I remember Glenn Yarbrough from his mid-60s solo hit, “Baby The Rain Must Fall,” the title track of the Steve McQueen-Lee Remick movie of the same name. The movie was a commercial and critical flop, but Yarbrough’s recording was not, making it to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 List in 1965. (And it’s still bouncing around in my brain 50 years later.)
Before this, he had already tasted success with The Limeliters, a folk group formed in 1959. Yarbrough, a guitarist and tenor, and Alex Hassilev, a bassist and bass-baritone, were performing together at Hollywood’s Cosmo Alley nightclub, where they were seen by Lou Gottlieb, a composer, arranger and newly-minted musicology PhD. He suggested they join up and make some demos for The Kingston Trio, but they liked their own output so much, they decided to go it alone as a trio.
Before long they had a string of well-received albums, TV appearances and as many as 310 live performances a year.
Yarbrough (January 12, 1930-August 11, 2016) also collaborated with pop-poet Rod McKuen. Among their projects were The Lonely Things and Glenn Yarbrough Sings the Rod McKuen Songbook.
Yarbrough was ambivalent about fame and on several occasions retreated from the music industry altogether. In a 1961 interview with Saturday Evening Post, cited in his New York Times obituary, he said “The only thing that success has taught me is that success is meaningless…An audience is like a lynch mob. Three years ago they were walking out on me. Now that they know we’ve been on the Sullivan show, they come and cheer.”