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'Yummy' Was Tasty Hit for Ohio Express

By Scott L. Miley

(May 22, 2012) – There’s three words that can make oldies fans hunger for light-hearted music from the 1960s: "Yummy Yummy Yummy."

Or make them choke on their bubblegum. The 1968 song’s catchy title, followed by the line, "I’ve got love in my tummy," became The Ohio Express’ biggest hit.

It was responsible for perpetuating the bubblegum craze that included the 1910 Fruitgum Co. and the Lemon Pipers.

But by the early 1970s, the bubble burst. The Ohio Express’ original drummer Tim Corwin has stayed with the band and is the group’s biggest promoter.

But he never much cared for lumping his sound into "bubblegum."

‘I never liked the label from day one. I thought it ‘s damn good rock n roll when you play it out live," said Corwin, 63, who still lives near the band’s original Mansfield, Ohio home.

"I don’t know who these clowns were that did that but I think it’s an insult calling the stuff bubblegum. Hell, we worked our butt off to be called rock n rollers.

He added, "A couple of bands beside us were the kings of bubblegum if you want to call it bubblegum cause we had more of that bubblegum stuff, so-called, out than anybody,"

A married father of two boys, he operates a auto body shop and performs with the reformed six-member band on weekends.

The Ohio Express will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 25 at Anderson Speedway. A fireworks show will follow.

Corwin was a teenager when he formed Sir Timothy and the Royals, a garage band that won music contests in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Brought to the attention of producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, the band name was changed to The Ohio Express.

They recorded "Yummy" — with studio singer Joey Levine brought in for that high-pitched vocal — in a studio in New York City. There was no hesitation at the time to record one the song, Corwin said.

On an elevator leaving the studio the band ran into soul singing legend Otis Redding, who advised them, "Remember cats, first dig it, then play it," recalled Corwin. "I’ll never forget it."

Up until recently, the band played about two gigs a month. With the renewed effort, Corwin hopes to perform every weekend.

He recently returned from Europe where the band performed on a charts-topper show. There, Corwin learned candy manufacturers were interested in using "Yummy" and "Chewy Chewy" in advertising.

Recognizing the title is still tasty, the band is selling a 10-song CD, "Bubblegum Days," of mostly cover songs on its website, The disc was intended as a demo to get the band’s name out again to promoters.

Included on the disc are versions of Spirit’s "I Got a Line on You," Eddie Money’s "Two Tickets to Paradise" and Deep Purple’s "Hush." There’s new renditions of Ohio Express hits,

"Beg Borrow and Steal" and "Yummy." "Beg Borrow and Steal" reflects the band’s initial leaning towards the garage sound. Most rock historians say the first bubblegum songs were The Lemon Pipers’ "Green Tambourine," and "Yummy Yummy Yummy."

Yet the monicker "bubblegum" still eats away at Corwin. Reminded though of the hits involving the words "Yummy" and "Chewy," he acknowledged. "Those names go with gum, I suppose."

He added, "‘Yummy,’ I love doing live because of the vocal and it really drives. But then again I don’t consider it bubblegum ... but that’s what it is, I guess."