The Epitome Of Sound – You Don’t Love Me / Where Were You

25th August 2023 · 1960s, 1968, Music, Soul

Four white men in black suits and white shirts. One black man in a shiny gold suit. And two classic Northern Soul tunes. That’s The Epitome Of Sound.

You Don’t Love Me and Where Were You? boast all the right ingredients: a stomping beat, impassioned lead vocal, exuberant girl backing singers, lavish string arrangement. All made on a budget a fraction of the ones at Motown and Philly.

Formerly known as The Megatons, Bob Ligatino (bass), Eddie Dill, aka Eddie Charles (guitar) and lead singer Eugene Thomas had made a name for themselves in their native New Jersey in the early 1960s.

They took it up a notch with the additions of Mike Paladino (drums), who had played with The Four Seasons, and his cousin Joe DeJohn (organ), who had played keyboards with Elvis during Presley’s Las Vegas comeback period.

The two songs that made their name – You Don’t Love Me and Where Were You? – were both written for them by Mike’s brother Robert, who had performed and recorded with doo-wop, and jazz vocal groups.

They recorded the songs in a two-track studio inside a converted cinema, the band laying down the music track before Eugene recorded lead vocal in the cinema’s subterranean men’s toilet – to take advantage of its natural echo – backed by an ad hoc backing group of two girls and three boys.

Strings and horns were added later to give the songs a lavish sound comparable to the smooth TSOP soul coming out of Philly at the time.

Fun fact: the engineer responsible for the arrangement (not easy in a two-track studio) was Jon Bon Jovi’s uncle Anthony Bongiovi.

The Megatons shopped their song around and received an offer from a new Long Island label called Sandbag Records, who loved the song, but not the band name – so they changed it to The Epitome Of Sound.

You Don’t Love Me was released in early 1968 andd immediately became a local hit but after a few days the label was on the brink of bankruptcy and withdrew its support for the record and the group broke up as quickly as it had started.

They reformed as The Megatons again but quickly disappeared from view as musical tastes began to change in 1968: with Vietnam dominating the headlines and black power on the march, sweet soul music began to be blown away by a new wave of psychedelic rock, while urban music developed a more political identity.

And that was that for The Epitome Of Sound.