Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Oldies - Minor Chaos by The Elegants

The Elegants at St John's University in Minnesota

This isn't a group harmony record from the Staten Island guys who did Little Star. This is an instrumental from a bunch of college kids in Minnesota who also called themselves The Elegants.

Although this song was written by two members of The Elegants, it was recorded by three different groups, all based in the same part of the country. It was first recorded by Steve Rowe And The Furys from Fargo, North Dakota, issued on a custom pressing in 1962. In 1964, two more versions were released, including this one. The other came from another Fargo group called The Treasures.

The Elegants formed in 1960 by students at St John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, just northeast of St. Cloud, and about 150 miles southwest of Fargo. On 26 April 1964, the group set up on stage in the college auditorium for a seven-hour recording session. The Chief Engineer of the college radio station KSJU, a guy named Bill Kling, was the recording engineer. The two tracks that came out of that session were issued the following week on the Bangar label by Kay-Bank Studios in Minneapolis.

The Elegants were Wayne Pikal, John Evans, Bill Marrin, Tom Hilgers (drums), and Steve Muggli. For this one session, a guy named Jim Creech sat in to play the bass guitar. Steve led the vocals on the flip side, Lost Souls, with help from Tom Olson, Neil Ostgaard, Fran Fullenkamp, and Dick Dufault.

This is a pretty rare record. To my knowledge, it isn't available on any compilation CD. You won't find a clean recording of it on YouTube, either. For the first time, maybe ever, you can go back fifty years in time and listen to both sides of this single!

Here's Minor Chaos by The Elegants on Bangar 00613 from 1964:

And here's the flip side, Lost Souls:

Instrumentals may be a lost art when it comes to pop music, but you'll hear over 2,000 of them on MusicMaster Oldies! Why not check it out?


  1. Thanks for the great writeup, and especially for the audio. You must have interviewed one of the band members. Well done.

  2. Having just discovered this article by accident, I thought I would round out your story with a bit of additional trivia. While the record we cut never made the big time, the St John's student, Bill Kling, graduated to become the President of Minnesota Public Radio. As a band member, all of the facts are correct although I never knew that two other bands liked it enough "steal" it from us. Ha Ha. All of the Elegants also graduated and went on to find "real jobs" and forged distinguished careers. Good article........small world!

    1. Thanks for checking in, Bill, and thanks also for the additional information! I'm also proud to say that Minnesota Public Radio using my MusicMaster software! You guys made some great music!