From the Land of Band Box Records

Wholesome and Uplifting in the 1960’s No Less!

July 30, 2017

Up With People and the Young Americans

Up With People formed in 1965 with a global mission to “make a difference in the world”.  I ran into a configuration of this group in 1965 while riding a tilt-o-whirl ride in “The Lagoon” amusement park.  The group filled all the seats on the ride other than the one my date and I were occupying and then when the ride started up the “Uppers” began singing one of their uplifting songs – and so the ride operator let the old tilt-o-whirl go on, and on, and on for what seemed like forever.

Did I join in with their inspiring song?  Doggone it, I believe I just might have….

Some notable alumni included actress Glen Close.

The “Up With People” concept came under critical scrutiny in 2009 in a documentary film titled “Smile ‘Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story”.  The world must now be a much safer place with the “People” exposed….  Let’s go get “The Young Americans” next…..

Good grief, give me a break……

PS:  By the way, “Up With People” is headquartered here in the Mile High City – Denver, Colorado as can be seen from the two picture sleeves below.

The Young Americans

The Young Americans were a wholesome group which was first formed in 1962 in Southern California.  Hundred’s of members passed through the ranks from all over the world and the group continues today!  Their first appearance occurred in the 1960’s on the “Bing Crosby Show”.

Some noted members included Vicki Lawrence, Mark Walberg (Antiques Roadshow), Reggie Banister, and Nia Peeples.



  1. Well, golly, how wholesome these cheery kids are! Hard to believe Glenn Close was involved; my guess is hat the experience is (at least in part) what allowed her to take the highly cynical roles she has deservedly become famous for!

    Seriously, I found this very interesting article commenting on an Up With People concert at Harvard back in 1967. A fair amount of its contemperaneous observations could be made about aspects of today’s politics:


    I never heard of The Young Americans (until the totally unrelated David Bowie song), but Up with People sounded like The New Christy Minstrels or The Serendipity Singers with a heavy dose of conservatism and excessive cheeriness.

    I do recall that at some point, Moral Re-Armament, the archconservative sponsoring organization of Up With People, tried to either buy or be awarded the site of the former Fort Slocum (David’s Island) in Long Island Sound off the shore just of New Rochelle, NY, my home town. It never happened, to New Rochelle’s great relief. (Unfortunately, since the base closed, nothing else has happened there, either!)

    Country Paul

    • In later years Glenn Close called the group “a cult” …..

      • Right she is!!

        Since last writing, I have heard The Young Americans version of “Born to Be With You,” the Don Robertson song originally done by The Chordettes. Let’s just say that someone spent way too much money on that session….

      • You ever wonder how they paid all those young singers? They must have just gotten a weekly allowance.

      • I think you’re right – that and the thrill of standing up for what they allegedly (and possibly really) believed in.

        Seriously, I wonder if any of your readers might admit to being in one of these groups and would be willing to share what life was like “from the inside.”

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