Ralph Stuart Donner was born in Chicago, in February of 1943. Like many artists of that era, the church provided him with his principal introduction to singing. After the advent of rock and roll, he formed bands of his own. His first entry to the charts was a cover of Elvis Presley’s recording, “Girl Of My Best Friend”.
Ral’s biggest hit, “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Until You Lose It)”, in 1961, peaked at No.4 in the United States and at No.25 in Great Britain. His only other success of note came in the following year when “She’s Everything (I Wanted You To Be)” ascended to No.18.
In 1981, Ral provided the voice of Elvis Presley in the film, ‘This Is Elvis’. Ral Donner died from cancer of the lung, in April of 1984.
Jimmy Charles was born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1942. When he was sixteen, his uncle took him to New York City to compete in amateur talent shows.
There, Jimmy attracted the attention of Promo Records and after he had recorded a demonstration of “A Million To One”, was contracted to record the record. The Revellettes, a trio which was from Jimmy’s home town, provided the backing vocals.
Written by Phil Medley, “A Million To One”, had originally been recorded, in 1957, by The Five Satins, albeit with somewhat different lyrics.
Jimmy Charles and The Revellettes’ version reached its zenith at No.5 on Billboard’s Hot 100, in September of 1960. I particularly like the line about forgetting each other’s lies.
While this same combination achieved minor success with the release of “The Age Of Love”, at the end of that year, Jimmy’s career as that of a recording artist was to be of short duration.
“A Million To One” can be found in the list of my favourite recordings, which is located in the suggested playlists.
The Dell-Vikings’ period of success on the charts was as short as it was spectacular. This doo-wop group was formed, in 1955, by members of the United States Air Force.
Stationed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the composition of the quintet was open to change, as members were relocated to serve on other military bases. The Dell-Vikings originally recorded for Dot Records, a small local label. However, once the group had had significant success with its release, “Come Go With Me”, in 1957, it was decided that it should record for the much larger Mercury Records.
The group’s next sizeable hit, “Whispering Bells”, had already been recorded before it had departed from Dot and before 1957 had ended, “Cool Shake”, too, was imposing its popularity on the charts. Unfortunately, for The Dell-Vikings these three hits were to remain its claim to fame and while the group, under numerous changes in personnel, continued to re-form, as the decades past, the transient, heady days of success in the recording studio did not re-emerge.
The Dell-Vikings also remains noteworthy for it was one of the few racially integrated musical groups to achieve notable success, at a time, in America, that was marked by segregation. Furthermore, its hits have been used in films that depict its era. ‘American Graffiti’ and ‘Stand By Me’ are two such films.
“Come Go With Me” is included in the list of my favourite recordings. This can be located in the suggested playlists. I shall be adding to this list from time to time and have attempted to make it as diverse, and as entertaining, as possible.
Eugene Pitt, Richard Harris, Thurmon Prophet, Jerome Hanna and Norman Johnson comprised this American doo wop group. The quintet formed in Brooklyn, New York, in the late 1950s.
The Jive Five experienced its only major hit, in 1961, when “My True Story” peaked at No.3 on the American Billboard’s pop singles chart and spent three weeks atop that country’s rhythm and blues chart. While the group was unable to attain such dizzying heights again it continued to record and perform, for decades, utilising differing personnel.
The names of more of my favourite recordings can be found in the suggested playlists. I shall be adding to this list from time to time.
The Sensations was a doo wop group from Philadelphia. Its only major success came with the recording of “Let Me In” in 1961. Yvonne Mills Baker,bassist Alphonso Howell, tenor Richard Curtain and baritone Sam Armstrong comprised the group at the time of this success.