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the Mark V (Five) / Marque V / Sonny Flaharty and the Mark Five

Dayton, 1964-7


The Mark V (also Marque V) produced one of the biggest hit records from Dayton with their 2nd 45 "Hey Conductor" - which also led to their demise. Before we go there, the band started in 1964/5 with bassist Jim "Farnsworth" Wyatt and guitarist Jon "Jason" Hollinger. They added keybord player Mike Losekamp and singer Sue Darby. Drummer Doug Porter completed the V. 

The band got some choice gigs, most notably the house band for the Diamond Club in 1966. Before that they had residencies at the Leisure Time and Mickeys' clubs.

Around mid 1966, when they took the Diamond Club gig, Sonny Flaharty replaced Sue Darby on lead vocals. Sonny was already a rock star in Dayton and the change put them at the top of the local scene. As opening for many national touring artists, the band got a lot of attention. The attention turned out to be a good thing for Mike Losekamp, as he was invited to join the NYC band the Cyrkle, who had a big hit with "Red Rubber Ball" and had been an opening band for the Beatles during their summer 1966 tour. The band and Losekamp parted as friends, and Richard "Skip"Shaman replaced him.

The band finally got a recording deal with Warner Brothers and released their first 45 in March 1967. The record seems to have been recorded at Cleveland Recording and used the NE Ohio connections to WB to get it placed. The record was a local hit but not enough for WB to make much of a promotional push.  The band used the name Marque V to distinguish their name compared to other similarly named bands.

A couple months later, they recorded "Hey Conductor" (written by Flaharty) and "You Bring These Tears To Me" (wirtten by Wyatt) at Allen-Martin in Louisville, for a release on Counterpart. The record took off in a big way, selling upwards of 10,000-20,000 copies (depending on which account is used). The Philips subsidiary of Mercury records re-released it nationally and the record seemed like it was going to be a national hit, until two strikes killed it. First, the lyrics (including lines about taking a trip) were interpreted by many to encourage drug use. It was the Summer of Love and drugs were startng to dominate media coverage ot teenage culture. Sonny insists he had no such intentions but enough radio people went along and refused to play it. Second strike, the Philips release credited the the record to Sonny Flaharty and the Mark V and according to a Dayton newspaper story at the time, this exacerbated a conflict between Sonny and (some) other band members that had been brewing, regarding him being promoted over the band. Sonny decided to quit and that was the end of the Mark V. 

Sonny went on to front other bands, while the other Mark V members stayed together and ended up going back to the original Mark V, in a way, with Sue Darby and Mike Losekamp reuniting with Jim Wyatt and Jon Hollinger in Green Lyte Sunday.

More information on Sonny Flaharty will be added to the entry under his name.

When I Close My Eyes / Can't Buy My Soul - Warner Bros 7009, March 1967
Hey Conductor / Ypu Bring These Tears To Me - Counterpart 2591/2 / Philips  40479, June/Aug 1967