The first artist ever to be billed simply as "Derek" was a stand-in for the real singer of a number 11 hit on the Bang label, entitled "Cinnamon." The real Derek (real name Derek Cymbal) was the brother of Johnny Cymbal, a Scottish-born singer and songwriter who had a modest non-hit with the death song "The Water Was Red," and then a huge hit two years later with "Mr. Bass Man," followed by a pair of modest successes with "Teenage Heaven" (a play on an old country novelty tune called "Hillbilly Heaven") and "Dum Dum Dee Dum" (a play on the tune of the wedding march). By the mid-'60s, Cymbal's star had faded, and he found himself pegged, rightly or wrongly, as a specialist in novelty songs. Then he wrote and recorded "Cinnamon" for Bang Records. It had all of the hooks, a catchy melody, and a beautiful chorus that seemed to fit in with the easygoing pop/rock vibe of the period (its intro and beat recalled the Monkees' "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You," while its chorus recalled "Brown-Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison; curiously enough, Morrison was a Bang artist, and the Monkees' tune had been written by Neil Diamond, who was also a Bang artist). Rather than risk it being ignored like his other recent singles, however, he chose to release it under his brother's name, Derek. Issued in August of 1968, "Cinnamon" became a hit, riding the charts for 15 weeks and rising to number 11 -- that kind of action required personal appearances, and suddenly Johnny Cymbal's brother Derek, who was a musician in Johnny's band anyway, was out on the road. Alas, Derek never charted another single, and disappeared from the consciousness of the listening world after 1969. The single has been compiled and recompiled and even re-recorded on Dominion's Golden Years 1968 release, and finally turned up in stereo for the first time on Columbia-Legacy's 1991 Rock Artifacts, Vol. 3.
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