Joe Knowlton

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Joe Knowlton is best known as one half of a soft pop duo, Joe & Bing, who completely lost control of their most famous recording. The duo itself started at the Taft School in Watertown, CT when Knowlton…
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Joe Knowlton is best known as one half of a soft pop duo, Joe & Bing, who completely lost control of their most famous recording. The duo itself started at the Taft School in Watertown, CT when Knowlton met the somewhat younger William "Bing" Bingham and the new friends decided to start a folk vocal group with a third performing student, Tony Howe. Known as the Coachmen, the trio began performing in the area and coming up with original material.

By the mid-'60s they had quit school, hoping to make a full-time living in the music business. Four years of following orders from Uncle Sam delayed this process, but when that was over, Knowlton and Bingham began collaborating with another alumni of their school named George Klabin, partner of arranger Harry Lookofsky at a New York City recording studio which claimed to capture Sound Ideas. The tapes that Knowlton and Bingham eventually came up with of their own songs were then given to the Brazilian arranger Eumir Deodato by Lookofsky.

Deodato would eventually become quite famous for, among other things, a heinous disco version of the "Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey." The arranger's work on the Joe & Bing tapes was more than acceptable in itself, the problem came with the inevitable release of this project under names other than the original artists': Deodato's when he became famous, of course. Knowlton and Bingham headed for Alaska in frustration, working a stint at a hotel in Anchorage and coming up with a new song entitled "Alaska Bloodline." Producer Don Kirshner put the song out as a single as well as overseeing a new series of sessions culminating in the 1976 Joe & Bing LP. The single "Barnstormer" did OK, yet RCA decided to drop the duo. Joe & Bing kept on writing and touring, venturing into advertising jingles with great success in the '80s. Both wound up going into teaching in New England, Knowlton in the field of information technology.