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Motown through psychedlia, girl groups through garage rock - pop music in 1966 was at a junction of genres. While the record industry was booming, Hanna Barbera was doing the same with television programs like The Flintstones, The Huckleberry Hound Show and Jonny Quest. That these cartoon characters frequently appeared on vinyl for the purpose of cross promotion was no surprise. What was not foreseen was that Hanna Barbera would release some of the wildest psychedelic rock, smoothest soul music and heaviest garage sounds ever recorded.
Hanna Barbera Records was essentially responsible for Bread, The Humans and Three Dog Night. They were connected to Harry Nilsson, David Bowie and T-Rex. It was Hanna Barbera Records that introduced the world to Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators. Other famous names involved with HBR included Kim Fowley, Danny Hutton and Phil Spector.
Hanna Barbera Records lasted only two years, but in that brief time they gave major stars their start. They also angered one employee so much that he spent the rest of his life touring the country with sermons about “the evils of rock n’ roll.” Between 1965 and 1967 the cartoon assembly line released some of pop music’s most interesting recordings. Behind the scenes it was an onslaught of drugs, lawsuits, and suicides. Hanna Barbera’s A&R man called it “a failed experiment.”