The Hollywood Flames
Long-lasting Los Angeles doo-wop aggregation with a very fluid personnel
roster. Bobby Day was one of the group's founders in 1950, and they recorded prolifically
for Hollywood, Specialty, Lucky, Swingtime, Money, and other firms before cutting their
one major hit, the rocking "Buzz
Buzz Buzz," in 1957 for Ebb Records. Earl Nelson, who was later half of Bob And Earl,
sang lead on the tune, and some of their subsequent Ebb 45s were rocking novelties. Day
went on to solo success with "Rockin' Robin," and the group managed one more
chart item, "Gee," for Chess in 1961 with Donald Height as lead. ~ Bill Dahl,
Lennie McKay - lead
Adam Jackson - first tenor
Jimmy Smith - second tenor
Melvin Lewis - baritone
Donald Lewis - bass
The archetypal New York street-corner group, with soaring falsetto and
stirring harmonies. With Adam Jackson And Lenny McKay sharing lead duties, The Jesters
recorded several classics of the doo-wop genre for Winley in 1957 and 1958, including
"So Strange" and "The Plea." Jackson recast the group in 1960 for
their last Winley releases, including an accurate remake of The Diablos tune "The
Wind." ~ Bill Dahl, All-Music Guide
This doo wop group had a number one R&B (#3) pop hit 1961 with "My True Story," featuring the lead vocal og its writer, Eugene Pitt.
Eugene Pitt - lead
Jerome Hanna - first tenor - replaced by Webster Harris
Billy Prophet - second tenor - replaced by Casey Spencer
Richard Harris - baritone
Norman Johnson - bass
Best known for the number one R&B hit "My True Story," the
Jive Five were one of the few vocal groups to survive the transistion from the '50s to the
'60s. In the process, they helped move the music itself forward, providing a key link
between doo wop and '60s soul.
Formed in Brooklyn, New York, the group originally consisted of Eugene Pitt (lead), Jerome Hanna (tenor), Richard Harris (tenor), Billy Prophet (baritone), and Norman Johnson (bass). The Jive Five's first hit, "My True Story," was their biggest, peaking at number one on the R&B charts and number three on pop charts in the summer of 1961. None of the band's subsequent singles -- including the minor R&B hit, 1962's "These Golden Rings" -- were as popular, but the group managed to keep performing and recording. Under the direction of Eugene Pitt and Norman Johnson, the Jive Five refashoined themselves as a soul band in 1964, forming a new lineup swith Casey Spencer (tenor), Webster Harris (tenor), and Beatrice Best (baritone). This new incarnation of the band signed to United Artists Records. The group only had one hit on UA, 1965's "I'm A Happy Man."
In 1966, the Jive Five left United Artists and signed with Musicor, where they had the 1968 R&B hit "Sugar (Don't Take Away My Candy)." They changed labels again in 1970, signing with Decca. That same year, they changed their name to the Jive Fyve, in order to appear more contemporary. The Jyve Fyve had only one minor R&B hit, 1970's "I Want You To Be My Baby."
The group continued to perform and record for a variety of small labels during the '70s, but they never had another hit. Throughout the '70s and '80s, the only constant member was Eugene Pitt. In 1975, Pitt changed the name of the group to Ebony, Ivory, and the Jades, but this new incarnation failed to gain much attention. In 1982, Pitt changed the name of the group back to the Jive Five and the band recorded two albums for the indie label, Ambient Sound. For the rest of the '80s and the '90s, the Jive Five were regulars on the oldies circuit. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All-Music Guide