This Month In Vocal Group History

February 1, 1969

The Brooklyn Bridge’s debut disc, “Worst That Could Happen” peaked at #3. The lead singer was Johnny Maestro, formerly of The Crests, while the backup vocals were done by former members of The Del-Satins, the un-credited group on Dion’s 11 hits from “Runaround Sue” thru “Come Go With Me” (1961-1963).

February 1, 1964

The quintessential party record “Louis, Louis” by The Kingsmen was declared pornographic by the Governor of Indiana, but an FCC investigation concluded “the record to be unintelligible at any speed we played it”.

Top Single: “Where Or When” Dion & The Belmonts #4 1960
“Rum & Coca Cola” The Andrews Sisters #1 1945
Birthday: Bob Shane (The Kingston Trio)
1934 Tommy Duffy (The Echoes) 1944

February 2, 1956

The Coasters signed with Atco Records and went on to have 19 hits in 15 years.

Top Single:
“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” The Platters #1 1959

February 3, 1958

The Collegians Doo Wop classic, “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom” was issued.

February 3, 1959

“This day the music died”. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) died in a plane crash after their last tour date in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Top Single: “Baby It’s You” The Shirelles #8 1962
“Green Tambourine” The Lemon Pipers #1 1968
Birthday:
David Lerchey (The Dell-Vikings) 1937
Charlie James (The Cleftones) 1939
Angelo D’Aleo (The Belmonts) 1940
Dennis Edwards (The Temptations) 1943

February 4, 1954

The Drifters recorded “Honey Love” (#1 R&B, #21 Pop), their first single at Fulton Recording Studio in N.Y.C. along with their legendary versions of “White Christmas”, “Bells Of St. Mary’s” and the forerunner of “The Twist” “Whatcha Gonna Do” (#2 R&B).

February 4, 1962

Gene Pitney’s first British tour opened with an appearance on ITV’s “Thank You Lucky Stars”.

Top Single: “Speedo” The Cadillacs #4 R&B 1956
“Stayin’ Alive” The Bee Gees #1 1978
Birthday:
Bernie West (The Five Keys) 1930
John Gambale (The Classics) 1942
Florence LaRue (The 5th Dimension) 1944

February 5, 1954

The McGuire Sisters fourth single “Pine Tree, Pine For Me” was released becoming their first charter.

Top Single: Earth Angel” The Penguins #8 1955

Birthday: Cory Wells (Three Dog Night) 1942

February 6, 1965

Little Anthony & The Imperials classic “Hurt So Bad” charted en route to #10.
1971 – Marvin Gaye’s critically acclaimed “What’s Goin’ On” Was released. It reached #2 Pop and #1 R&B.

Top Single: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”
The Righteous Brothers and The Ronettes #1 1965

February 7, 1953

The Buccaneers “Dear Ruth” was issued by two students working out of a store front in Philadelphia.

February 7, 1964

The Beatles first U.S. visit started in New York.

Top Single: “Walking In The Rain” Jay & The Americans #19 1970
“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” Paul Simon #1 1976
Birthday: Harvey Herskowitz (The Quotations) 1943

February 8, 1962

The Beach Boys (with Jaguars member Val Poliuto in for Al Jardine) recorded six demo’s including what would become the basic tracks and vocals for their first two singles “Surfin’” and “Surfin’ Safari”.

February 8, 1967

Peter & Gordon (of “World Without Love” fame) broke up. Peter Ashers went on to manage Linda Ronstadt among others.

Top Single: “I Started A Joke” The Bee Gees #6 1969 “Teen Angel” Mark Dinning #1 1960

February 9, 1964

The Beatles first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Top Single: “Hey Paula” Paul & Paula #1 1963

February 10, 1958

The Chesters debut “The Fires Burn No More” was released. The group went on to become Little Anthony & The Imperials.

February 10, 1973

After composing the song “The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia” bobby Russell offered the tune to Cher, who turned it down. Russell then gave it to his wife Vickie Lawrence who had the #1 hit.

Top Single: “Do Something For Me” The Dominoes #6 R&B 1951
“Don’t” Elvis Presley #1 1958
Birthday: Jimmy Merchant (Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers) 1940
Nathaniel Mayer (The Fabulous Twilights) 1944

February 11, 1956

The first Rock & Roll stage show in the Bronx, New York was held at the Opera House Movie Theater featuring The Cadillacs, The Heartbeats, The Valentines and The Bonnie Sisters.

February 11, 1964

The Beatles played their first U.S. concert at Washington D.C.’s Washington coliseum along with The Chiffons and Tommy Roe. 8,600 people attended but barely a word was heard form the mop tops who couldn’t compete with the avalanche of teen screams.

Top Single: “Adorable/Steamboat” The Drifters #5 R&B 1956
“Kharma Chameleon” Culture Club #1 1984
Birthday John Mills (The Mills Brothers) 1889

February 12, 1957

The Coasters recorded their 2-sided hit “Searchin’” (#3 Pop, #1 R&B) and “Youngblood” (#8 Pop, #1 R&B) at Hollywood Records in Los Angeles.

Top Single: “Sincerely” The McGuire Sisters #1 1955

Birthday: Gene McDaniels (The Sultans, The Admirals) 1935
Cynthia Philips (Wilson Phillips) 1968
Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) 1954

February 13, 1959

The Skylines performed their first single “Since I Don’t Have You” on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Three days later orders for 100,000 copies came in.

February 13, 1981

Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” L.P. became rocks longest running album at 402 weeks. It went on for another 158 weeks (560 total)

Top Single: “My Girl” The Temptations #5 1965
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” The Righteous Brothers #1 1965

Birthday: Gene Ames (The Ames Brothers) 1925 Dorothy McGuire (The McGuire Sisters) 1930

February 14, 1953

Al Silver started Herald Records which became one of the premier vocal group outlets
of the 50’s with recordings by the Mello-Kings and Nutmegs.

February 14, 1955

The Platters sued their label, Mercury records, after amassing 32 hits because the label refused to issue singles not sung by lead Tony Williams who left the group in 1960. As the debate raged Mercury released 12 more 45’s through 1964, all old previously recorded material.

Top Single: “Love Machine” The Miracles #8 1976
“Celebration” Kool & The Gang” #1 1981

Birthday: Phyllis McGuire (The McGuire Sisters) 1931

February 15, 1961

The Marcels recorded seven songs for their first legendary L.P. including “Most Of All”, “Sunday Kind Of Love”, “Peach Of Mind” and the international Doo Wop hit “Blue Moon”.

February 15, 1954

Joe Turner recorded the classic “Shake, Rattle & Roll” six months before Bill Haley’s hit version.

Top Single: “Worst That Could Happen” The Brooklyn Bridge #5 1969
“Everyday People” Sly & The Family Stone #1 1969

February 16, 1964

The Crystals embarked on a British tour backed by Manfred Mann.

Top Single: : “Stagger Lee” Loyd Price #1 1959

February 17, 1962

The Beach Boys first single “Surfin’” hit the national charts reaching #75.

February 17, 1958

Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little 16” charted on its was to #2.

Top Single: “Duke Of Earl” Gene Chandler & The Dukays #1 1962
Birthday: Orville “Hoppy” Jones (The Ink Spots) 1905
Mickey McGill (The Dells) 1937

February 18, 1942

The Mills Brothers recorded what would become their biggest hit “Paper Doll”. Released in May it took 14 months to reach #1, but when it did it stayed there for 12 weeks selling 6 million copies.

February 18, 1956

Bill Haley & The Comets album “Rock Around The Clock” became the first Rock & Roll L.P. to make the Pop album charts.

Top Single: “It’s Almost Tomorrow” The Dream Weavers #10 1956
“The Great Pretender” The Platters #1 1956

Birthday: Herman Santiago (Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers) 1941

February 19, 1972

Three Dog Night’s “Never Been To Spain” became their 8th Top 10 record when it peaked at #5 today

Top Single: “Shop Around” The Miracles #1 R&B 1961
Birthday:
Bob Engemann (The Lettermen) 1936
William McClain (The Cleftones) 1938
Smokey Robinson (The Miracles) 1940
Bobby Rogers (The Miracles) 1940

February 20, 1956

Detroit’s Riviera Theater hosted a show featuring Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, The Five Keys, The Jewels and The Bonnie Sisters who had just charted with “Cry Baby”. The trio were not sisters but were nurses at New York’s Bellevue Hospital.

February 20, 1996

Involved in a five car crash on the #10 freeway in Los Angeles Barry Manilow signed autographs for police and fan while waiting for his Range Rover to be towed.

Top Single: “The Boy From New York City” The Ad Libs #10 1965
“This Diamond Ring” Gary Lewis & The Playboys
Birthday: Manny Chaves (The Jaguars) 1937
Barbara Ellis (The Fleetwoods) 1940

February 21, 1970

The 5th Dimension’s 14th top 100 singe and first Bell Records “The Declaration” charted.

February 21, 1987

Aretha Franklin charted in a duet with George Michael on “I Knew You Were Waiting”. It was her first #1 in 20 years.

Top Single: “The Psychedelic Shack” The Temptations #8 1970
“9 to 5” Dolly Parton #1 1981

February 22, 1951

The Clovers recorded “Don’t You Know I Love You” their first of 21 R&B hits over the next 9 years. Written by Atlantic Prexy Ahmet Ertegun, he recorded the song demo by singing into a Times Square recording booth microphone as Ertegun could neither play an instrument or write music.

February 22, 1976

Florence Ballard, the original lead singer of The Supremes,
died of a heart attack nine years after being forced out of the trio.

Top Single: “What Kind Of Fool” The Tams #9 1964
“Theme From A Summer Place” Percy Faith #1 1960

Birthday: Bobby Hendricks (The Drifters)
1938 Robert Edwards (The Intruders) 1942

February 23, 1963

The Chiffons mega-hit “He’s So Fine” was the first vocal group #1 in rock history to be produce by another vocal group, The Tokens of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” fame.

Top Single: “The Way We Were” Barbara Streisand #1 1974

February 24, 1958

The Aquatones debut single “You” was released.

February 24, 1967

After seeing them perform at London’s Saville Theatre, British manager Robert Stigwood signed the new group who called themselves The Bee Gees.

Top Single: “Love Train” The O’Jays # 1 R&B 1971
“Get A Job” The Silhouettes #1 1957

February 25, 1956

The Coasters “Down In Mexico” (#8 R&B) and
The Willows “Church Bells May Ring” (#62 Pop, #11 R&B) were released.

February 25, 1965

Filming started on “Eight Arms To Hold You” the second Beatles film.
Soon after the title was changed to “Help”.

Top Single: “That’s What Friends Are For” Dionne & Friends #1 1985
“There I’ve Said It Again” Bobby Vinton 31 1964
Birthday: Etta James (Peaches)

February 26, 1960

The Coasters recorded their 13th hit “Wake Me, Shake Me” (#51 Pop, #14 R&B) in New York City. Thirty years later to the day cornel Gunter of The Coasters was shot ad killed while in his car in Las Vegas. He was scheduled to perform at he Lucky Lady Hotel that night,

Top Single: “My World Is Empty Without You” The Supremes #5 1966

Birthday: Chuck Harris (The Playmates) 1930
Don Ciccone (The Critters) 1946

February 27, 1954

The Moonglows magical “Secret Love” and The Royals classic “Work With Me Annie” were issued. The Royals went on to become Hank Ballard & The Midnighters.

February 27, 1955

The 7 inch single took the lead in sales for the first time over the 78 RPM single. The 45 as it was called was introduced in 1949.

Top Single:
“There’s A Moon Out Tonight” The Capris #3 1961
“Pony Time” Chubby Checker #1 1961

February 28, 1964

The Carolons recorded their classic “Let It Please Be You”.

Top Single: “This Magic Moment” The Drifters #12 R&B 1960
Birthday: Marty Sanders (Jay & The Americans) 1941

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