News for the ‘Doo Wop’ Category

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #42 – The Flamingos: “I Only Have Eyes For You” b/w “Love Walked In” – Roulette Golden Goodies Series 45 RPM Single GG20 (C5/D5)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #42 – The Flamingos: “I Only Have Eyes For You” b/w “Love Walked In” – Roulette Golden Goodies Series 45 RPM Single GG20 (C5/D5)

You’d be hard pressed to find a sweeter, more sumptuous doo wop classic than today’s Grammy Hall Of Fame recording by The Flamingos, a group that Billboard called “one of the finest and most influential vocal groups in pop music history.”

Cousins Jake and Ezekial Carey grew up in Baltimore hailing from the same neighborhood as Sonny Til of The Orioles. They relocated to Chicago where they formed The Flamingos in 1953. After numerous personnel changes and stints recording for record labels like Chance, Parrot, Checker (a Chess subsidiary where they scored their first big hit “I’ll Be Home”) and Decca, they signed to George Goldner’s End Records in 1958.

At the time, the group consisted of Nate Nelson, Jake Carey, Paul Wilson, Tommy Hunt and Terry “Buzzy” Johnson. Goldner’s modus operandi was to steer the group away from recording original material in favor of recording standards, which is how they came to record today’s dreamy jukebox classic “I Only Have Eyes For You.”

The song was written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin for the 1934 film Dames. It became a hit by Ben Selvin reaching the #2 position on the charts in 1934 and The Flamingos recorded it in 1958 sending it up to the #11 position on the pop charts and #5 R&B in 1959. The recording comes from a long line of records whose production enhancements (like the reverb on the background vocals) are equally as important as the performance, in creating a perfectly plush celestial atmosphere.

The song was from The Flamingos’ 1959 album Flamingo Serenade that also featured their one-of-a-kind takes on such standards as “As Time Goes By,” “Where Or When,” “I’m In the Mood For Love,” “But Not For Me,” “Love Walked In” (the flip of today’s single), “Begin the Beguine,” “Music, Maestro, Please!,” “Time Was” and “Goodnight Sweetheart.” While “I Only Have Eyes For You” was by far their biggest hit, their other hits included “Mio Amore,” the Doc Pomus song “Your Other Love,” “Nobody Loves Me Like You” (written by Sam Cooke) and “I Was Such A Fool.”

There have been literally hundreds of cover versions of today’s song by the likes of Eddy Duchin, Al Jolson, Billie Holiday, June Christy, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Dinah Shore, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Lester Bowie, Carmen McRae, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, The Temptations, The Lettermen, Jerry Butler, Toni Tennille, Bette Midler, Kenny Rogers, Art Garfunkel, George Benson, Mark Eitzel, Carly Simon and Rod Stewart, but The Flamingos’ version reigns supreme. The group’s opulent harmonies had a profound influence on the Motown and Philadelphia soul sound, and their stage choreography was a major influence on The Temptations and numerous other doo wop and soul groups.

By 1960, Hunt left for a solo career on Scepter Records and Nate and Terry split to form The Modern Flamingos in 1961 who recorded an album for Atco Records, who forced them to change their name to The Starglows. The Flamingos were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001 and Tommy Hunt, Terry Johnson and Johnny Carter performed together at the ceremony. Terry Johnson owns The Flamingos name and still tours today, recently releasing The Diamond Anniversary Tour CD in 2013 featuring the current lineup of Terry Johnson, Starling Newsome, Stan Prinston and Theresa Trigg.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: June 15th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Golden Gate Gospel Train” by The Golden Gate Quartet

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Golden Gate Gospel Train” by The Golden Gate Quartet

Today’s Song of the Day by Eric Berman shines a spotlight on what I like to call holy rollin’ prehistoric Doo Wop, which is better known as Gospel Jubilee.

The Golden Gate Quartet started out as a Barbershop Quartet in Virginia back in the early 1930s comprised of two friends from the Booker Washington High School glee club, the barber and a one-legged bass singer. By the time the group began to perform for audiences during the late 1930s, the quartet featured Orlandus Wilson, Willie Johnson, Henry Owens and Clyde Riddick who soon migrated to North Carolina where their brand of Jubilee Gospel was featured all over the radio airwaves.

By 1937, they came to the attention of the Victor Record company who began recording their sides (including this 1937 track) for the Bluebird label. The Golden Gate Jubilee sound was a heady brew melding barbershop harmonies, jazz and scat singing and country hillbilly music with a healthy helping of old time religion. Their sound was a great influence on groups like The Ink Spots and many of the Doo Wop groups of the 1950s. The quartet performed for close to 70 years with Riddick staying in the group until he retired in 1995 and Wilson’s death in 1998, and the group still exists in some form today. Incredible, their most recent album was released in 2010.

Listen closely and you can also here a sample of this very song in Paul Simon’s “Love and Blessings,” from his latest studio album So Beautiful or So What.

Edited: November 16th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Think” by The 5 Royales

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Think” by The 5 Royales

If ever a group deserved to be in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame, it should be The 5 Royales.

Not only were they a pioneering R’n’B and Doo Wop vocal group, but they had one of the greatest songwriters of the era in Lowman “Pete” Pauling as a member. Pauling wrote most of the Royales’ material and many of their songs went on to be big hits for others.

The 5 Royales were formed in North Carolina in the early 1950s and consisted of Lowman “Pete” Pauling, Jimmy Moore, Obadiah Carter, Otto Jeffries and Johnny Tanner. They recorded for King Records and had chart success with songs like “Monkey Hips And Rice,” “Baby Don’t Do It” and “Somebody Help Me.” But it was the songs that were penned by Pauling and recorded by others that really made them legends.

The group was responsible for introducing today’s Song Of The Day that later went on to be a big soul hit for James Brown. They also recorded the original versions of “Dedicated To The One I Love” made famous by both The Shirelles and The Mamas & The Papas, and “Tell The Truth” which was originally recorded by Ray Charles.

Edited: June 19th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Daddy’s Home” by Shep & The Limelites

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Daddy’s Home” by Shep & The Limelites

Shep & The Limelites consisted of James “Shep” Sheppard, Clarence Bassett and Charles Bakersfield. They formed in Queens, New York in 1960 and are primarily remembered for their signature hit (and today’s Song Of The Day) “Daddy’s Home.”

Sheppard was originally a member of a group called The Heartbeats that signed with the Hull record label in the late 1950s. The group scored several minor hits on Hull including “Your Way,” “Baby Don’t Go” and “A Thousand Miles Away.” It was while a member of The Heartbeats that Sheppard co-wrote and recorded an early version of “Daddy’s Home” as their last single on Hull.

The Heartbeats met the demise of so many groups of the day and called it quits in 1959 after being ripped off by managers and not paid for their shows by promoters.

Two years later, Sheppard formed The Limelites with Bassett and Bakersfield and were once again signed by Hull Records. Their first single as The Limelites was “Daddy’s Home,” which soared all the way to the number two position on the charts in 1961 and was covered by the likes of PJ Proby, Jermaine Jackson, Toots & The Maytals and Cliff Richard. The group scored several other hits including “What Did Daddy Do,” “Ready For Your Love” and “Our Anniversary.”

The group continued until 1966 before breaking up. Sheppard was found shot to death in his car on the Long Island Expressway in January of 1970. He had just reformed The Limelites and was beginning to tour the rock and roll revival circuit.

Edited: June 15th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #42 – The Flamingos: “I Only Have Eyes For You” b/w “Love Walked In” – Roulette Golden Goodies Series 45 RPM Single GG20 (C5/D5)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #42 – The Flamingos: “I Only Have Eyes For You” b/w “Love Walked In” – Roulette Golden Goodies Series 45 RPM Single GG20 (C5/D5)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

You’d be hard pressed to find a sweeter, more sumptuous doo wop classic than today’s Grammy Hall Of Fame recording by The Flamingos, a group that Billboard called “one of the finest and most influential vocal groups in pop music history.”

Cousins Jake and Ezekial Carey grew up in Baltimore hailing from the same neighborhood as Sonny Til of The Orioles. They relocated to Chicago where they formed The Flamingos in 1953. After numerous personnel changes and stints recording for record labels like Chance, Parrot, Checker (a Chess subsidiary where they scored their first big hit “I’ll Be Home”) and Decca, they signed to George Goldner’s End Records in 1958.

At the time, the group consisted of Nate Nelson, Jake Carey, Paul Wilson, Tommy Hunt and Terry “Buzzy” Johnson.  Goldner’s modus operandi was to steer the group away from recording original material in favor of recording standards, which is how they came to record today’s dreamy jukebox classic “I Only Have Eyes For You.”

The song was written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin for the 1934 film Dames. It became a hit by Ben Selvin reaching the #2 position on the charts in 1934 and The Flamingos recorded it in 1958 sending it up to the #11 position on the pop charts and #5 R&B in 1959. The recording comes from a long line of records whose production enhancements (like the reverb on the background vocals) are equally as important as the performance, in creating a perfectly plush celestial atmosphere.

The song was from The Flamingos’ 1959 album Flamingo Serenade that also featured their one-of-a-kind takes on such standards as “As Time Goes By,” “Where Or When,” “I’m In the Mood For Love,” “But Not For Me,” “Love Walked In” (the flip of today’s single), “Begin the Beguine,” “Music, Maestro, Please!,” “Time Was” and “Goodnight Sweetheart.”  While “I Only Have Eyes For You” was by far their biggest hit, their other hits included “Mio Amore,” the Doc Pomus song “Your Other Love,” “Nobody Loves Me Like You” (written by Sam Cooke) and “I Was Such A Fool.”

There have been literally hundreds of cover versions of today’s song by the likes of Eddy Duchin, Al Jolson, Billie Holiday, June Christy, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Dinah Shore, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Lester Bowie, Carmen McRae, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, The Temptations, The Lettermen, Jerry Butler, Toni Tennille, Bette Midler, Kenny Rogers, Art Garfunkel, George Benson, Mark Eitzel, Carly Simon and Rod Stewart, but The Flamingos’ version reigns supreme. The group’s opulent harmonies had a profound influence on the Motown and Philadelphia soul sound, and their stage choreography was a major influence on The Temptations and numerous other doo wop and soul groups.

By 1960, Hunt left for a solo career on Scepter Records and Nate and Terry split to form The Modern Flamingos in 1961 who recorded an album for Atco Records who forced them to change their name to The Starglows. The Flamingos were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001 and Tommy Hunt, Terry Johnson and Johnny Carter performed together at the ceremony. Terry Johnson owns The Flamingos name and still tours today, recently releasing The Diamond Anniversary Tour CD in 2013 featuring the current lineup of Terry Johnson, Starling Newsome, Stan Prinston and Theresa Trigg.

Edited: December 9th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 8/17/13 – “At The Hop” from “Woodstock” by Sha Na Na

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They were the penultimate act at the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair, coming on right before Jimi Hendrix 44 years ago today.

Sha Na Na was a 1950s revival group that hailed from Columbia University in New York City. By a stroke of luck, they were booked to perform at the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair in Bethel, New York in August of 1969 by festival producer Michael Lang who saw them perform in a small club.

They were on site for the whole weekend waiting for their turn to appear, but it wasn’t until Monday morning after most people already left the grounds that they took the stage.

It was by a stroke of luck that their blazing performance of “At The Hop” was included in the Woodstock film bringing them national attention. While their music was totally out of step with the times, they managed to cause a sensation with their greased back hair, gold lame suits and in-synch dance routines.

Several years ago, a six CD set was released that included two more songs from their morning set. I would still like to see, and yes hear, their entire set from Woodstock. Hopefully, someday the powers that be will release all of the music and footage captured that weekend. Perhaps they’re saving it all for the 50th Anniversary in 2019.

The group went on to record numerous albums for Buddah Records, host their own variety show on TV from 1977 through 1981, and appear in the film version of the musical Grease. Henry Gross, an original member of the group went on to score the huge ‘70s top ten hit “Shannon.”

The group continues to tour today with several original members amongst its ranks.

Edited: August 17th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 7/27/13

45 adapterpersuasionsSong Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Lumpy Gravy” by The Persuasions

From Gospel to The Grateful Dead, The Persuasions are an a capella group whose musical tastes know no boundaries.

The group’s five original members, Jerry Lawson, Jesse “Sweet Joe” Russell, Jayotis Washington, Herbert “Toubo” Rhoad, and bass vocalist Jimmy “Bro” Hayes began singing on the street corners of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn during the early 1960s. Jerry Lawson was their arranger, lead singer and producer for most of their career until his departure in 2003.

Their big break came in 1968, when Stan Krause, who owned Stan’s Square Record Store in New Jersey, played a concert recording of theirs over the telephone to his friend, Frank Zappa. Zappa, being a doo wop aficionado, was intrigued enough to fly them out to LA where he produced their 1969 debut album A Capella for his Bizarre/Straight record label.

Over the years, the group recorded 26 albums for numerous labels including Zappa’s Bizarre/Straight, Capitol, MCA, A&M, Elektra, Flying Fish, Rounder, Earthbeat, Chesky and Grateful Dead Records. Their background vocals grace albums by artists as far flung as Joni Mitchell, The Grateful Dead, Stevie Wonder, Don McLean, Phoebe Snow, Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli and a whole host of others.

By way of thanks for producing their debut record, The Persuasions recorded the album Frankly A Capella in 2000. On the album, Zappa classics from early and late in his career get the Persuasions treatment including a capella versions of “Electric Aunt Jemimah,” “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing,” “Cheap Thrills,” “Love Of My Life,” “You Are What You Is,” “Hotplate Heaven At The Green Hotel,” and “Anyway The Wind Blows.” The album also includes cameos by Zappa sidemen Bruce Fowler, Bobby Martin and Mike Keneally. Today’s Song Of The Day is a cover of “Lumpy Gravy” which originally appeared as the title track for Frank Zappa’s 1968 album Lumpy Gravy.

The group followed their Zappa tribute album with one for The Grateful Dead called Might As Well: The Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead where they took on the Dead classics “Bertha,” “Here Comes Sunshine,” “Must Have Been The Roses,” “Ship Of Fools,” “Greatest Story Ever Told” and several others.

They’ve also recorded tribute albums to The Beatles featuring versions of “Eight Days A Week,” “Love Me Do,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Come Together,” and U2 including “Even Better Than The Real Thing,” “One,” “Angel Of Harlem,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Pride (In The Name Of Love).”

The group’s baritone, Herbert “Toubo” Rhoad died in 1988 while on tour, and Jerry Lawson left their ranks in 2004; however the band still continues to perform today. The Persuasions were a huge influence on the modern vocal groups, Take 6, The Nylons and Boyz II Men, and if ever a group deserves to be in heavily flawed Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame, it’s The Persuasions.

Edited: July 27th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/16/13

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Daddy’s Home” by Shep & The Limelites

Shep & The Limelites consisted of James “Shep” Sheppard, Clarence Bassett and Charles Bakersfield. They formed in Queens, New York in 1960 and are primarily remembered for their signature hit “Daddy’s Home.”

Sheppard was originally a member of a group called The Heartbeats that signed with the Hull record label in the late 1950s. The group scored several minor hits on Hull including “Your Way,” Baby Don’t Go” and “A Thousand Miles Away.” It was while a member of The Heartbeats that Sheppard co-wrote and recorded an early version of today’s Song Of The Day as their last single on Hull.

The Heartbeats met the demise of so many groups of the day and called it quits in 1959 after being ripped off by managers and not paid for their shows by promoters.

Two years later, Sheppard formed The Limelites with Bassett and Bakersfield and were once again signed by Hull Records. Their first single as The Limelites was “Daddy’s Home,” which soared all the way to the number two position on the charts in 1961 and was covered by the likes of PJ Proby, Jermaine Jackson, Toots & The Maytals and Cliff Richard. The group scored several other hits including “What Did Daddy Do,” “Ready For Your Love” and “Our Anniversary.”

The group continued until 1966 before breaking up. Sheppard was found shot to death in his car on the Long Island Expressway in January of 1970. He had just reformed The Limelites and was beginning to tour the rock and roll revival circuit.

Edited: June 16th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/2/13

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat

We’ve all heard about the British Invasion in rock music that took place in the early 1960s, but what about the late ‘60s French Invasion?

Never heard of it? That’s because it consisted of only one record by one artist. OK, technically you could argue that Petula Clark was also part of the French Invasion, but her single “Downtown” is widely recognized as part of the British Invasion. But let’s not split hairs over facts…

The French Invasion took place in 1968 with an instrumental record called “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat, which is the only number-one hit by a French artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 in America.

But “Love Is Blue” was not Mauriat’s first American success. In the early 1960s, he co-wrote a hit song under the pseudonym Del Roma called “Chariot,” which became a big hit for Petula Clark. The record was successful all over the world, except in America. In America, the song was given English lyrics by Arthur Altman and Norman Gimbel and became “I Will Follow Him,” a 1963 number one single by Little Peggy March.

During the 1950s, Paul Mauriat was the music director for French singers Charles Aznavour and Maurice Chevalier and toured the world with both of them.  In 1965, Mauriat established Le Grand Orchestre de Paul Mauriat and began to release what would add up to hundreds of recording for the Philips record label over the next 28 years. He also arranged 130 recordings for Aznavour between 1967 and 1972.

“L’amour est bleu (Love is Blue)” was written by French composer, André Popp and was originally sung by Greek singer Vicky (aka Vicky Leandros) where it won fourth place in the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg in 1967.

Mauriat’s recording of the song featured a sweeping orchestral arrangement combining harpsichord with a hint of rock guitars and drums thrown in for good measure. The song was released on the album Blooming Hits in 1967 which topped the charts for five weeks, knocking The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour out of the top slot. The album cover featured an attractive naked lady with a butterfly tattoo on her face. But let’s face it; nobody was really looking at that butterfly anyway…

The album was typical easy listening fare for the late ‘60s, featuring covers of current rock hits like The Beatles’ “Penny Lane,” Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid,” Sandie Shaw’s “Puppet On A String,” Petula Clark’s “This Is My Song,” Sonny Bono’s “Mama” and Herman’s Hermits “(There’s A) Kind Of Hush.”

Mauriat would only reach the singles charts two more times after “Love Is Blue,” with his recordings of “Love In Every Room” and the title theme from the movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

Mauriat died on November 3, 2006 at the age of 81.

Edited: May 1st, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/15/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Think” by The 5 Royales

If ever a group deserved to be in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame, it should be The 5 Royales. Not only were they a pioneering R’n’B and Doo Wop vocal group, but they had one of the greatest songwriters of the era in Lowman “Pete” Pauling as a member. Pauling wrote most of the Royales’ material and many of their songs went on to be big hits for others. The 5 Royales were formed in North Carolina in the early 1950s and consisted of Lowman “Pete” Pauling, Jimmy Moore, Obadiah Carter, Otto Jeffries and Johnny Tanner. They recorded for King Records and had chart success with songs like “Monkey Hips And Rice,” “Baby Don’t Do It” and “Somebody Help Me.” But it was the songs that were penned by Pauling and recorded by others that really made them legends. The group was responsible for introducing this song that later went on to be a big soul hit for James Brown. They also recorded the original versions of “Dedicated To The One I Love” made famous by both The Shirelles and The Mamas & The Papas, and “Tell The Truth” which was originally recorded by Ray Charles.

Edited: June 14th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/12/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Story Untold” by The Nutmegs

They took their name from Connecticut, “The Nutmeg State,” where they hailed from and cut their teeth on the very same street corners that also produced The Five Satins. Like so many of the Doo Wop groups of the 1950s, The Nutmegs had an ever-changing lineup centered on a lead vocalist, and in their case it was founder Leroy Griffin. After scoring a number two R’n’B hit with this song in 1955, The Crew Cuts rushed out a competing cover version of the song which went up to number 16 and stymied the progress of the original on the charts. The group then got a shot a performing at The Apollo Theater in Harlem where controversy struck when they were accused of doing a suggestive dance on stage and were forced to apologize to DJ Allan Freed before they would gain any more bookings. While this was their biggest hit and soon after the hits began to dry up, in the 1960s a New York City record label called Times Square began releasing a capella Nutmegs demos recorded in the 1950s creating renewed interest in a capella recordings and scoring several more regional hits while igniting a new subgenre of Doo Wop music. This track is another from Rhino’s essential “Doo Wop Box” sets. You can’t help but hear the profound influence this music had on the likes of Frank Zappa, Lou Reed and Paul Simon to name but a few.

Edited: June 11th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/11/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Been So Long” by The Pastels

Over the last few days I rediscovered the first of the three Doo Wop box sets released by Rhino Records between 1993 and 2000. That’s over 300 Doo Wop recordings – most of them classics…some not – spanning 12 CDs. The first box is by far the best because it has all the classics that anybody who is remotely interested in Doo Wop would want in one place. What makes the other two box sets pretty darn near essential are all of the undiscovered gems you’ve never heard before. There is so much great listening between these three box sets. Today’s song of the day was recorded by The Pastels back in 1957. The Pastels consisted of lead DiFosco “Dee” Erwin, first tenor Richard Travis, second tenor Tony Thomas, and baritone Jimmy Willingham. They were all stationed at a U.S. Air Force base in Narsarssuak, Greenland until being transferred to Washington DC in 1957. This, their first and only hit reached the R&B top five in 1958 and number 24 on the Billboard pop charts. They would never reach those heights again, but with an absolutely perfect record like this one…they already left their indelible stamp on the history of Doo Wop music.

Edited: June 10th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/10/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Close Your Eyes” by The Five Keys

They were originally formed as The Sentimental Four out of Hampton News, VA and they consisted of two sets of brothers: Rudy and Bernie West, and Raphael and Ripley Ingram. Their first recordings were for the Aladdin Record label although the line-up changed when Rudy West went into the Army. At this point they added Maryland Pierce and Dickie Smith on vocals and changed their name to The Five Keys. Several line-up changes ensued until Rudy West returned from the army and to the group and they signed to Capitol Records where they had their greatest success. While this 1955 song wasn’t one of their big hits like “Ling Ting Tong” and “Wisdom Of A Fool,” it is still considered one of their best featuring lead vocals by Maryland Pierce with Rudy West on the answer vocals. Controversy struck when Capitol Records released the album “The Five Keys On Stage.” Apparently, some mistook Rudy West’s thumb for a phallus (see the first guy all the way on the left side of the cover) and the cover was recalled and airbrushed. If you look closely on this photo, you can see the offending appendage.

Edited: June 9th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 8/18/11

Song Of The Day – “Close Your Eyes” by The Five Keys

Here’s the original 1955 hit version of a song later brought to the charts in 1967 by Peaches and Herb. The Five Keys hailed from Newport News, Virginia and featured the angelic vocals of Maryland Pierce and Rudy West. They found controversy with the cover of their “On Stage” album where it looked like Rudy West’s (far left) finger was something else…

Edited: August 18th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 1/9/11

Song Of The Day – “Rubber Biscuit” by The Chips

From the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, The Chips truly were one hit wonders releasing this record in 1956 and not releasing another record until 1980. The group consisted of Charles Johnson, Sammy Strain, Shedwick Lincoln, Nathaniel Epps and Paul Fulton. After they broke up, Strain went on to the greatest fame as a member of Little Anthony & The Imperials and The O’Jays. This novelty blast was a regional hit along the East Coast until 1979 when Jake and Elwood Blues (aka The Blues Brothers) covered it and brought it to the upper regions of the charts where it should have been in the first place.

Edited: January 10th, 2011