In early 1967, The Pigeons manager, Phil Basile, convinced producer, George “Shadow” Morton, to catch their live act. Impressed by The Pidgeons heavy-rocking, trippy and psychedelic version of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” Morton offered to record the song as a single resulted in a deal with the Atlantic subsidiary Atco, which requested a name change. The band settled on Vanilla Fudge. Vanilla Fudge, the album, was released on June 2, 1967 the day after The Beatles’ released their Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Vanilla Fudge first album rose up the charts to # 4 without the aid of a big hit single.
In 1968, Vanilla Fudge headlined the Fillmore West with Steve Miller. The group then performed “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” on The Ed Sullivan Show, and released their second album, “The Beat Goes On.” Despite its avant-garde conceptualization and execution, the LP was a hit and climbed into the Top Twenty. That summer, Atco reissued “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” and the second time around it climbed into the Top Ten. It was followed by Renaissance, one of Vanilla Fudge’s best albums, which also hit the Top Twenty. The band had three albums in the Top One Hundred, two of which were in the Top Twenty and one in the Top Five Single. The band toured with Jimi Hendrix, played dates equal billed or headlined with groups such as Cream, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, among many others; late in the year, they toured with the fledgling Led Zeppelin as their opening act.
In 1969, while immersed in extensive touring, Atco released the expansive, symphonic-tinged record, Near the Beginning. Among the group’s many TV appearances on legendary shows were Dick Cavett, Merv Griffin Show, David Frost, Where The Action Is among others. The group did a TV commercial for Braniff Air, and also recorded a radio commercial for Coca Cola with guitarist Jeff Beck, a fill-in for Vince who was unable to be there that day. This event gave rise to the eventual creation of a Cream-styled power trio featuring Beck, Bogert and Appice. Exhausted by the constant touring, the Vanilla Fudge decided that their late 1969 European tour would be their last. Following the release of their final album, Rock & Roll, they played a few U.S. farewell dates and disbanded in early 1970.
Bogert and Appice first formed the hard rock group Cactus, and then later joined up with Jeff Beck to form Beck, Bogert & Appice. Appice went on to become an active session and touring musician, working with a variety of rock and hard rock artists.
Mark Stein formed Boomerang and went on to tour and recorded with The Tommy Bolin Band (Deep Purple), Dave Mason and Alice Cooper. Mark also hooked up with Madison Avenue ad agencies and sang on TV & Radio commercials for a while and had a Budweiser commercial featured on the Super Bowl. Vince continued to perform, record, teach and host his own radio shows in the tri-state New York area. In 1995, Vince’s guitar work on the intro to “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” was rated the number four heaviest guitar riff of all time in classic rock by Guitar Magazine. Tim’s unique combination of melodic ingenuity, and gutsy roaring speed, brought new dimensions to the role of the electric bass player. Tim went on to become a milestone teacher at Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles and he is considered a bass legend.
Vanilla Fudge reunited in 1984 and recorded a new album, Mystery, which also had Jeff Beck as a guest artist. In the summer of 2006, the original Vanilla Fudge reunited to tour with The Doors of the 21st Century; it culminated in a VH-1 special, “Decades of Rock.”
Vanilla Fudge were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame by Felix Cavaliere for their contribution to music history. In the summer of 2006, the original Vanilla Fudge reunited to tour with The Doors of the 21st Century; it culminated in a VH-1 special, “Decades of Rock.”
In the summer of 2007, HBO’s final episode of The Sopranos featured “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” as a theme for their cliffhanger. The band also went back into the studio to record Out Through the In Door, a Led Zeppelin cover album released in 2007 only in Europe. Also, the band performed “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” for the PBS fundraising program My Music: My Generation – The ’60s for the March 2008 pledge drive.
In March 2008, the original lineup of Vanilla Fudge embarked on a tour of the United States. In the summer of that year, Bogert and Appice left to concentrate on Cactus, which they had reformed in 2006. Stein and Martell continued on in 2008 and 2009 as Mark Stein and Vince Martell of Vanilla Fudge with a tour that was called “Let’s Pray For Peace,” with Jimmyjack Tamburo on drums and Pete Bremy returning on bass. Out Through the In Door was released in the US in 2008. Stein and Martell also performed shows during this period with Steve Argy and Jimmyjack Tamburo again as the rhythm section.
In 2009, Tim Bogert announced his retirement from touring and was replaced later by Pete Bremy. In early 2011, Vanilla Fudge embarked on what was announced as their farewell tour. The lineup for the tour was: Carmine Appice, Mark Stein, Vince Martell, and Pete Bremy.
On March 29, 2011, the band appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and performed “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” This lineup has continued to tour since. In 2015, Vanilla Fudge released its first album in ten years, Spirit of ’67. As of 2018, Vanilla Fudge is still performing concerts regularly in 2023.