“TREAT HIM TENDER, MAUREEN (NOW THAT RINGO BELONGS TO YOU)”
(WRITERS: JOE LAZIZZA-MARIO LOMBARDO)
ARTIST: ANGIE & THE CHICKLETTES
RELEASED 1965 ON 7” 45
By 1965, the flood of Beatles-related novelty songs had dried to a trickle. But a few were still to be made.
The Angels had been a popular “girl group” in the early 1960s, notching hits like “Till,” “I Adore Him,” and the sassy “My Boyfriend’s Back.” The British Invasion finished off many such acts, pushing them into nightclubs or into service as background singers.
In 1965, Jean Thomas of the Rag Dolls, another “girl group” looking for a new direction, was teamed up with the Angels to record a novelty about Ringo Starr’s February 1965 marriage to Maureen Cox.
It was supposed to be poison for teenage idols to get married, or even date exclusively, but Ringo was now the second Beatle to tie the knot. Would the band’s popularity suffer?
This was the quandary that songwriters Joe LaZizza and Mario Lombardo tried to solve. While those two do not reside in any songwriters’ Hall of Fame, the producers of the record were VERY successful. Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Rich Gottherer had, in tandem, masterminded the Angels’ hits as well as written and produced many, many other big records in the early 1960s.
To perhaps lend some street cred to what was in reality a well-crafted, professionally sung record, the vocal group was tabbed “Angie and the Chicklettes.” Ms. Thomas provided a suitably adolescent and amateurish vocal introduction.
The record was rush-released in late winter of spring 1965 by Apt Records, a sub-label of ABC-Paramount that enjoyed just one major hit in its more than 100 releases—“Little Star” by the Elegants, a doo-wop mainstay from 1959. Perhaps indicative of how quickly this record was pushed out is that initial label pressings read “Treat Him Tender, Maureen (Now that Tingo Belongs to You)."
“Treat Him Tender, Maureen” got airplay in the northeast, and made the Top 40 in Boston, New York, and Syracuse, but failed to make the jump to national hit status. A highly rated jukebox record (according to Cashbox), it reached #129 in the Record World chart and #112 in Cashbox but garnered no notice in Billboard.
Of course, most Beatles novelties are by nature ephemeral and silly, but this one has the benefit of a catchy tune sung well. The three-part harmonies pop up often enough to buoy the record through any rough patches, and there is real sincerity to the mixed emotions in the lyrics—ask any teenage girl.