The Marcels
marcels.jpg (20332 bytes)

Members:
    Cornelius - lead
    Ronald Mundy - first tenor
    Gene Bricker - second tenor
    Dick Knauss - baritone
    Fred Johnson - bass

This Pittsburgh ensemble deserved a much better fate than being known primarily for a novelty-tinged cover of "Blue Moon." Baritone vocalist Richard F. Knauss teamed with Fred Johnson, Gene J. Bricker, Ron Mundy, and lead vocalist Cornelius Harp, an integrated ensemble. They named themselves after Johnson's hairstyle, the marcel. The group did a string of covers as demo tapes that were sent to Colpix. The label's A&R director had them cut several oldies at RCA's New York studios in 1961, one of them being "Blue Moon." They used the bass intro arrangement from The Cadillacs' "Zoom" and the results were a huge hit. It eventually topped both the pop and R&B charts, and also was an international smash. The group eventually appeared in the film "Twist Around the Clock" with Dion and Chubby Checker. They eventually recorded an 18-cut LP for Colpix. Alan Johnson and Walt Maddox later replaced Knauss And Gene Bricker, making them an all-Black unit. The group did score another Top Ten pop single with "Heartaches," another cover of a pre-rock single. This peaked at number seven pop and number 19 R&B in 1961. They continued recording on Kyra, Queen Bee, St. Clair Rocky, and Monogram with varying lineups, but never again equaled their past success. ~ Ron Wynn, All-Music Guide

The Marcels Offical Web Site

Vernon Green and the Medallions
medallions.jpg (23458 bytes)

Members:
    Vernon Green - lead
    Randolph Bryant
    Willie Graham
    Ira Foley

The Medallions, a Los Angeles doo wop quartet with a predilection toward songs about speedy cars, formed in 1953. Their first single, "The Letter"/"Buick '59," on The Dootsie Williams Dootone label, was a regional hit, coupling a dreamy ballad with a joyriding rocker complete with automotive sound effects by the group. (Encores in the same vein included "Speedin'," "Pushbutton Automobile," and "Coupe DeVille Baby;" there was even a "'59 Volvo"!). Williams's renamed Dooto label handed Green an opportunity to sing soul in 1973, and he recently reemerged with some doo wop offerings on the Classic Artists imprint. ~ Bill Dahl,All-Music Guide


The Mello-Kings
mellokings.jpg (168533 bytes)
L to R: Bob Scholl, Larry Esposito, Neil Arama, Eddie Quinn, Jerry Scholl
Bottom center: Dick Levister

Members:
    Bob Scholl - lead
    Jerry Scholl - first tenor
    Edddie Quinn - second tenor
    Neil Arama - baritone
    Larry Esposito - bass
    Dick Levister - arranger   

Although White, the Mello-Kings from New York had no trouble sounding like an R&B group on their only national hit for Herald Records in 1957, "Tonite, Tonite." Bob Scholl took lead honors on the ballad, written by Billy Myles. Although they recorded for Herald into 1961, The Mello-Kings never repeated their initial success. ~ Bill Dahl

The Monotones
monotones.jpg (22794 bytes)
Top row: Warren Davis, John Smith, John Ryanes
Bottom row: Warren Ryanes, Charles Patrick. George Malone

Members:
   Charles Patrick - lead
   Warren Davis - first tenor
   George Malone - second tenor
    Warren Ryanes - baritone
    John Smith - bass
    John Ryanes - bass

This Newark vocal group had one huge hit with "The Book of Love" in 1958 for Argo. Lead vocalist Charles Patrick teamed with Warren Davis, George Malone, Warren Ryanes, John Smith, and John Ryanes. They continued recording for Mascot, Argo, and Hull through the early '60s, but never had any more success. Another edition of the group recorded one single for Hickory in 1964. ~ Ron Wynn, All-Music Guide

The Moonglows

moonglows.jpg (211760 bytes)
(l-r)  Prentiss Barnes,  Bobby Lester, Alexander "Pete" Graves, Harvey Fuqua
Bottom: Guitarist Billy Johnson)

Members:
    Harvey Fuqua - lead
    Bobby Lester - first tenor
    Peter Graves - second tenor
    Prentis Barnes - bass
    Billy Johnson - guitar

Among the most seminal R&B and doo wop groups of all time, The Moonglows' lineup featured some of the genre's greatest pure singers. Theoriginal lineup from Louisville included Bobby Lester, Harvey Fuqua, Alexander Graves, and Prentiss Barnes, with guitarist Billy Johnson. They were originally called The Crazy Sounds, but were renamed by disc jockey Alan Freed as The Moonglows. The group also cut some recordings as The Moonlighters. Their first major hit was the number one R&B gem "Sincerely" for Chess in 1954, which reached number 20 on the pop charts. They enjoyed five more Top Ten R&B hits on Chess from 1955 to 1958, among them "Most of All," "We Go Together," "See Saw," and "Please Send Me Someone to Love," as well as "Ten Commandments of Love." Fuqua, the nephew of Charlie Fuqua of The Ink Spots, left in 1958. He recorded "Ten Commandments of Love" as Harvey & the Moonglows with Marvin Gaye, Reese Palmner, James Knowland, and Chester Simmons before founding his own label, Tri-Phi. Fuqua created and produced The Spinners in 1961 and wrote and produced for Motown until the early '70s. The Moonglows disbanded in the '60s, then reunited in 1972 with Fuqua, Lester, Graves, Doc Williams, and Chuck Lewis. They recorded for RCA and a reworked version of "Sincerely" eventually charted, but wasn't a major hit. ~ Ron Wynn, All-Music Guide

The Moonglows were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000

The Nutmegs
nutmegs.jpg (5740 bytes)
James Griffen, James Tyson, Leroy Griffin, Leroy MacNeil and Billy Emery

Members:
   Leroy Griffin - lead
   James "Sonny" Griffin - first tenor
    James "Coco" Tyson - second tenor
    Billy Emery - Baritone - replaced by Sonny Washburn
    Leroy MacNeil - bass

The floating lead tenor of Leroy Griffin distinguished The Nutmegs's 1955 R&B smash "Story Untold," an East Coast doo-wop classic. Hailing from New Haven, CT, the quintet signed with Herald Records and debuted with "Story Untold." Another smooth ballad issued later that year, "Ship of Love," also scaled the R&B charts. The Nutmegs made several more solid singles for Herald but without recapturing their initial success. ~ Bill Dahl, All-Music Guide

The Paragons
paragons.jpg (30839 bytes)


A New York quintet with Julius McMichael's distinctive high tenor up front, The Paragons were in the forefront of New York street-corner harmony in 1957. Their Winley label debut "Florence"/"Hey Little School Girl" paired a tender ballad with a torrid jump, and several Winley followups also racked up solid regional sales. ~ Bill Dahl, All-Music Guide

The Rivingtons
rivingtons.jpg (24603 bytes)
Clockwise from left
Carl White, Rocky Wilson Jr., Al Frazier, Sonny Harris

The Rivingtons were a Southern California vocal quarter of the early 60s that hit big with two novelty records.

Members:
    Carl White - lead
    Sonny Harris
    Al  Frazier

The Rivingtons were a West Coast vocal group featuring Al Frazier, Carl White, John "Sonny" Harris, and Turner "Rocky" Wilson Jr. Though they are best known for their string of early-'60s novelties, The Rivingtons in reality had a rich tradition of doo-wop in their background, going back to their original recordings for Federal as The Lamplighters in 1953. They did extensive backup group work throughout the '50s between their own stray releases under a number of different names; The Sharps (singing on the original "Little Bitty Pretty One" and "Over and Over" by Thurston Harris), the Tenderfoots, The Rebels (they do all the backups on the Duane Eddy hits), The Four After Fives, The Crenshaws. They even sang backup on Paul Anka's first record, credited as the Jacks! In 1962 they became The Rivingtons and hit pay dirt with their first record, the self-penned "Pa Pa Ooh Mow Mow," one of the truly great rock & roll songs to make a virtue of sheer gibberish. They hit the charts again a year later with "The Bird's the Word," capitalizing on a current West Coast dance fad that teenagers were doing to "Pa Pa Ooh Mow Mow." A landlocked surf-teen combo from Minnesota called The Trashmen combined the two songs, revved up the beat to warp factor nine, and scored a massive hit with "Surfin' Bird." Despite no further chart success, their place in rock & roll history (both for the classic performances they recorded and for being the inspiration behind one of the great noise-rock anthems of all time) is assured. ~ Cub Koda, All-Music Guide

next.gif (2902 bytes)