Fugitives ThumbnailONCE UPON A TIME: Before there ever was a creature known as “Philip Cody,” there were 3 sophomores from the University of Bridgeport and a sibling drummer, calling themselves the Fugitives, who, in 1965, went to Greenwich Village, landed a gig at the most important club of the day, The Night Owl Café, and signed a recording contract with Columbia Records . . . all in the seeming blink of an eye. That’s how it feels, in retrospect.

The band’s lifespan was equally brief, with most of the band members packing up and heading back to school after a few years in the music business trenches.

I, however, stayed behind. Having written and recorded my first songs, having strutted on stage before adoring audiences, I was smitten . . . hooked. I wanted more and bigger of everything and anything to do with show biz.

This page represents my first footsteps along the path to becoming who I am as a songwriter and, while it feels dorky in a very clichéd kind of way, it also feels essential to my story. Every story needs its “once-upon-a-time.” This is mine.

I don't remember the first song I ever wrote. This is the first one that ever got recorded

Fugitives Full Page Billboard Ad

 A full page ad in Billboard Magazine . . . or was it Cashbox. 
I'm the wide open mouth at the top of the pictures. This is so uncool!!

“This is Tokyo mailing. I found your site today. I’m glad that you’re still active. I’ve been a  lover of American pop music. So I’ve been aware about you. As a songwriter for Neil Sedaka. But I’m more interested in you as a singer. I have your two solo albums. I love “Laughing Sandwiches” album on Kirshner. What a lovely album it is! I guess that Don K. would have loved your songs and singing.

Second album on Warner is an Adult-oriented album with big names. Dara’s father, Al Kooper, Dusty S.,Al Gorgoni and many more. Al G. is famous for Just Us in 60s. I guess that you would have known Al G. since mid-60s. And Charles Larkey of the Myddle Class was also there. I guess that you have met Charles in 60s, too.

You are a survivor from the New York music scene in 60s. You were in the Fugitives. I have ‘Your Girl’s a Woman’ on Mala. ( A small hit. I don’t have a Columbia 45, though.) Many great rock groups in 60s. The Lovin’ Spoonful, the Strangers (featuring Peter Gallway and Jon Lind, later known as the Fifth Avenue Band), the Myddles Class, the Magicians, the Flying Machine (featuring James T. and Kootch), the Vagrants and many more. Peter Sando (of the Rahgoos and Gandalf fame) mentions on his own site;

‘From the bands emerged many legends. James Taylor would go to England and record for Apple Records. He never stopped getting better. Out of the Magicians came Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, two talented writers who went on to write many hits for the Turtles, Three Dog Night, Petula Clark, The Righteous Bros., etc. Also from the Magicians – Jake who teamed up with Bunky to make some great music in the 70′s- and John Townley who founded Apostolic Studios in New York.

The Fugitives gave us Phil Cody who wrote the Solitaire album with Neil Sedaka. From the Myddle Class, David Palmer and Charlie Larkey who went on to work and write with Carol King. David also sang lead on the first Steely Dan LP.

And there was Jerry Jeff Walker, who emerged from The Lost Sea Dreamers. Occasionally, people like Tim Hardin and Richie Havens would stop in and do a couple of songs. Waitress, Shelly Plimpton, appeared in the original cast of “Hair”. Every Thanksgiving the Night Owl had a huge feast. Everyone was there past and present- even The Spoonful……. and The Mothers of Invention served the food!

Yes, we “believed in magic”!

It was a sad day when the Night Owl was converted into a poster and button shop. It is now Bleeker Bob’s Records, and there is a wonderful picture of the Night Owl with the Blues Magoos on stage in the window. ‘

Peter Sando, 1997

I’m really interested in you as a singer/songwriter. Let me know your Brill Building songwriter days and the Fugitives days.”

Best wishes,
Akihide Nakamura
Tokyo, Japan