1950 and 1960s MUSIC GROUPS (E’s & F’s)
This post identifies the greatest singers and groups of all-time from the 1950s and 1960s (last names starting with E and F). The artists and groups represented here are: King Edward (& His BD’s), Lee Elgard, The Essex, The Everly Brothers, The Fascinators, Eddie Fisher, Pink Floyd, The Four Aces, The Four Seasons, The Four Tops and Aretha Franklin…
Amazing! Request are coming in from the UK for this 45 record “Workin For My Baby” performed by the original King Edward & His BD’s, circa mid to late 1960’s. There has been a long time craze for Northern Soul in the UK. Thanks for keeping this great music and KEBD’s alive in the UK. Another favorite of theirs is: “MTYLTT” (https://youtu.be/MExdeuVZ3v4) (RQ 8).
Lee Elgart was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Elgart grew up in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey with his brother Larry. Both brothers attended Pompton Lakes High School.
He began playing trumpet as a teenager and was playing professionally by the age of twenty. During the 1940s he was a member of bands led by Raymond Scott, Charlie Spivak, and Harry James, occasionally finding himself alongside his brother Larry. They formed the Les & Larry Elgart Ensemble in 1945, hiring Nelson Riddle, Ralph Flanagan, and Bill Fineganto write arrangements. The union was short-lived, however, due to the Musician’s Union strike and the waning of swing jazz’s popularity. The ensemble broke up in 1948.
In 1952, the brothers reunited and released albums on Columbia Records, many to considerable sales success. Among their popular tunes was “Bandstand Boogie” (https://youtu.be/JSfxrJWyWBQ) (RQ 10), which was used by Dick Clark as the theme song for the television dance show American Bandstand. By the end of the decade, Elgart quit performing, preferring to handle the business aspects of the band.
The brothers reunited again in 1963, hiring arrangers Charles Albertine and Bobby Scottfor music that could be categorized as easy listening.
The Essex was an American R&B vocal groupformed in 1962. They are best known for their 1963 song “Easier Said Than Done” (https://youtu.be/TT3ivugR2eY) (RQ 10). Founding members Walter Vickers (guitar) and Rodney Taylor (drums) were members of the United States Marine Corps stationed in Okinawa, Japan. After being transferred to Camp LeJeune in North Carolina, they enlisted fellow Marines Billy Hill (aka Billy Proctor) and Rudolph Johnson as group members. Next they added a female lead singer, Anita Humes, another Marine. The band was signed to a recording contract in 1963 after submitting a demo to Roulette Records. “Easier Said Than Done” was writtenby Larry Huff and William Linton. Released as the B side of their first single, the song reached the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. The track sold over one million records and received a gold disc award from the R.I.A.A. “Easier Said Than Done” charted at No. 41 in the UK Singles Chart in August 1963. Rudolph Johnson left the group, and the Essex became a quartet. Three months after “Easier Said Than Done” reached No. 1 in July 1963, the group had a No. 12 hit with the follow-up song, “A Walkin’ Miracle” (https://youtu.be/CfPm6e1FJSg) (RQ 9) in September 1963. On the label of this single, the group name appeared as ‘The Essex Featuring Anita Humes.’ “She’s Got Everything”, their next single, written by Jimmy Radcliffe and Oramay Diamond, was a No. 56 hit. Being Marines made it hard for the group to take advantage of their hits; for example, before long, Johnson was posted to Okinawa. Rodney Taylor was killed in 1966 in New York City during an attempted mugging. He was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Gary, Indiana. All of his former bandmates attended his funeral. Humes released several solo singles for Roulette, but had no chart success. She died on May 30, 2010, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, aged 69. In the 1970s, Hill headed up a group called The Courtship.
Everly Brothers (1951-2005)
Don (1937-) and Phil (1939-2014) were best known for their use of steel string acoustic guitars and close harmony singing. Their first No1 hit was “Bye-Bye Love” (https://youtu.be/LRyrWN-fftE) (RQ 10) in 1957. In 1958, two other songs were made famous: “Wake Up Little Suzie (https://youtu.be/LojqhHnmyvc) (RQ 8) and All I Have to Do is Dream” (https://youtu.be/tbU3zdAgiX8) (RQ 7). The brothers enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1961 and their song output dropped off. Inducted into the Rock and Roll HOF in 1986. Then, in 2001, they became a part of the Country Music HOF.
The original members of the Fascinators came together, as did many of the vocal groups of the ’50s, while singing harmonies on the street-corners of their hometown, in this case, the Ridgewood-Bedford Stuyvessant section of Brooklyn. An example of their work: “Oh Rosemarie (https://youtu.be/QgM4Uh0XCrY) (RQ 10).
The group — Tony Passalaqua, lead, Angelo La Grecca, baritone, Nick Trivatto, tenor, Ed Wheeler, tenor, and George Cernacek, bass (though he was just a tenor and occasionally had to smoke cigars before appearances or record sessions in order to deepen his voice!) — ultimately received offers from several record labels, but it was their manager, Jim Fererri, who directed them to Capitol Records. Unfortunately for the group, Capitol wanted to sign Passalaqua as a single artist, but he insisted that he would not go forward without the group. Manny Kellem, director of A&R, proceeded to set a session up with musicians Big Al Sears and King Curtis on sax, Panama Francis (from the Count Basie band) on drums, and the arranger was Sid Bass. Capitol issued three singles before dropping the group, who became so completely disillusioned by the entire process that they disbanded and, with the exception of Passalaqua, were never to record again.
Passalaqua later changed his name to Tony Richards and joined a group called the Twilights. Somewhere along the way, he met Kay Twomey, a songwriter who wanted to manage his career as a solo artist; she brought him to Irwin Schuster at a major music publishing company that would later be purchased by singer Bobby Darin. He recorded as Tony Richards and the Twilights for Colpix, who issued another single by Richards as a solo artist (“Shout My Name” was the second Jeff Barry-penned song ever recorded).
Richards continued working with Barry before leaving Colpix to record for Canadian American, becoming Tony Mitchell for the new imprint. He recorded Barry’s “A Million Drums” with backing from the Angels (one month prior to the release “My Boyfriend’s Back”), which became the ABC Pick Hit of the Week; it was later covered by Jimmy Clanton. (Mitchell’s version was a hit in South America and Brussels). In 1967, Mitchell connected again with Barry — who by now was working with songwriter Ellie Greenwich and producers Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller — and recorded an album for Atco, which was not successful. He also sang with a group called the Dedications, whose own lead singer would often forget to show up for appearances — Tony was their on call lead, just in case. This group eventually ended up working out pretty well and they decided to add Mitchell permanently. They began calling themselves the Soul Survivors. Mitchell left the group six months before they were to hit with “Expressway to Your Heart.”
Several years of background singing sessions followed. He contacted Barry once again, who had a then-current hit with a “group” he was working with, the Archies. There wasn’t a job for him with the group and ultimately he changed his name back to Anthony Passalaqua. He began a short-lived career in racing Double A Fuel dragsters. Passalaqua was later invited to join the Archies to anchor their sound and went on to again record Greenwich (who had split with partner/husband Barry and gone independent), but the single failed and ultimately he hung up his microphone, having come quite a long way since those days on the street-corners of Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn.
Edwin Jack Fisher (August 10, 1928 – September 22, 2010) was an American singer and actor. He was one of the most popular artists during the first half of the 1950s, selling millions of records and hosting his own TV show. Married three of the most famous women ever! Fisher divorced his first wife, actress Debbie Reynolds, to marry Reynolds’ best friend, actress Elizabeth Taylor, after Taylor’s husband, film producer Mike Todd, was killed in a plane crash. The scandalous affair was widely reported, bringing unfavorable publicity to Fisher. He later married Connie Stevens. Fisher fathered Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher with Reynolds, and Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher with Stevens. Fisher’s good looks and strong and melodious tenor voice made him a teen idol and one of the most popular singers of the early 1950s. He had 17 songs in the Top 10 on the music charts between 1950 and 1956 and 35 in the Top 40. In 1957 he signed a then record $1 million deal with the newly opened Tropicana Las Vegas to appear there a minimum of 4 weeks a year for 5 years. A couple of his greatest recordings were: “I Need You Now” (https://youtu.be/BdAcH8QQZJ4) (RQ 10) and “Oh! My Papa” (https://youtu.be/qPyVO3xtdBk) (RQ 8).
Floyd, Pink. (1965- )
An English rock band from London. Best known for their psychedelic style with sonic experimentation and philosophical lyrics. Founded by students Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard White. David Gilmour, a guitar virtuoso, joined the group in 1967. Their successful debut album was called “Their Piper at Gates of Dawn.” They produced another eight albums. They had two top single hits: “See Emily Play” (https://youtu.be/7c0EDM-Yu9o) (RQ 7) and “Another Brick in the Wall” (https://youtu.be/YR5ApYxkU-U) (RQ 10). They were inducted in the U.S. Rock and Roll HOF in 1996 and the UK Music HOF in 2005. All told, they sold more than 250M records worldwide.
The Four Aces are an American male traditional pop music quartet, popular since the 1950s. Over the last half-century, the group amassed many gold records. Its million-selling signature tunes include “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing” (https://youtu.be/GnDtxiNwDS8) (RQ 7), “Three Coins in the Fountain”, “Stranger in Paradise”, “Tell Me Why”, and “(It’s No) Sin”. Other big sellers included “Shangri-La”, “Perfidia”, and “Sincerely”. The original members, responsible for every song made popular by the group, included Al Alberts, Dave Mahoney, Lou Silvestri, and Rosario “Sod” Vaccaro.
Four Seasons, The (Frankie Valli) (1960- )
The original group consisted of Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DiVito and Nick Massi. One of two American bands (the other was the Beach Boys) at the time enjoying success before the “British Invasion.” Sold in excess of 100M records worldwide. Inducted into the American Rock and Roll HOF in 1990. In 1959, they had their first big hit: “Short Shorts” (https://youtu.be/xh1FvPAP6Kk) (RQ 6). In 1962 they recorded five No1 hits:
”Sherry” (https://youtu.be/jMcWldfg28s) (RQ 10)
“Big Girls Don’t Cry” (https://youtu.be/zRZpaxBMJRU) (RQ 10)
“Walk Like A Man” (https://youtu.be/GzoIvwNqKpw) (RQ 9)
“Candy Girl” (https://youtu.be/GXxb3GigjxQ) (RQ 7)
“Ain’t That a Shame.” (https://youtu.be/_hqVoQRqd9o) (RQ 5)
Between 1965-67 the group produced another twenty top hit singles. For the most part, the early 1970s was a down period, however, in 1975, record sales exploded. They recorded two highly successful singles: “My Eyes Adored You” (https://youtu.be/vYtpKBNTCB8) (RQ 10) and “Who Loves You” (https://youtu.be/-KtYgOM62fk) (RQ 7). Their last No1 hit was in 1978 called “Grease” (https://youtu.be/azTWmY02Wks) (RQ 7). There has been a recent (2007) revival of their music thru the popular Broadway show called the “Jersey Boys.”
Four Tops, The. (1953- )
Members include Levi Stubbs, Duke Fakir, Obie Benson and Lawrence Payton (from Detroit). They established what was called the Motown Sound. Stubs was a baritone (vs tenor) lead singer. Their first big hit came in 1964: “Baby I Need Your Loving (https://youtu.be/KUOntQocGWk) (RQ 8), followed up with “Ask the Lonely”, a Top 30 hit. In 1965-66 they had two major hits: “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” (https://youtu.be/s3bksUSPB4c) (RQ 8) and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” (https://youtu.be/2EaflX0MWRo) (RQ 10). Reach Out reached No1 and was seen as one of the best Motown songs ever. “Bernedette” (https://youtu.be/Y9l4MGwpQS0) (RQ 8) completed their late 60s Top 10 run. In 1973 they had another million dollar seller: “Ain’t No Woman” (https://youtu.be/rK3CGdyJBrI) (RQ 10). They had one more top seller in the 1970s: “Its All in a Game” (https://youtu.be/Lut59guisxk) (RQ 5). Theo Peoples replaced Payton after his death in 1997. In Dec of 1988, they overslept due to a prolonged recording session in London, therefore missing Pan Am Flight 103, which was bombed by a terrorist and crashed in Lokerbie, Scottland.
Franklin, Aretha. (1942-2018)
She began her career singing gospel music at the New Bethel Gospel Church in Detroit. By the mid to late 1960s, she recorded six major songs:
“Respect” (https://youtu.be/6FOUqQt3Kg0) (RQ 9)
“Chain of Fools” (https://youtu.be/o0s5CP2kXsc) (RQ 9)
“Think” (https://youtu.be/hsL9UL9qbv8) (RQ 10)
“You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” (https://youtu.be/va3sgHayM7k) (RQ 10)
“I Never Loved a Man” (https://youtu.be/waS0rKeuzg8) (RQ 7)
“Say a Little Prayer” (https://youtu.be/-8y0onSG3kg) (RQ 10)
She became known as The Queen of Soul. She recorded five more albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Overall, she recorded 112 charted singles, 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top 10 singles, and 20 No1 R&B singles. She also won 18 Grammy Awards and sold more than 75M records worldwide.