. Cleverly quoting several songs in the Beatles oeuvre, most notably their version of Smokey Robinson's "You Really Got a Hold on Me," this springy tune from the Waxman-Lorenzo songbook (as well as the flip, a Macca-esque "Long Tall Sally" take on Little Richard's "She's Got It") was produced by Cyril Jordan of the Flamin' Groovies, a band that could teach a master's seminar on faking Beatles.
Right after "Jealousy," the Poppees split into two: Songwriters Waxman and Lorenzo succumbed to their punky peers, figuring, "If you can't Beatle 'em, join, em!" They kept the Fake but ditched the Beatles with their new group, the Johnny Thunders/Heartbreakers-inspired Boyfriends, which released a couple of swell singles in '78 and '81, respectively.
A CD of released and unreleased Boyfriends sides issued by a Japanese label also include slightly different mixes of the two Poppees originals, along with a previously unissued song titled "I Love Her." While this lovely beat ballad is not identified as a Poppees track per se, its Fake Beatle-tude clearly marks it as F-A-B rather than "L.A.M.F."
These guys were one of the best power pop bands of that time and also the projects where the Poppees musicians played, too. ''Jealousy'' and ''If She Cries'' are by the Poppees here, the other songs by the Boyfriends.