The Flame are most known for their connections to the Beach Boys, though they'd been active for quite some time in a much different part of the world than Southern California before they came to the Beach Boys' attention. Originally known as the Flames, the group -- with brothers Ricky Fataar, Steve Fataar, and Edries Fataar, as well as Blondie Chaplin -- was a popular act in their native South Africa in the mid- to late '60s, moving to London near the end of the decade to try to break into a larger market. Still using the name the Flames, they put out an obscure album in the U.K. in 1968, Burning Soul. In July 1969, they were seen at the London nightclub Blaise's by Beach Boys guitarist Al Jardine, who brought the band's other guitarist, Carl Wilson, to see them the following night. Wilson offered to produce an album for the band on the Beach Boys' label, Brother, in California, although it wasn't until the late '70s that the LP was released. By this time, the group was using the name the Flame to avoid confusion with James Brown's backup singers, the Famous Flames.
The album (also called The Flame) didn't actually sound much like the Beach Boys, instead bearing a quite prominent late-'60s Beatles influence in the intricately arranged vocal harmonies and guitars, as well as showing traces of other, more hard rock-oriented late-'60s British acts. Cuts such as "Don't Worry, Bill," "Another Day Like Heaven," and "Highs and Lows," in fact, came about as close as anyone did to simulating the feel of Abbey Road, though the material wasn't as brilliant as that penned by the Beatles. Although a single from the album, "See the Light," made the bottom reaches of the national charts, a second album was recorded but not released, the band breaking up shortly afterward. Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin were absorbed into the Beach Boys for some recordings and touring in the mid-'70s, and Ricky Fataar, in addition to acting and recording as part of the Beatles parody group the Rutles, played on numerous sessions (mostly as a drummer). Chaplin has also had a busy session career, mostly notably in the studio and on-stage with the Rolling Stones since the late '90s. ~ Richie Unterberger