#57: If You’re Thinking What I’m Thinking by Dino, Desi & Billy

City: Calgary, AB
Radio Station: CKXL
Peak Month: June 1967
Peak Position in Calgary ~ #9
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #128
YouTube: “If You’re Thinkin’ What I’m Thinkin‘”
Lyrics: N/A

Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV is the son of Des Arnaz and Lucille Ball. His birth in 1953 was one of the most publicized in television history. His parents were the stars of the television sitcom I Love Lucy, and Ball’s pregnancy was part of the storyline, which was considered daring then. The same day Lucy gave birth to Desi Jr., the fictional Lucy Ricardo gave birth to “Little Ricky.” As a testament to how interested the American public was in Lucy’s TV baby, Arnaz appeared on the cover on the very first issue of TV Guide with a title that read: “Lucy’s $50,000,000 baby.” The reason he was given this title was because revenue from certain tie-in commitments were expected to top that mark. In 1964 Desi became the drummer for the pop trio Dino, Desi and Billy. “Dino” was Dean Paul Martin, the son of pop singer Dean Martin “Billy” was Billy Hinsche, brother-in-law of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

Hinsche was born in Manila, the Philippines, where his father, Otto “Doc” Hinsche, owned a casino. After World War II, the family moved to America, making Beverly Hills their home. Billy Hinsche attended Beverly Hills Catholic High School, where he met Desi Arnaz, Jr. and Dean Paul Martin.

Due to the family connections of Dino and Desi, the band’s first audition was for Dean Martin and Desi Arnaz’s friend, Frank Sinatra. Sinatra owned Reprise Records, the recording label for Dean Martin (“Everybody Loves Somebody”) The Electric Prunes (“I Had Too Much To Dream”), Nancy Sinatra (“These Boots Are Made For Walking”) and Tiny Tim (“Tiptoe Through The Tulips”).  On most of their records, Dino, Desi & Billy didn’t play their own instruments. Instead the recordings featured the cream of the crop of session players in the Los Angeles area, as well as producers and songwriters. Producers included Lee Hazelwood, Billy Strange and Jimmy Bowen, the latter who had been a pop singer in his late teens and early twenties, scoring a Top 20 hit in 1957 called “I’m Sticking With You.”

In 1965 Dino, Desi and Billy toured as an opening act for the Beach Boys. The group also opened for Paul Revere & the Raiders, Tommy Roe, Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs, the Lovin’ Spoonful and The Mamas & The Papas. They had a #17 hit called “I’m A Fool” on the Billboard Hot 100. But the song was not a hit in Vancouver. Their other Top 40 hit in the USA was “Not The Loving Kind” that climbed to #25 in October ’65.

The trio continued to have more Top 40 hits in 1965 with “Please Don’t Fight It” and “Superman”. In 1967, they released “If You’re Thinking What I’m Thinking”.

If You're Thinking What I'm Thinking by Dino, Desi & Billy
“If You’re Thinkin’ What I’m Thinkin'” was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Sidney Thomas “Tommy” Boyce was born in 1939 in Charlottesville, Virgina. He was one half of the pop duo with Bobby Hart. The two wrote numbers of songs for other recording artists including The Monkees, Jay and The Americans and Little Anthony and The Imperials. Boyce was separately pursuing a career as a singer. After being rejected numerous times, Boyce took his father’s suggestion to write a song called “Be My Guest” for rock and roll star Fats Domino. He waited six hours at Domino’s hotel room to present him with the demo, and got Domino to promise to listen to the song. In 1959 the song hit #8 in the US and #11 in the UK, becoming Domino’s biggest hit there in several years, and sold over a million copies. In 1961 Boyce also wrote “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” for Curtis Lee, which climbed to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the mid-60’s, with Bobby Hart, Tommy Boyce co-wrote “Last Train to Clarksville”, “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone”, “Words” and “Valleri”, all hits for The Monkees. They also co-wrote “Come A Little Bit Closer,” a Top Ten hit for Jay and the Americans in 1964.

Robert Luke Harshman (Bobby Hart) was born in 1939 in Phoenix (AZ). He went to Hollywood and worked at Record Labels Inc., printing labels on vinyl records. He released a few singles credited to Robert Luke Harshman, and then his record label changed his name to Bobby Hart.

Boyce and Hart had a Top Ten hit in 1968 titled “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight”. Boyce committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 55. In 2015, Bobby Hart published a memoir titled Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, the Monkees, and Turning Mayhem into Miracles. 

“If You’re Thinkin’ What I’m Thinkin'” is a song about a couple who are sexually attracted to each other. They’re in the zone where “words don’t mean a thing.” They need to have some action, ’cause they’re in the mood for making out.

“If You’re Thinkin’ What I’m Thinking'” peaked at #1 in Erie (PA), Troy (NY), Billings (MT), and Albany (NY), #2 in La Crosse (WI), and Orillia (ON), #3 in Milwaukee, and Kitchener (ON), #4 in Rochester (NY), Sikeston (MS), and Quincy (IL), #5 in Kansas City (MO), #7 in Ottawa, #9 in Calgary, #10 in Reading (PA), and Kingston (ON), and #11 in Winnipeg (MB).

“Two In The Afternoon”, “Kitty Doyle”, and “My What A Shame” followed in quick succession. “Tell Someone You Love Them” peaked at #9 in Vancouver (BC) and #92 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The trio disbanded in 1969. Their final single, “Lady Love” was released in 1970. It was co-written by Billy Hinsche and the Beach Boys Brian Wilson.

In the late 1960s, Hinsche worked as a session musician for The Beach Boys and toured extensively with the band. His sister, Annie Hinsche-Wilson-Karges, was married to the group’s guitarist, Carl Wilson. Hinsche graduated from UCLA in 1974 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Motion Pictures & Television.

Billy Hinsche has provided backing vocals on recordings for Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, Joan Jett’s “Good Music” and others. Hinsche has been a session musician on a dozen Beach Boys albums released between 1972 and 1996. Hinschle has also toured with the Beach Boys for many years. A film, On The Road With The Beach Boys

Dino Martin shed his nickname after the group broke up and went by his given name of Dean Paul. Perhaps the popular association of his nickname with a pet dinosaur on the cartoon, The Flintstones, was a factor. He became a successful tennis player (he competed in a junior competition at Wimbledon) and an actor. He co-starred with Ali MacGraw in the 1979 film Players, starring as a professional tennis player, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best New Star of the Year—Male. He later starred in the TV series Misfits of Sciencewhich aired during the 1985-1986 television season. His final film appearance came in Backfire, co-starring Karen Allen and Keith Carradine, released in 1988 after Martin’s death. Martin, an avid pilot, obtained his pilot’s license at age 16 and became an officer in the California Air National Guard in 1981. He rose to the rank of captain. He died in 1987 when his Air National Guard F-4 Phantom jet fighter departed March Air Force Base and crashed in California’s San Bernardino Mountains during a snowstorm, killing him and his Weapons Systems Officer, Captain Ramon Ortiz.

In 1968, he and his sister Lucie played opposite their mother in Here’s Lucy as her children. In 1970, Arnaz appeared on The Brady Bunch episode “The Possible Dream.” In 1974 he played the title role in the Western movie, Billy Two Hats, with Gregory Peck. In a 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by both Desi Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., the younger Arnaz played Ricky Ricardo and Gilda Radner played Lucy in spoofs of supposed ill-fated pilots for I Love Lucy. In 1977, he was the lead in the film JoyrideArnaz’s acting extended into the 1980s with TV productions and a leading role in Automan. He played his father in the 1992 movie The Mambo Kings, based on a Pulitzer Prize novel that treated his father with respect. The film includes a scene in which Desi Jr., playing his father’s character Ricky Ricardo, acts opposite his mother as Lucy Ricardo with film from the TV series intercut with the cast. From about 2002 to 2007, he was vice-president of the board of Directors of the Lucille Ball–Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York.

Between 1998 and 2010, Arnaz Jr. and Billy Hinsche toured in a new configuration of Dino, Desi & Billy called Ricci, Desi & Billy. The third member of the reconfigured trio was Ricci Martin, the youngest son of Dean Martin. In November 2021, Billy Hinsche died at the age of 70 of lung cancer.

June 22, 2024
Ray McGinnis

Ricci, Desi & Billy, Billy Hinschle.com.
Michael Logan, “TV Guide Magazine’s 60th Anniversary: How Desi Arnaz Jr. Became Our First Cover Star,” TV Guide, April 3, 2013
Peter Sblendorio, “Ricci Martin, son of Dean Martin, dead at 62,” New York Daily News, August 7, 2016
Ted Kotcheff, Billy Two HatsUnited Artists, 1974
Arne Glimcher, Mambo Kings, Warner Bros., 1992
Anthony Harvey, Players, Paramount Pictures, 1979
Billy Hinschle/Beach Boyds: Big Noise’s Al Gomes and A. Michelle Produced the East Coast Premiere of Billy Hinschle’s film ‘1974 – On the Road with The Beach Boys.’Big Noise.com.
Joseph Ruben, Joyride, American International Pictures, 1977.
Billy Hinsche – of Dino, Desi & Billy, Beach Boys fame – Dead at 70,” Bestclassicbands.com, November 20, 2021.
Caroline Boyce, Boyce And Hart’s Passion For Change Made A Difference, February 16, 2013.
Kent Kotal, “The Music of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart,” Forgotten Hits.com.
Chris Welch, “Obituaries: Tommy Boyce,” Independent, UK, December 23, 1994.
Bobby Hart Interview,” forgottenhits.com, 2008.
Bobby Hart, Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, the Monkees, and Turning Mayhem into Miracles(Bobby Hart, 2015).

If You're Thinking What I'm Thinking by Dino, Desi & Billy

CKXL 1140-AM Calgary (AB) Top Ten | June 5, 1967

One response to “If You’re Thinking What I’m Thinking by Dino, Desi & Billy”

  1. Tom Locke says:

    First time I have ever heard this song. It’s not bad. Definitely Dino, Desi & Billy material. A few parts in the song remind me of a Joe Brown and the Bruvvers (English group) who had a big hit with A Picture Of You – it went to #2 on the UK Singles in 1962.

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