The Avengers VI were a clean-cut surf band from Anaheim, Calif., whose one and only album, Real Cool Hits, was issued in 1966 as a promo for Good Humor ice cream. The group's name wasn't even mentioned on the cover although it was pictured on the kick drum.
The LP, recorded by producer George Garabedian for his Mark 56 label, was sold from the Good Humor ice cream trucks and has since become a highly-valued collector's item. In 2008 a copy went for $315 in an online auction.
What set the Avengers VI apart from many of the other surf groups was their superior musicianship. Guitarist Jim Ferguson was reported to practise eight hours a day while organist Mike DeYoung had formal musical training and a wide knowledge of classical music.
The group's repertoire, which encompassed covers of popular surf instrumentals, mood music, movie themes and some first rate originals, attracted both teens and adults to their appearances in southern California.
Heartbeat, the lead-off track on Real Cool Hits, is an original by guitarists Ferguson and Rick Bastrup.
The Avengers VI had largely been forgotten, except by die-hard collectors, until Bacchus Archives reissued Real Cool Hits on both vinyl and CD in 2001.
The vinyl reissue has itself become collectible, bringing prices of $30 and up. But the CD release can be had online for about $10 in the Discogs marketplace. There have been several unauthorized releases of Real Cool Hits as well.
An abridged version (six tracks) of the album from Bacchus Archives is available on iTunes and may be on other download sites as well.
The Avengers' cover of Henry Mancini's Peter Gunn figured prominently in the group's live appearances.