JULY 22, 2017
“STOP, WAIT AND LISTEN” (WRITER: DAN HRDLICKA)
RELEASED 1972 ON 7” 45 AND ON CIRCUS LP
“Stop, Wait, Listen,” a small national hit in early 1973, is a little bit of a lot of things that add up to one hot record. Even without the Oxford comma.
Circus, a five-piece from Cleveland, cut this record for the Metromedia label, best known for its teen idol hitmaker Bobby Sherman. While it also issued discs by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and Butch “Eddie Munster” Patrick, Metromedia was also home to more progressive bands like Gypsy, Elephant’s Memory, and the Holy Modal Rounders and R&B from the Winstons and the Three Degrees.
While it wasn’t R&B, teenybop, or album rock, Circus had elements of each. The combo was a huge live draw in its hometown, drawing ecstatic crowds, and had some teen appeal. Everyone in the group was a solid musician capable of creating tight arrangements, and four of them, including guitarist Dan Hrdlicka and organist Phil Alexander, could sing.
Strong harmonies were a big part of their sound, putting them in the good company of contemporary hard-rockin’ American popsters like Todd Rundgren, Big Star, Crabby Appleton, and two other fine bands from Ohio, the Raspberries and Blue Ash.
“Stop, Wait and Listen” was a fine representation of their chunky guitar/organ blend, along with a strong rhythm section and good singers. Filled with hooks, it was among the real surprise singles of the time period, good enough to have been a huge hit had it only been heard.
The band’s rabid fan base helped make “Stop, Wait and Listen” a top ten record in both Cleveland and Columbus, but unfortunately Circus could not break out nationwide, possibly because the Metromedia label was having tough times. Bobby Sherman, its biggest artist, was no longer a hit machine, and the other Metromedia acts did not pick up the slack.
“Stop, Wait and Listen” did register on all three music weekly magazines’ charts, getting to #91 in Billboard, #74 in Record World, and #81 in Cashbox before falling short.
Circus recorded a well-regarded album for Metromedia, but unfortunately it was among the label’s last releases before being merged into RCA. The album, and follow-up single, “Feel So Right,” were lost in the shuffle.