R&B Vocal Groups page - 3
By 1961, male vocal groups were no longer as prominent on the pop/rock & roll charts. But the Marcels, out of Pittsburgh certainly had the charts rocking with their 1st recording on Colpix, "Blue Moon". With an over the top bass intro by Fred Johnson, "Blue Moon" is still one of the most widely recognized vocal group "oldies". The rest of the original Marcels included Cornelius Harp (lead), Gene Bricker (2nd tenor), Ron "Bingo" Mundy (1st tenor), and Richard Knauss (baritone). The group continued on Colpix with more standards given their special treatment such as "Summertime", Heartaches", "You Are My Sunshine" and "That Old Black Magic". In 1997, the group is still performing and sounding great with three original members.
The Four Knights
One of the pioneer vocal groups, the Four Knights were considered to be both a refined Gospel group as well as a pop-blues group. The group started in North Carolina as the Southland Jubilee Singers and consisted of Gene Alford (lead), John Wallace ( 2nd tenor & guitar), Oscar Broadway (bass), and Clarence Dixon (baritone). Their first recording "Just In Case You Change Your Mind" was for Decca in 1946. They later recorded for both Capitol & Coral, their biggest hit being "I Get So Lonely" recorded for Capitol in 1953, and which charted for 24 weeks in 1954.. The Knights also provided fine backup for Nat King Cole on several recordings such as "My Personal Possession" on Capitol in 1957.
Out of Brooklyn NY, the Impalas were one of the first mixed groups. The original group had Joe "Speedo" Frazier on lead, Lenny Renda (2nd tenor), Richard Wagner (baritone), and Tony Carlucci ( 1st tenor). They are best remembered for their 1959 hit on Cub "Sorry, I Ran All The Way Home". The group had other records in the fifties & sixties and made a fine recording of "My Hero" in 1982 on the U.G.H.A. label. The Impalas, led by "Speedo", but with different backup personnel, still perform today.
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