Tuesday 2 April 2024

Alan Burn born circa 1944

Alan Burn (born c.1944) was based in Kittery, Maine and released a number of singles in the mid to late 60s, either as Alan Burn or with a backing band credited, or simply as Alan. 

Most artists from the ’60s would be lucky to release a single, let alone issue a full-length LP documenting their musical vision. Alan Burn stands alone during that effervescent era by self-releasing a whopping eleven 7-inch singles in a mere five-year period of creativity from 1963–1967. With the exception of one major label outing produced by the New York team of Feldman, Goetther, and Goldstein, virtually all of his releases had no distribution and were used ultimately for the promotion of Burn’s active performance schedule in Maine and the Albany, NY region. 

Alan G Burn was born and grew up in Lewiston, Maine.  He graduated from Lewiston High School in 1962, by which time his love of music was already evident, penning numerous songs.  During summers he worked as a lobsterman off Kittery Point, where he and his mother had a summer home on Cutts Island.  While attending University of Alaska he appeared on a local talent show "Alaska Bandstand," and recorded his first single, 'Parking Meters on Lovers Lane' which he released on his own label, Island Records (no relation to the famed major label) in November 1964.  

At the tender age of 20, Alan exhibited admirable independence, enterprise and industry, opting to self-produce rather shop around for a label, but in 1965 Alan was signed to Mala Records, a subsidiary label of Bell Records that existed from 1959 to 1969.  His first single with Mala was under the tutelage of the notable songwriting and production team of Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer. In addition to the songs they wrote and produced for other artists, the trio released a number of their own compositions as The Strangeloves, going so far as to invent backstories for the fictional group members.  


Alan spent about six months as an FGG staff songwriter, during which time he recorded two of his own compositions, "Somebody Wrote Their Name" and "Beach House" (Mala 510), and collaborated on a barn-burner of a song called "Right Hand Man" recorded by Bobby Comstock (another FGG stablemate). He is also credited with a composition titled "Groovy Chick." 

The Mala single didn't chart, though "Somebody Wrote Their Name" was played by famed Boston DJ Arnie 'Woo Woo' Ginsberg as a 'hit or miss' single - alas, it missed - and "Beach House" was a top 10 hit in Portsmouth NH.  Meanwhile FGG had other acts that were making bigger splashes - that year in addition to "I Want Candy" and "Night Time," they also produced the McCoy's "Hang On Sloopy," launching the career of teenage front man Rick Derringer. 

Kittery, Maine.

Alan continued undaunted, apparently settling in Kittery, releasing other material on Island Records and later Tuesday Records, both of which were his own labels, either as Alan Burn (with various backing bands like the Ushers, the World of Darkness, and the Jaguars) or credited solely as "Alan." His compositions were published under the entity Far North via BMI, and his producing efforts were known as Red Hot Productions. A band known as the Alright Five released a pair of Alan Burn compositions on the Tuesday label, but it only takes a cursory listen to identify Alan at the microphone. He also collaborated with local legend Bobby Herne on several compositions (including "Whirlpool"). 

Alan's musical aspirations appear to have flagged as the decade came to a close, and presumably out of financial obligation he pursued a career with a steadier paycheck. He has since settled in upstate New York. In 2003 he re-entered the studio to cut an album of sixteen Christian acoustic country-folk tunes called "Reality Gospels," quite a departure indeed from his pop and garage leanings nearly four decades previous. Alan still visits Kittery fairly regularly. 

Now, with the internet and eBay, there has been a substantial uptick of interest in Burn’s musical legacy—and rightly so—for his brilliant songwriting ability and parable-styled lyrics. Copies of these elusive vanity releases currently fetch good money on the collector’s market. 

(Edited from Arfarf Record notes and a bio by John @ squishymorph.blogspot)


boppinbob said...

For “Alan Burn – A Whirlpool Of Sound: The Complete Studio Recordings
[1963–1967] (2017 Arf Arf) “go here:


1 Parking Meters (On Lover's Lane) 2:11
2 Okay, Okay 2:33
3 Plaything 1:59
4 That's How It All Began 2:07
5 Beach House 2:14
6 Somebody Wrote Their Name 2:48
7 See Susie Run 2:23
8 Information (Help Me, Please) 3:04
9 Gotham City 1:29
10 Tiny Tagalong 2:17
11 Agatha Abernathy 2:54
12 Turn Off Next Exit 2:54
13 Under The Lights 2:35
14 Crime Doesn't Pay 2:31
15 Whirlpool 3:13
16 Lion In Love 2:11
17 Stop You're Killing Me 2:15
18 Shadow 2:11
19 Kathy Crying Heart 2:35
20 Oh What A Kick In The Head 1:58
21 Mark Worthy 1:41
22 Catchin' Spies 2:24
23 To A Boy It's A Girl 2:26
24 Janie Jimmy 2:21
25 Where Do You Think You're Going 2:38
26 Sail In A Gale 2:39
27 Find A Little Island 2:32
28 Raining Cats And Dogs 2:35
29 Her Majesty 4:33
30 Girl After Girl 1:41
31 Don't Think For A Minute 1:57
32 Turn Off Next Exit (Outtake) 0:53

A big thank you goes to Denis who suggested today’s birthday singer and also for the loan of above album.

festoonic said...

Grew up an avid music fan in Portsmouth, NH in the 60s and 70s and somehow never even heard of Alan Burn. And given the preposterous picture alleged to be Kittery, I assumed the entire post was an exceptionally credible (although pointless) hoax until you mentioned Bobby Hearne. What a world! Thank you!

boppinbob said...

Hello festoonic, I could only find two photos of Alan Burn hence using the legitimate photo of Kittery in as a space filler! Definitely no hoax. Regards, Bob.

Aussie said...

thank you