Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tin TIn: Toast and Marmalade For Tea

Today’s one hit wonder comes from a pair of Australians living in the United Kingdom. Named after a Belgian cartoon character named Tintin, Tin Tin was formed by Steve Kipner and Steve Groves. Kipner and Groves were joined by bassist Johnny Vallins and drummer Geoff Bridgford

Because of their friendship with Bee Gee Maurice Gibbs, the band was signed to a one album contract with the Robert Stigwood Organization – the company that managed a number of musical acts including Eric Clapton and the Bee Gees.

Gibbs produced and played a number of instruments on both of Tin Tin’s albums. The self-titled debut album barely made Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart by peaking at 197. The LP’s single release “Toast and Marmalade for Tea” charted in the US at #20 in 1971 and was their only top 40 hit.

In the US, Tin Tin’s records were released on ATCO like many of Robert Stigwood’s other acts. By 1973, Stigwood incorporated RSO Records and his acts, sans Tin Tin, moved to the new label. Steve Kipner continued in the music business and has produced a variety of artists such as Chicago, George Benson, Olivia Newton-John, and Christina Aguilera.

This psychedelic/bubble gum hit is rarely heard today even on oldies stations. Dick Bartley used to play it quite a bit. Lyrically the song is banal, but it has some interesting instrumentation starting with acoustic guitar and a strange sounding keyboard. I’ve read that it was a distorted piano, but I am not convinced of that – it sounds like a synthesizer to me. There is one musical mistake in the song – see if you can catch it? It drives me crazy. Listen to the song and the answer will appear below.

OK, if you haven’t found it, listen when the bass enters. The third note (28 seconds into the recording) is about a half of a beat too late. With multi-tracking available at the time, you would think that Gibb would have fixed this. With today’s computer technology, the note would not need to be re-recorded – just moved digitally. Don't you just love technology.


  1. I like this song. I singered it on my band in the 70's

  2. sorry for my english. I'm brasilian. I never went to a english speaking country). it was not a bass fail (in the 28 seconds into the recording). It seems more likely a noise added lately. It seems more a kick drum than a bass note. The sound is much difrent of a bass note. (

  3. While it could be the bass drum, it is of the same timbre as the bass guitar that comes in seconds earlier.

  4. I love this song. Nice melody and great vocal harmonies. I'll have to go back and listen for the missed beat now. By the way, it's Gibb, not Gibbs.

  5. I first heard this song as a ten year old in 1970/1971.After school we all raced down to the nearest phone box and with a ten cent coin rang "Dial-a-Disc".This service was run by a radio station -3KZ?-and they featured one song per week!
    We never dreamed how music and technology would change so much....

  6. The song's distinct "wobbled" piano melody was discovered accidentally when an engineer leaned on a tape machine creating the sound.