The Millennium

Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1968)

- Curt Boettcher (RIP 1987) -- vocals, keyboards, guitar
- Ron Edgar -- drums, percussion 
- Michael Fennelly -- vocals, guitar 
- Lee Mallory (RIP 2005) -- vocals, guitar
- Doug Rhodes -- keyboards, bass
- Sandy Salisbury (aka Henry Graham Salisbury) -- vocals, guitar
- Joey Stec -- vocals, guitar 


  supporting musicians:

- Keith Olsen -- keyboards 

- Jim Ryan -- guitar 

- Jerry Scheff -- bass


- The Ballroom (Curt Boettcher and Sandy Salisbury)

- Curt Boettcher (solo efforts)

- California (Curt Boettcher)

- The Chances (Sandy Salisbury)
- Crabby Appleton (Michael Fennelly)
- The Critters (Jim Ryan)

- The Dependables (Joey Stec)

- Michael Fennelly (solo efforts)
- Friar Tuck (Curt Boettcher)
- Goldenrod (Jeff Scheff)

- Lee Mallory (solo efforts)

- Lee Mallory and Joey Stec 
- The Music Machine (Ron Edgar,  Keith Olsen and 

  Doug Rhodes)

- Puppet (Sandy Salisbury)

- The Raggamuffins (Ron Edgar)
- Sagitarrius (Curt Boettcher)

- Sandy Salisbury (solo efforts)

- Something Young (Sandy Salisbury)

- The Spats (Doug Rhodes)

- Joey Stec (solo efforts)

- Summer's Children  (Curt Boettcher)
- Your Gang (Curt Boettcher)





Genre: pop

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Begin

Company: Columbia

Catalog: CS 9663

Year: 1968

Country/State: USA

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: 4

Price: SOLD $200.00

Cost: $66.00


There are hundreds of 1960s era sunshine pop albums out there.  If I had to pick one as exemplifying the sunshine pop  niche, or just wanted to hear something for a cloudless Sunday morning hike - well you couldn't go wrong with The Millennium's "Begin."  Apparently envisioned as a corporate super-group by singer/writer/ producer Curt Boettcher, in spite of the name, The Millennium barely survived long enough to release one album. At least on paper the group should have been major contenders, showcasing an all-star lineup headed by Boettcher, whose resume included stints with The Goldebriars, Summer's Children, and The Ballroom.   Rounding out the talent pool were ex-The Ballroom singer/guitarist Sandy Sailsbury, former Music Machine alumnus Ron Edgar on drums and keyboardist Doug Rhodes. Rounding out the line-up were singers/guitarists Michael Fennelly, Lee Malllory and Joey Stec  All told, it made for some of the cream of American sunshine pop.

Released in 1968, "Begin" served as a showcase for Boettcher. In addition to co-producing the collection with Olsen, he handled numerous lead vocals and wrote roughly half the material.  Technically the album was a compilation of old and new material.    Six of the fourteen tunes including the ballad '5 A..M.', 'The Island' and '
Karmic Dream Sequence #1' reflected performances from Boetcher's earlier band The Ballroom.  The album was also a technical accomplishment with producers Boettcher, Olsen and engineer Jerry Hochman somehow figuring out how to link up a pair of eight track recording units into a 16 track system.  Their efforts were impressive, but clearly added to the album's then-stunning $100,000 recording costs.  Exemplified by tracks such as 'To Claudia On Thursday,' 'I Just Want To Be Your Friend' and 'It's You' the results made for a gorgeous set of Southern California-styled lite-psychedelia. While tracks like 'I'm with You' and 'The Island' occasionally strayed a bit too close to Association and Mamas and the Papas-styled MOR pap, for the most part the set offered up wonderful melodies, awesome harmonies ('I Won't Always Be the Same') and a resounding commercial tilt. Among the more interesting numbers were a pair of outright psyche pieces: 'The Know It All' and 'Karmic Dream Sequence #.' Those mixed characteristics ensured the set was ignored by AM and FM radio, as well as the buying public. Reportedly one of the most expensive records ever produced by Columbia, the company was less than thrilled by the collection's commercial failure which endured there was no follow-up. Easily a lost era classic, the original analog collection sounds stunning on a good stereo system, or through qualify headphones.  All I can say is tthe set deserved a far better fate and is well worth digging around for.

"Begin" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Prelude (instrumental)   (Doug Rhodes - Ron Edgar) - 1:15   rating: *** stars

I'm a sucker for harpsichord so the combination of Doug Rhodes keyboards and Ron Edgar's drums on the brief opening instrumental 'Prelude' instantly caught my attention.  A weird mash-up of classical and circus influences (blame the tuba), the track effortlessly segueing into the glorious 'To Claudia On Thursday.'   It was a weird decision, but Columbia released the track as a promotional single:





- 1968's 'Prelude' b/w '5 a.m.' (Columbia catalog number 4-44607)





2.) To Claudia On Thursday   (Joey Stec - Michael Fennelly) - 3:26 
rating: ***** stars

Apparently inspired by Boettcher's then pregnant wife Claudia, 'To Claudia On Thursday' offered up a breezy, mesmerizing slice of sunshine-pop ear candy.  It was one of those songs that should have made these guys superstars.  Where do you even start?  A melody that won't leave you alone. Glistening harmonies.  A stunning Jerry Scheff bass line.  Who came up with the idea to include the mesmerizing Brazilian cuíca?  (Now you know where Paul Simon got the inspiration for adding it to 'Me and Julio.')  How was it possible Columbia only released it as a promotional single in the States?





- 1968's 'To Claudia On Thursday' b/w 'There Is Nothing More To Day' (Columbia catalog number 4-44674)





3.) I Just Want To Be Your Friend   (Curt Boettcher) - 2:34  
rating: **** stars

One of five Ballroom compositions, normally I'm not a big fan of MOR ballads, but I'll make an exception for ' I Just Want To Be Your Friend.'  Yeah, it was hopelessly naive, but with a distinctive bossa nova vibe and another great Doug Rhodes bass line, it stood as one of the album's highlights.  I remember initially thinking there was a female lead singer on this one.   
4.) 5 A.M.   (Sandy Salisbury) - 2:48  
rating: *** stars

Salisbury's lone contribution to the album, the lush pop ballad '5 A.M.' has always reminded of an early Association performance.  One of the album's weaker performances. Salisbury has talked about the track describing it as an attempt to "... write a melodic piece about the quite early-morning time."  He also pointed out: "There was a young Columbia executive named Clive Davis who liked “5 AM” and wanted it to go out as a single. I guess it went off to the Philippines, too. That song was on the Billboard top 100 at one point, but in the Philippines it went straight to the top. Boom! Wonder of wonders. This is my one musical claim to fame. Number One in the Philippines! Ho!"
5.) I'm with You   (Lee Mallory) - 2:35  
rating: **** stars

Hey, the '60s stopped by ...  'I'm with You' offered up a slice of top caliber Association's-styled sunshine pop.  Mallory may have had the best voice of the group.
6.) The Island   (Curt Boettcher) - 3:18  
rating: **** stars

One of five The Ballroom tracks included on the LP, I've always loved the strumming guitar opening, the cheesy sound effects and the Brian Wilson-esque harmonies.  
7.) Sing To Me   (Lee Mallory) - 2:15  
rating: **** stars

Admittedly 'Sing To Me' was a bit on the bubblegum pop side of the house (bit your mom, or grandmother would have grooved to it), but the arrangement and performances were mesmerizing. It was the kind of track Don Kirshner would have sold his family for in order to place it on an Archies album.  Would have made a dandy commercial for a Ford Mustang.

(side 2)

1.) It's You   (Joey Stec - Michael Fennelly) - 3:21  rating: ***** stars

In spite of the glistening, commercial melody, Stec apparently intended 'It's You' as a commentary on government surpression of information - we're all brainless lemmings.  The song found the group adding folk-rock, English rock influences, Indian chants and even a tad of psychedelic influences to the mix.  Always loved the jangle rock sound on this one.  Another one where you just had to scratch your head in wonder this one wasn't a hit.  About a decade ago Fennelly actually popped up on YouTube and left a comment about the song: "We spent a lot of time in the studio, but it was Columbia's studios, so the costs (ultimately charged to the band) were hardly a threat to the label's financial security. and Columbia didn't spend a fortune to promote the album ...Released as a single in advance of the album, the 45 attracted some positive reviews, but failed to chart, foreshadowing doom for the parent album.





- 1968's 'It's You' b/w 'I Just Want To Be Your friend' (Columbia catalog number 4-44568)






2.) Some Sunny Day   (Lee Mallory) - 3:22  rating: **** stars

'Some Sunny Day' took the Association-styled harmonies and added a touch of country-rock and lysergic orchestration to the mix.  I'm always surprised at how much I like this one.
3.) I Won't Always Be the Same   (Joey Stec - Michael Fennelly)   
rating: **** stars

Just my uninformed, humble opinion - 'It Won't Always Be the Same' was the album's standout performance.  Showcasing Fennelly on lead vocals, this one upped the folk-rock quotient and added a touch of social commentary to the mix.
4.) The Know It All   (Curt Boettcher) - 2:40  
rating: **** stars

The atypical rocker added some wild Ron Edgar drumming, crazy horn charts and a clear psych edge to the mix.  The perfect tune for folks who thought all these guys could churn out was MOR pop moves.
5.) Karmic Dream Sequence #1   (Curt Boettcher - Lee Mallory) - 5:58  
rating: **** stars

Well, the title screamed '60s and the dreamy lyrics and acid tinged melody made for a wonderful timepiece.  The instrumental koto segment was unexpected and entrancing.  Mallory supposedly wrote that section of the tune after visiting his grandmother in Japan. 
6.) There Is Nothing More To Say   (Curt Boettcher - Michael Fennelly - Lee Mallory) - 2:23  
rating: **** stars

How do you describe the ballad 'There Is Nothing More To Say'?  The melody and vocals are fascinating; kind of like having a warm blanket envelop your body.  I've seen this one described as "lilting" and that is actually a great tag.
7.) Anthem (Begin)   (Curt Boettcher - Sandy Salisbury - Lee Mallory - Doug Rhodes) - 2:43 
rating: ** stars

'Anthem (Begin)' ended the album with a backward tapes, weird studio effects, a choral group singing "Columbia - C.B.S." and more fade-out weirdness.  More of a sound collage than a song, it should appeal to 'Revolution # 9" fans.



With the album generating positive reviews from the critics the group started recording material for a follow-on album, but when "Begin" failed to chart in the States or the UK, Columbia canned the project and the band fell apart.


By the mid-'80s musical tastes had long passed Boettcher by. Barely covering his living expenses, lacking health insurance and suffering from a lung infection, in July 1987 he checked into a Los Angeles hospital. Within a matter of days he was dead. 

Three years later Columbia reissued the band's sole album. The 1990 reissue included two previously unreleased tracks: 'Blight' and 'Just About the Same.'  They had been written for a planned The
Millennium 45 Columbia executives rejected.


Mallory passed away from liver cancer in March 2005.


Salisbury is still active and has a website at: GRAHAM SALISBURY