48 Lookin' For Love Hummelflugs

The Hummelflugs' name proved a challenge to attempt to decipher from the handwritten notes for the Caroline charts that Radio London had received from Jempi. Written as two words, (left) the only name I could make out of it was 'Animal Flags'! Fortunately, friends came to the rescue and our Big L Fab Forty champion Fab Alan Field unearthed the correct name. 'Hummelflug' is German for 'flight of the bumblebee' ( 'Hommel Vlucht' in Dutch). Probably, the DJs would have pronounced the word 'humm-el-flugg', which sounds nothing like the way either the German or the Dutch would have said it. No doubt it completely confused continental listeners trying to catch the band name and others too.

The Swindon band with the German moniker was the first to be signed by the Macam Agency and 'Looking For Love' was published by Merit Music. Macam stood for Merit Artistes, Composers and Musicians and the proprietor of both companies was Allan Crawford, Radio Caroline's joint MD. Allan ran several record labels, including Carnival, Cannon, Sabre and 4-Tune. Keeping it Caroline, the song was written by two of the DJs, Alan Zeffert, known on air as MikeAllen and Tony Day, who broadcast (briefly) as Eddie Anthony.

The band was also known as John L. Watson And The Hummelflugs. Although the lead singer's name was absent from promo copies (which was presumably what the DJs were playing aboard the Mi Amigo) it was restored when the single was issued and his name also appeared on theband's follow-up release. The song title too had lost a 'g' by the release date, when 'Looking' had become 'Lookin''.

John aka Johnny Watson was a US airman from Clarksdale, Mississippi. He had left the band for a while to perform in Germany, which is presumably where he discovered the band's unusual name. The other 1965 members were Jeff Lewington (Guitar) (d 2007), Andy Maguire (Bass), his brother Paul Maguire (Organ) and Duncan McCracken (Drums).

(l to r) Andy, Jeff, Paul, Duncan and Johnny arriving in Trafalgar Square for a rally to launch Christian Aid Week of 1965. Still from Pathé News clip

Reception in Swindon not being that brilliant, the local paper suggests that if readers can 'stand the crackling' they should tune in to Caroline to hear their heroes' record.

The release date of 'Lookin' For Love' is stated as December 4th, and most of the publicity appears to have happened in the run-up to Christmas. It was voted a hit on the BBC's 'Juke Box Jury' and the Hummelflugs also promoted it on 'Five O'Clock Club', a children's programme that regularly featured bands. They also made a prestigious appearance on the December 11th edition of Redifusion's 'Ready Steady Go!' alongside Georgie Fame and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

On the same day, the single was reviewed in the 'Potted Pops' section of the 'New Musical Express', although it appears the paper may have got that unusual name wrong. (Not having seen the NME review in question, it's impossible to know whether it was the paper or this website that made the error in transcribing the information.) The same edition of NME had on its front cover promotions for the single 'Somewhere' and a new EP from P J Proby, who wrote the B-side of 'Lookin' For Love', 'I Only Came to Dance With You', under his real name of Jim Smith .

DJ Hit-Pick information is scarce, but with 'Lookin' For Love's strong station tie-ins, it seems unlikely that Caroline would have missed the opportunity to optimise exposure by playing it around its release date in December, before giving it a chart entry at the start of 1965.

Zeffert and Day also got writing credits for 'I'll Make it Worth Your While', the B-side of the one-and-only Hummelflugs follow-up, 'Standing By', penned by Van McCoy.

In 1968 John L Watson fronted The Web, who had highly-collectable singles and albums issued by Deram. A solo single and album 'White Hot Blue Black' was issued on the label in 1970. John, described here as "the living embodiment of a real bluesman", has gone on to enjoy a long career on the British blues scene. He became particularly well known when performing as Mississippi John L Watson & The Odyssey Blues Band.

The Hummelflugs reformed to play a reunion gig in July 2002 for Duncan McCracken's 60th birthday.

The Swindon Music Scene website has full information about the band, with local press clippings.

Many thanks to Jon Myer, Alan Field and Alan Hardy for their assistance

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