The Hi-Lo’s

The Hi-Lo’s were one of the more creative and influential male vocal quartets of the 1950s, matching intricate harmonies with standards that were given big band-pop arrangements. Forming in Los Angeles in the early 1950s, they began recording in 1953, just in time for the LP era — an important consideration since The Hi-Lo’s did not have huge success in the singles market. They were all over television in the 1950s, appearing on 39 episodes ofThe Rosemary Clooney Show alone, as well as the shows of Steve Allen, Nat “King” Cole,Pat Boone and others. In the studio, they worked with talented arrangers like Frank Comstock and Marty Paich, and hit their commercial peak with three Top 20 albums on Columbia in 1957 (one recorded with Clooney). Their inventive shadings and the wide range (particularly in the upper register) were, as is well-known, influences on Brian Wilson, and also, as is much less well-known, John Phillips. Wilson and Phillips would apply some of that harmonic influence to recordings with their groups, The Beach Boys and The Mamas And The Papas. Recent jazz-pop groups such as The Manhattan Transfer also have a significant debt to The Hi-Lo’s.

Biography by Richie Unterberger

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