The group broke out of Tucson in 1966, playing clubs as far away as Los Angeles and teen fairs throughout the west and southwest. They also cut a strange novelty single, "Peep Peep Pop Pop," which had been foisted on them by Gates, which became a No. 1 hit in Tucson when issued on the local Boyd label, which got Columbia Records interested in the band. A Columbia version of the single was issued and scraped the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100, even getting onto American Bandstand's rate-a-record segment. They also recorded a complete album for the label that stayed in the can for 30 years. One lawsuit later, they were on White Whale, with a lot of promise before them, and then it all fell apart when Larry Cox was killed in a car crash that took place while the band was driving back to Tucson, to get Cox to his wedding the next day. The group never recovered, despite getting an unexpected regional hit out of the song "Flight 13," the B-side of their one attempt to cut a record after Cox's death.
Their seven singles are passable period pop/garage rock that don't measure up to the standards of literally hundreds of better obscure '60s garage groups throughout the country. The evidence from their unreleased Columbia LP, part of which was issued in 1997 on Dionysus Records' Tucson garage band collection Let's Talk About Girls, shows that they did have a good ear for hooks and a hard attack on their instruments that translated well in the studio, and Cox to be a strong singer. Had he lived, the Dearly Beloved might've been White Whale's answer to the Leaves.
Bassist Shep Cooke went on to join the Stone Poneys briefly, before returning to the Dearly Beloved during their final days, and went on to play on albums by Tom Waits, Linda Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne.