The members of The Vogues had been friends since childhood, in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. This male, vocal group began as a doo-wop quartet, in 1958, but its success was to come amid the genre of garage-rock that emerged in the 1960s.
The Vogues’ leading vocalist was Bill Burkette. Bill was ably supported by baritone, Don Miller, and two tenors, Hugh Geyer and Chuck Blasco. As was the case with many groups, early success eluded the four. In fact, The Vogues was to remain virtually unknown until 1965.
That was the year in which the quartet received the opportunity to cover Petula Clark’s “You’re The One”. Petula had co-written the song in collaboration with fellow Briton Tony Hatch, who had already penned her international smash, “Downtown”, in that previous year.
Whilst Petula Clark was to take “You’re The One” into the British and Australian charts, it was to be The Vogues who would take it to No.4 in America.
Coming from a suburb of Pittsburgh, a city with an industrial heart, it was, therefore, only fitting that The Vogues should follow its initial success with an anthem straight from the floor of a factory; in the form of the truly superb, “Five O’Clock World”.
Surely, it was only the volume of recordings of high quality at the time of its release, in November of 1965, that prevented “Five O’Clock World” from rising higher than No.4 on Billboard’s Hot 100?
Not wishing to be pigeon-holed, and with a passion for harmonising, The Vogues turned to reviving standards from the 1950s and early Sixties. This, at a time when the youth of the day was much more attuned to the releases of Steppenwolf, The Doors, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, and Iron Butterfly: America’s precursor to heavy metal. Still, Top-Ten hits were there to be had albeit more than three years after “Five O’Clock World”.
The Vogues’ revivals of Bobby Helms’ “My Special Angel”, from 1957, and Glen Campbell’s initial entry to the charts, in 1961, “Turn Around, Look At Me”, both reached No.7 on Billboard, in 1968. The quartet’s last entry to the charts came in 1970 although The Vogues continued to record throughout the Seventies.
I have added “Five O’Clock World” to my list of favourite recordings, which is located in the suggested playlists.