Just who are these fine young gentlemen you see pictured here? Not your everyday group you hear on "oldies" stations, nor see at most revival shows, right? But for some hard-core record collectors, owning some of their 45s is a gift from heaven!
L to R: Johnny Angelillo (baritone), Joe Patriarca (second tenor), Don Cruz (lead & first tenor), Joe Garcia (lead & first tenor), Jesus "Joe" Carillo (bass)
Above photo was taken just before their performance on Alan Freed's Big Beat show on Channel 5 which also included Chuck Berry, Jackie Wilson, Gino & Gina, and Frankie Avalon.
L to R: Jesus "Joe" Carillo , Don Cruz , Joe Patriarca , Joe Garcia, John Angelillo. Here they are singing for the cadets and servicemen at West Point and enjoying every minute of it !
In 1958 a group of guys who just loved to jam formed a group called the Metros. They recorded at Allegro Sound Studios in New York City for A&R man, Moe Gale. Moe then formed his own agency (Moe Gale Agency) and took the guys to see Ray Ellis (yes, the band leader) at MGM where they auditioned for him. Some acetate demo 78s were done and sent to different publishing agencies. Ray wanted to record them, but only if they changed their name. The group got together and chose the name Crystals (back then, there were no well- known groups with this name, although hard-core followers of early rhythm and blues know there were several earlier groups with this name). They then were signed by Ray for the Metro label (subsidiary of MGM) and recorded.
As the Metros:
All of My Life b/w Lookin' - Just 1502 - 1958
As the Crystals:
That's Where I Belong (Don on lead) b/w Better Come Back To Me (Joe Carillo on bass lead) - Metro 20026 - 1959
I've Got My Reasons b/w Big John Grundy - Metro - 1959 (released only as a dee-jay copy)
I'm Watching You (Joe Garcia on lead) b/w Oh, My You (Don on lead) - Cub 9064 - (recorded 12/30/59; released 2/60)
The Beauty & the Beast - Cub unreleased (master #59-XY-1202; session date unknown)
Another session "assisted" by Frank Beltran (from Youngtones on X-Tra of "Patricia" fame); L to R: Joe Patriarca, Don Cruz, John Angelillo, Frank Beltran, Jesus "Joe" Carillo
Here is the group "showing off" some labels they recorded on! Top row: Jesus "Joe" Carillo (bass), Joe Patriarca (second tenor), Joe Garcia (lead/first tenor), Don Cruz (lead/first tenor), Johnny Angelillo (baritone); Bottom row: Bijan Yakoboff (arranger/piano player), Louis "Chubby" Angelillo (Manager, & brother of Johnny). There was also a co-manager, Louis Carbonetti,( not pictured here) now deceased, whose nephew Charlie Rocco, now sings with Randy & the Rainbows.
The Crystals performed on the Jack Spector show on WPRO-TV in Providence, Rhode Island in 1961 along with Link Wray, Lovelace Watkins, Bob Crewe, and Myrna March. This was the last performance by them until they reunited to perform in November of 1995 for the United In Group Harmony (UGHA) organization in North Bergen, New Jersey. Here they were seen and heard by hundreds of fans to standing ovation!
L to R: Joe Garcia, Don Cruz, Joe Patriarca, Johnny Angelillo, Joe Carillo
But don't go away, folks -- that's not the end!
Don Cruz just loves to sing and is not "himself", unless he's in a performing group! Here we have the Original Street Blues Band which was formed in 1987. L to R: Don Cruz, Al Grant (sang with the Cordovans on "Come on Baby" on Johnson in 1958), Dino Padilla, Harry Ortiz, and Jerry Long. (Along the way Herman Velez (Eternals), Tony Castro, Jay Ernst, and Frank Aponte also shared time with Street Blues.) This group stayed together for about 3 years. The members of Street Blues are all retired New York City Police Officers.
Again, Don doesn't quit! Here with currently performing group, the Vocaleers for UGHA in 1999; L to R: Leo "Tiny" Fuller (also sang with the Jay-Dee Sparrows group), Frank Morrow, Don Cruz, and Joe Duncan (original lead).
Special thanks to Don Cruz of all the above groups, who provided most of the group photos and information ! Thanks Don for helping to keep this great music alive!
Additional thanx to Stefan Wriedt, Mitch Rosalsky, Marv Goldberg, & Arlene Foote Patterson for their help providing additional information.
Copyright Nikki Gustafson & Jim Dunn, January 2000 - 2009
Click here to return to Main Menu.