Pre-Target recordings (1957-1966)

The story of rock and roll music in the Fox Valley, as with many cities in the US, began with Elvis Presley's first national television performance on January 28, 1956. Thousands of young adults tuned in to see the raw energy of this 21 year old soon-to-be legend on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show.
As would happen again less than ten years later with the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, kids began to flock to local music stores to buy their first guitars, basses, and, at the time, saxophones. Many others took to their home or school piano hoping to be the next Jerry Lee Lewis.

This page is focused on the recordings of Fox Valley artists who would later be directly involved in the formation of, or production at, Target Recording Studios. Pre-1966 recordings from artists that recorded at Target are located on their own page.

The lineage from the very first Wisconsin-produced rock and roll record in 1957 to the first studio record at Target in 1966, traces directly through one man: Ricky Leigh (Smolinski). At 15, he was already outpacing many of his own guitar teachers, was writing his own material, and performing in multiple groups! He is credited as songwriter AND lead guitar on both sides of Wisconsin's very first rock record.

The White Caps (with Johnny Edwards on vocals)

 The following records also feature Ricky Leigh as composer and guitarist.


Kenny King and the Be Bops
I'm Gonna Love You

By 1960, other bands had established themselves in the clubs around the Fox Valley. One such band was Bob Mattice and the Phaetons. Bob was originally from Redgranite, WI. The band boasted six members, including a young drummer named James Kelly.

Both of the band's singles, as well as many others from this era, were recorded and released by James Kirchstein's Cuca Records (and its various sister-labels), based in Sauk City, west of Madison. Following the early success of The Fendermen's "Mule Skinner Blues," Cuca had become the premier recording studio in Wisconsin, and remained the most prolific independent record label in the state, even beyond its closure in 1973.

Bob Mattice and the Phaetons

Bob Mattice and the Phaetons

In late 1961, James "Jim" Kelly, Alan "Al" Posniak, Harry Wheelock and Bob Dix formed The Catalinas while attending the Wisconsin State College at Oshkosh. The band was named after Al's car, a Pontiac Catalina.


Harry and the Catalinas

The Catalinas

Singer and guitarist Denny Noie had been making a name for himself for several years in bands with the likes of Gary Van Zeeland of the Eccos. For a short time he was added as a fifth member of the Catalinas. Dee Dee was written for his young daughter, and would be re-recorded several times by both him AND a later lineup of the Catalinas.

Denny Noie and the Catalinas

After Denny Noie left to form the In-Crowd, The Catalinas decided upon a new stage gimmick. They dressed in gold lamé suits, matching shoes and peroxide-blonde pompadours. Billing themselves as the "Golden" Catalinas, they also added Oshkosh native Roger Loos on saxophone. Roger had previously also been a member of the Phaetons, and co-wrote "Camel Walk" and wrote it's flip side "Safari".

Golden Catalinas

The Memories were the first band officially promoted using the "Target Productions" name. Their show posters included a logo that went unused on future materials, and listed the Posniak's family home address, 732 Bell St, in Appleton, as the business address.

Lead singer was Chuck Posniak, younger brother of Catalinas member and Target co-founder Alan. Chuck would go on to form Private Property with Doug Yankus.

The Memories
K.O Recording Studios Inc. ZTSC-107851/2, 1966
That's How Strong My Love Is
Mercy, Mercy

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