I’ve been sitting on this one for a while because it’s the perfect example of thinking you know who’s singing that song you’ve heard a million times. “Rock Me Gently” has that flawless Neil Diamond vibe – a voice that both belts and croons, cornball lyrics, a Brill Building level of pop songcraft … but that’s not Neil Diamond. It’s Canadian singer/songwriter Andy Kim.
1974’s “Rock Me Gently” was Kim’s only #1 in the US, but he’s not a one-hit wonder either. Kim had a total of six other songs in the Top 40 between 1968 and 1974. “Baby, I Love You” got to #9 and “Be My Baby” hit #17 – both covers of hits originally by The Ronettes. Kim sings both of those in a higher register than “Rock Me Gently,” although he could have raided Neil Diamond’s closet for this TV appearance.
You can also hear Kim as part of the fake band, The Archies. Kim co-wrote “Sugar, Sugar” with Jeff Barry, who not coincidentally, co-wrote those two Ronettes songs. On “Sugar, Sugar,” Kim sings background vocals with Toni Wine (co-writer of “Groovy Kind of Love”) while Ron Dante takes lead vocal. Here’s the Saturday morning cartoon video version of “Sugar, Sugar” and Andy Kim talking about the song in 2017, explaining how such a bubblegum song hit #1 when The Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival were at #2 and #3.
Andy Kim was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2019 and what 45-year-old song do you think he performed live that night?