This Month In Vocal Group History

May 1, 1998

The Vocal Group Hall of Fame opened in Sharon, Pennsylvania. The Hall was the brain child of Tony Butala, lead singer of The Lettermen. Many of the greatest vocal groups in history would, in coming years, be inducted into the Hall in lavish and nostalgic ceremonies.

May 1, 1963

Andrew Loog Oldham became manager of The Rollin’ Stones but only after demanding they add the “g”.

Top Single:
“Never Can Say Goodbye” The Jackson Five #1 R&B 1971
“Runaway” Del Shannon #1 1961

Birthday:
Heather Dixon (The Bobbettes) 1944

May 2, 1956

The Joytones, one of Rock N’ Roll’s first girl groups recorded their single “Gee, What A Boy”.

May 2, 1979

The Who replaced deceased drummer Keith Moon with former Small Faces member Kenny Jones.

Top Single:
“Ronnie” The Four Seasons #10 1964
“Can’t Buy Me Love” The Beatles #1 1964

Birthday:
Randy Cain III (The Delfonics)

May 3, 1962

America’s first ambassadors of Rock ‘n’ Roll, began a ten-day tour of Spain. Afterward, they would become the first American Rock ‘n’ Roll act to perform behind the Iron Curtain when they appeared in Poland.

May 3, 1984

After breaking up in 1976 Deep Purple regrouped. Runor has it they were each (Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Gillan and Ian Paice) offered $12 Million to reunite.

Top Single:
“Call Me” Blondie #1 1980

May 4, 1968

Mary Hopkin’s success with “Those Were The Days” (#1 U.S. and U.K.) came about thanks to famed model Twiggy who saw the pert songstress perform on Britain’s T.V. talent show, “Opportunity Knocks” called a friend Paul McCartney and insisted he sign her.

Top Single:
“The Locomotion” Grand Funk Railroad 1974
“We Are The World” USA For Africa #1 1985

Birthday:
Peggy Santaglia (The Angels) 1943

May 5, 1958

The Coasters “Yakety Yak” was issued, eventually reaching #1.

May 5, 1968

Buffalo Springfield disbanded.

Top Single:
“Ivory Tower” Otis Williams & The Charms #5 R&B 1956
“All Shook Up” Elvis Presley #1 1957

Birthday:
Johnnie Taylor (Highway QC’s & Five Echoes) 1938

May 6, 1957

The Dell-Vikings “Little Billy Boy” and The Vibes “Darling” were released.

May 6, 1973

After 18 singles and 7 smash albums with partner and high school friend Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon played his first solo gig at the Music Hall in Boston.

Top Single:
“Come Go Woth Me” The Dell-Vikings #6 1957
“The First Time” Roberta Flack #1 1972

Birthday:
Herb Cox (The Cleftones) 1939

May 7, 1954

Drifters lead Clyde McPhatter was drafted but was lucky to be stationed in Buffalo, NY where he bused in for weekend gigs with the group.

Top Single:
“Angel In Your Arms” Hot #21 1977

Birthday:
Johnny Maestro (Brooklyn Bridge) 1939

May 8, 1961

One of the few vocal groups to come out of Texas, The Velvets “Tonight” charted. It was their second of nine singles.

May 8, 1965

9 of the Top 10 hits in America were from British or Australian acts led by #1 “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter” (Herman’s Hermits” The only domestic charter was #2 “Count Me In” by Gary Lewis & The Playboys.

Top Single:
“Tonight I Fell In Love” The Tokens #15 1961
“Joy To The World” Three Dog Night #1 1971

May 9, 1953

Billy Ward & The Dominoes “These Foolish Things” was released. It became their 9th top 10 R&B hit in three years.

May 9, 1973

Mick Jagger donated $350,000 to help victims of the Nicaraguan earthquake.

Top Single:
“Greenfields” The Brothers Four #2 1960
“Hello Dolly” Louis Armstrong #1 1964

May 10, 1957

The Jive Bombers recorded their unique version of the 1928 song “Cherry”.

May 10, 1969

The Turtles performed at The White House and leader Mark Volman celebrated by falling off the stage four times.

Top Single:
“He Don’t Love You” Dawn #1 1975
“West End Girls” Pet Shop Boys #1 1986

Birthday:
Danny Rapp (Danny & The Juniors) 1941

May 11, 1970

The soundtrack to the August 15-17, 1969 Woodstock Festival was issued. It was a 3 disc set.

Top Single:
“Happy Organ” Dave “Baby” Cortez #1 1959

Birthday:
Arnie Silver (The Dovells) 1943
Tom Giuliano (Happenings) 1943
Eric Burdon (Animals) 1941

May 12, 1958

ABC Paramount Records formed the Apt label. Among the first signings were The Elegants from Staten Island. The same day The Chantels “I Love You So” was released.

May 12, 1960

Elvis made his first T.V. appearance since his Army discharge on a “Welcome Back” special. The host was an old rock & roller named Frank Sinatra.

Top Single:
“She Cried” Jay & The Americans #6 1961
“All I Have To Do Is Dream” The Everly Brothers #1 1958

Birthday:
Jay Otis Washington (The Persuasions) 1941

May 13, 1957

The Spaniels “Everyone’s Laughing”, The Love Notes “Tonight” and The Diablos “Can’t We Talk This Over” were released.

May 13, 1952

The Royals signed with Federal Records and went on to have 13 hits after they changed their name to Hank Ballard & The Midnighters.

Top Single:
“Jimmy Mack” Martha & The Vandellas #1 R&B 1967
“The Happening” The Supremes #1 1967

Birthday:
Fred Hellerman (The Weavers) 1927
Harold Winley (The Clovers) 1933

May 14, 1969

Little Anthony & The Imperials recorded two standards “Ten Commandments of Love” (#82 Pop) originally by The Moonglows and “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind” (#32 R&B, #52 Pop) first done by The Five Keys.

Top Single:
“Candy Girl” New Edition #1 R&B 1983

Birthday:
Bobby Darrin (The Jaybirds) 1936

May 15, 1961

The Regents (Originally called The Montereys) “Barbara Ann” charted three years after they recorded it.

May 15, 1945

The first album chart was introduced in America. Albums then were collections of 78RPM singles usually boxed or in a sleeved binder.

Top Single:
“Help Me Rhonda” The Beach Boys #6 1965
“Boogie Fever” The Sylvers #1 1976

Birthday:
Kripp Johnson (The Dell-Vikings) 1933
Lenny Welch (The Sinceres) 1938

May 16, 1956

Vee-Jay Records signed Sonny Til & The Orioles with an announcement it was taking the group pop.

May 16, 1987

David Crosby married longtome gal-pal Jan Dance. His friend Graham Nash renewed his vows with
wife Susan at the same ceremony.

Top Single:
“I Wanna Know” The Du Droppers 1953 #4 R&B
“My Guy” Mary Wells #1 1964

Birthday:
Ted Kowalski (The Diamonds) 1931
Barbara Lee (The Chiffons) 1947

May 17, 1957

The Spaniels, The Dells and The Sweethearts appeared at Chicago’s Royal Theater.

May 17, 1963

Joan Baez performed at the first Monterey Folk Festival with her protégé, Bob Dylan.

Top Single:
“That’s What You’re Doing To Me”
The Dominoes #8 R&B 1952
“He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You)”
Tony Orlando & Dawn #1 1975

May 18, 1959

“Along Came Jones” was the Coasters 7th chart single, all written by their producers, Leiber & Stoller.

Top Single:
“Kansas City” Wilbert Harrison #1 1959

May 19, 1958

Alan Freed joined N.Y.’s WABC Radio one week after quitting his position at WINS. The same day the Clovers signed with Poplar Records after seven years with Atlantic. The Drifters classic “Drip Drop” (#58) was released and Jerry Butler & The Impressions debut disc “For Your Precious Love” ( #11) came out.

May 19, 1979

The Beatles (McCartney, Starr and Harrison) and a Stone (Jagger) performed at Eric Clapton’s and Patti Boyd’s wedding reception. Boyd was Harrison’s ex. It was the first time since their 1969 breakup that the 3 Beatles played together.

Top Single:
“The Magic Touch” The Platters #4 1956
“Soldier Boy” The Shirelles #1 1962

May 20, 1957

The Chantels “I Really Love You” and The Mellokings classic “Tonite, Tonite” (#77) were issued.

May 20, 1955

Ruth Brown’s hit “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean” was banned in Britain. The BBC felt it might encourage wife beating.

Top Single:
“I’ll Take You There” The Staples Singers #1 R&B 1972
“Groovin” The Rascals #1 1967

Birthday:
Susan Cowsill (The Cowsills) 1960

May 21, 1955

The Four Knights first Top 100 single “If I May” (#8) charted. One of the groups four pop hits was “My Personal Posession”(#21) with Nat “King” Cole singing lead.

Top Single:
“Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”
The Walker Brothers 1966 #13

Birthday:
Ronald Isley (The Isley Bros) 1941

May 22, 1954

The Rivileers “Forever” (Baton), The Strangers “Blue Flowers (King) and The El Rays “Darling I Know” were released. Soon after, The El Rays changed their name to The Dells.

May 22, 1958

Jerry Lee Lewis arrived in England for his first tour. After three performances it was cancelled when the British press discovered Lewis had just married his 14 year old cousin.

Top Single:
“Daddy’s Home” Shep & The Limelites 1961 #3
“Mother-In-Law” Ernie K. Doe #1 1961

Birthday:
Jimmy Keys (The Chords) 1930

May 23, 1970

The Chairmen Of The Board’s “Dangling On A String”
became the 2nd of their 12 R&B chart singles (38 Pop, #19 R&B)

May 23, 1964

The harmonica part in Millie Small’s hit “My Boy Lollipop” (#2 U.S. & U.K.) was played by Rod Stewart.

Top Single:
“Chapel Of Love” The Dixie Cups 1964 #4
“Cathy’s Clown” The Everly Brothers #1 1960

Birthday:
General Norman Johnson (Chairmen of The Board) 1943

May 24, 1969

The Emotions charted with “So I Can Love You” their debut disc on both the Pop (#39) and R&B (#3) charts.
The trio of Hutchinson sisters went on to have 30 R&B hits thru 1984.

May 24, 1971

On Bob Dylan’s 30th birthday, he visited The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

Top Single:
“Oh Happy Day” Edwin Hawkins Singers #5 1969
“Shining Star” Earth Wind & Fire #1 1975

Birthday:
Sara Dash (Labelle) 1942
Patti Labelle (Labelle) 1944
Bob Dylan 1941

May 25, 1951

The first R&B hit to crossover to the Pop Top 20 was Billy Ward & The Dominoes “Sixty Minute Man” (#17) which charted today.

Top Single:
“If You Wanna Be Happy” Jimmy Soul #1 1963

Birthday:
Mitch Margo (Tokens) 1947

May 26, 1956 May 26, 1989

Even in death there is no escape: Roy Orbison’s estate (He died in December, 1988) was sued by his music publisher because he failed to fulfill his song commitment under his 1985 contract.

Top Single:
“Lovers Who Wander” Dion & The Del-Satins #10 1961
“All I Have To Do Is Dream” The Everly Brothers #1 1958

Birthday:
William Powell (The O’Jays) 1977

May 27, 1957

The Cellos Doo Wop novelty, “Rang Tang Ding Dong” slipped onto the pop charts reaching #62. It was covered by 16 year old Ray Stevens who began his recording career with the tune. The same day, The Dominoes “Stardust” (#12 Pop, #5 R&B) was released.

May 27, 1954

Twenty days after Uncle Sam called Drifters lead singer Clyde McPhatter the groups “Honey Love” was released. It became their 2nd #1 R&B hit of 3 releases.

Top Single:
“I Got Rhythm” The Happenings #31967
“Groovin” The Rascals #1 1967

May 28, 1954

Apollo Records formed the subsidiary Lloyds Label and signed The Larks who reformed after previously being with Apollo and breaking up.

Top Single:
“Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart” The Supremes #91966

Birthday:
Gladys Knight (Gladys Knight & The Pipps) 1944

May 29, 1954

Frankie Valli’s first recording, “Somebody Else Took Her Home” was released but not with The Four Seasons. He was then a soloist going under the name Frankie Valley. Frankie Valli’s first recording “Somebody Else Took Her Home” was released but not with the Four Seasons. He was then a soloist going under the name Frankie Valley.

Top Single:
“Double Crossing Blues”Little Esther & The Robins #3 R&B 1950
“Travelin’ Man” Rick Nelson #1 1961

May 30, 1953

Collectors favorites, “You Are My Only Love” (The Cardinals) and
“These Foolish Things” (The Five Keys) were released.

May 30, 1960

Brenda Lee’s first #1 “I’m Sorry” charted. She went on to have 52 Top 100 charters in 16 years.

Top Single:
“Love On A Two Way Street” The Moments #31970
“Love Me Do” The Beatles #1 1964

May 31, 1954

The Clovers opened at Emersons in Philadelphia.

May 31, 1958

The era of Surf Music began 3 years ahead of the Beach Boys when Dick Dale performed his “Let’s Go Trippin” at The Rendevous Ballrooom in Balboa, California.

Top Single:
“So Fine” The Fiestas #4 R&B 1959
“Get Back” The Beatles #11969

Birthday:
Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul & Mary) 1938

Copyright Vocal Group Hall Of Fame Foundation. All Rights Reserved.