The Ugly Ducklings

The Ugly Ducklings  were a five piece garage rock group based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, most notable during the mid 1960s.  They released six singles in 1966 and 1967 on the Yorktown and Yorkville labels, and one album, Somewhere Outside in 1967.  In the summer and fall of 1967, the band’s fifth single “Gaslight” became a Top 40 hit across Canada, peaking at #17 on the RPM Chart, and reaching #1 on CHUM 1050 in Toronto on October 2 that year, displacing The Rolling Stones’ 2-sided hit, “Dandelion” b/w “We Love You”.  Their first three singles also made the local 1050 CHUM AM charts in Toronto.  (More from Wikipedia)



As was the case in this country, there was an active garage-rock and psychedelic-rock scene in the mid-1960’s in Canada, and a few of their songs were released in the U. S. alongside their American counterparts.  I recently picked up a reissue of the 1967 debut album, Somewhere Outside by the Ugly Ducklings from Toronto, Ontario; they are widely regarded as the greatest Canadian garage rock band.  Their 1967 hit “Gaslight” hit #17 on the national Canadian charts and was #1 in Toronto; I know them better for their raw early songs like She Ain’t No Use to Me, “Nothin’” and “Just in Case You Wonder”. 


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One fine day around 30 years ago, I came upon a copy of the 1980 comeback album by the Ugly DucklingsOff the Wall.  This was the first time that I had found a full album by one of the bands that was introduced to me by the Pebbles Series.  I wasn’t sure that it was the same band until I checked my copy of the Pebbles, Volume 10 LP – one of the very first Pebbles albums that I acquired – and found a veiled reference to the album in the liner notes.  By the way, the Michael Jackson album by the same name, Off the Wall – whose excellence, I fear, has been overwhelmed by the tsunami of Jackson’s next album, Thriller – came out the previous August, but I wonder whether the Ugly Ducklings knew about that record.  I really loved Off the Wall a lot, and I have always considered the album to be quite a find.  Like many of the albums in my collection, I have never seen another copy in all of my subsequent trips to record stores. 


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One horrible day about 8 years ago, all of my record albums and most of the rest of our possessions went through Hurricane Katrina.  Sometime in the last year or two, Off the Wall was in a group of really beat-up albums that I was attempting to make playable; and after some preliminary cleaning, I realized that there was no chance with this disc.  I believe that this album is in the worst condition of any that I have come across which weren’t completely smashed.  The label is still completely readable (it is amazing how much abuse record labels can take and remain more or less whole), but the album is wildly warped and is covered with bits of paper.  I have the album (along with three others and more to come) mounted on my wall now in a display case. 


(April 2013)


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Items:    The Ugly Ducklings 


Last edited: March 22, 2021