One of any number of garage bands that performed and recorded under the name the Mods, this particular group -- best remembered for the compilation staple "I Give You an Inch (And You Take a Mile)" -- formed in Toledo, Ohio in 1962. Singer/guitarist Terry Smith and his brother, bassist Larry Smith, co-founded the group with their mutual best friend, rhythm guitarist Larry Music (amazingly, his real surname) -- originally dubbed "Terry and the Blasters", the teens began by playing covers of instrumental hits by the Ventures and other surf-rock acts, but the Beatles changed everything, and they soon began adding British Invasion hits to their repertoire. Drummer Terry Fitzsimmons signed on in early 1963, prompting a name change to the Imitations -- some time the following year, the band entered Toledo studio A&T Productions to record a demo single, but the tapes never saw official release. In 1965, Fitzsimmons was drafted to serve in Vietnam, and was replaced by drummer Fred Jablonski. After taking top honors in the 1965 Toledo Battle of the Bands contest, the Imitations were awarded the opportunity to record a single for the local Peck label -- though still best-known for their covers, they opted to record the brother's original song, "I Give You an Inch (And You Take a Mile)," renaming themselves the Mods in honor of the occasion. Highlighted by Terry Smith's snarling, Mick Jagger-inspired lead vocal, the single was a local smash, and the Mods were hired on as the house band at Toledo's Peppermint Lounge, once backing rock & roll legend Chuck Berry. In 1966, the group signed to Detroit's Impact Records, who insisted on a name change because of the overwhelming number of Mods across the U.S. -- simply re-christened They, the band recorded a handful of tracks before Terry Smith was drafted for military service, effectively bringing their career to a close.
Share this page