• The Astra-Lites
    The Astra-Lites /  The Exotics : Gene Novell, Jerry Abramson, Lenny Melnick & Art Gatti

    The Astra-Lites (Queens, New York)


    Personnel :

    Gene Novel  (Lead)

    Jerry Abramson (Second Tenor)

    Art Gatti (First Tenor/Falsetto)

    Stu Abramson (Bass)

    Discography :
    Singles :
    1961 - Space Hop / It Was A Bomb (Tribute 101)
    1961 - Let's Have A Doo Wop Christmas
    1961 - Happy Holidays

    Biography :

    In 1959, From Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village, Lenny Melnick & Art Gatti are part of Nicky and the Bell Flairs, with Curtis James and the lead, Nick Angelili. The following year the group consists of Lenny Melnick (Baritone/Bass), Art Gatti (First Tenor/Falsetto), Jerry Abramson (Second Tenor) and Gene Novell (Lead). With two new members the group changes name : The Exotics.

    The Astra-Lites
    Nicky & the Bell Flairs :  Curtis James, Lenny Melnick, Art Gatti & Nick Angelili

    The Exotics sang in churches, parks, building basements, subway arcades, subway station platforms and subway trains and begin to occur proffessionally. At this time, Lenny Melnick is replaced by Stu Abramson and the group changes name again, The Astra-Lites. The group have the same manager that Paul Simon had way back then. hey recorded "Space Hop" and "It Was A Bomb" in Feb 1961 at The Brill Building in 1961. "Space Hop" features legendary guitarist Charlie Byrd on guitar and Art Gatti on vocals.

    The Astra-Lites
    The Astra-Lites /  The Exotics

    The Record was released by Tribute records owned by Eddie Heller on West 53d Street, NYC. They Astra-Lites recorded two others songs : "Let's Have A Doo Wop Christmas" and "Happy Holidays". The Group recorded under other names and backed up on numerous hit records. Group was featured on Dick clark's American bandstand.

    The Astra-Lites    The Astra-Lites 

     Charlie Byrd                                                                                      The Astra-Lites            

    The Brill Building, in the early ‘60s, contained everything needed by a young talented singer or songwriter. There you could write a song or make the rounds of publishers until someone bought it. Then you could go to another floor and get a quick arrangement and lead sheet for $10; get some copies made at the duplication office; book an hour at a demo studio; hire some of the musicians and singers that hung around; and finally cut a demo of the song. Then you could take it around the building to the record companies, publishers, artists’ managers or even the artists themselves. If you made a deal, there were radio promoters available to sell the record- all this under one roof.



    Songs :
    (updated by Hans-Joachim) 

    Let's Have A Doo Wop Christmas                       Space Hop                 

    It Was A Bomb



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  • The Sinclairs
    (November 1959) L-R: Eddie Griffin, Arthur Stewart, Yusef Khan, Eddie Albino and Al Heitzer 

    The Sinclairs (New York)


    Arthur 'Party Artie' Stewart (Lead)

    Eddie Albino (Lead)

    Al Heitzer (Tenor/Falsetto)

    Yusef 'Joe' Khan (Second Tenor/Baritone)

    Eddie Griffin (Baritone/Bass)

    Biography :

    The Sinclairs were strictly an amateur doowop quintet back in the day although quite a visual one as they danced in sync while the main two lead voices, Arthur 'Party Artie' Stewart and Eddie Albino, leaped off the stages landing in split position. Looking back to that era of the late 1950's-early 1960's when they really couldn't have cared less about money as they sang and danced everywhere and anywhere they could get an audience to listen and enjoy them.

    The Sinclairs
    (Early 1960) L-R: Jimmy Clarke, Jimmy Jarosz, Al Heitzer, Sam Garcia and Eddie Horta

    They sang at paid gigs in Westchester and Nassau Counties where the competition wasn't as great as it was in New York City where it seems that every block had a doowop group entertaining the masses. They sang in churches, YMCA/YMHA's, Audubon Ballroom, P.S. 189, P.S. 152, the Dyckman Projects' Building 1 Community Room, high school assemblies, building courtyards, parks, building basements, subway arcades, subway station platforms and subway trains. But they didn't write their own music preferring to sing others' hit tunes. When Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records over near Columbus Circle at the time, and Bob Crewe of XYZ Records in the Brill Building told them in no uncertain terms: "Come back when you have original material". The Sinclairs broke up in early 1962 after after a lot of personal change.

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  • The Crystals (4)
    J. Ricci, Aqueleno, Dore Riccuiti (Pat D'Amato not on the photo)

    The Crystals (4) (Philadelphia, Pa)

    Personnel :

    J. Ricci

    Dore Riccuiti

    Pat D'Amato


    Discography :

    The Crystals (4)
    1959 - Mary Ellen / Blind Date (Felsted 8566)

    Johnny Stevens bb The Crystals (4)
    1959 - Hm-Mm-Baby-Hm-Mm / Apple Taffy (Parkway 805)

    Bobby Rydell bb The Crystals (4)
    1959 - All I Want Is You / For You, For You (Cameo 164)

    Biography :

    Vocal group from Philadelphia composed by J. Ricci, Dore Riccuiti, Pat D'Amato and Aqueleno. In 1959, The crystals make a train trip to New York's Bell Sound Studios to make the recording. The group recorded two songs "Mary Ellen" and "Blind Date". Felsted Records released the single in Mars 1959. Bobby Rydell who played in several bands in the Philadelphia area and after three unsuccessful singles for small companies, he signed a recording contract with Cameo Records. In May 1959, The Crystals are contacted by Cameo who needs a vocal group to doing backgrounds behind Bobby. Bobby Rydell and the Crystals recorded "For You, For You" released on Cameo 164.

    The Crystals (4)    The Crystals (4)
                                                                                                                                    Bobby Rydell

    The Crystals also made a recording at Cameo which was an answer to the hit "Short Shorts" but was never released. The Crystals wrote "Apple Taffy" who was recorded by a young man named Johnny Stevens, who was Disc Jockey Joe Niagara's brother. It was released on Parkway Records (P-805). The group also do background on the other side "Hmm-mm Baby Hmm-mm". The Crystals  also wrote three of Fabian's recordings, "Stop Thief!", "I'm Sincere" and  "Hold Me (In Your Arms)".

    Songs :

    The Crystals (4)

    Mary Ellen                                               Blind Date

    Bobby Rydell bb The Crystals (4)

    For You, For You                              All I Want Is You  

    Johnny Stevens bb The Crystals (4)

              Apple Taffy                               Hmm-mm Baby Hmm-mm



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  • The Cardinals
     (1955) Left to right: Ray Butler, Ron Emmons, Warren Dickerson, and Francis Bonello.


    The Cardinals (New Jersey)

    Personnel :

    Ray Butler

    Ron Emmons

    Warren Dickerson

    Francis Bonello


    Discography :


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  • The Scarlets

    The Scarlets (New Haven, Connecticut)
     ref The Five Satins


    Personnel :

    Fred Parris(Lead)

    Sylvester Hopkins(Tenor)

    Nathaniel Mosely(Tenor)

    Albert Denby(Baritone)

    William L. Powers(Bass)



    Discography :

    The Scarlets
    Singles :
    1953 - Dear One / I've Lost(Red Robin 128)
    1954 - Love Doll / Darling I'm Yours(Red Robin 133)
    1955 - True Love / Cry Baby(Red Robin 135)
    1955 - Kiss Me / Indian Fever(Red Robin 138)
    1960 - Truly Yours / East Of The Sun (Fury 1036)
    1976 - Teardrops Fell / Yes You'Re Mine (by the Vocaleers) (Robin Hood 134)
    Unreleased :
    1960 - Truly Yours (alt. vers.) (Fury)
    1960 - Remember (Fury)

    Fred Parris & The Scarlets
    1958 - She's Gone With The Wind / The Voice(Klik 7905)

    Biography :

    Fred Parris of 24 Sperry Street in New Haven, Connecticut, was expelled in 1953 from a vocal group known as the Canaries. The avid ball player (he once had a tryout with the Boston Braves) decided to form his own group and labeled them the Scarlets. The quintet of Hillhouse High School students included Sylvester Hopkins (first tenor), Nathaniel Mosely, Jr. (second tenor), Albert Denby (baritone), and William L. Powers (bass). Since Fred wrote the songs the guys made him lead singer. The rehearsed under the influence of THE 5 ROYALES, THE CLOVERS, THE DOMINOES, and THE FIVE CROWNS. Fred was a particular fan of the Velvets and THE FOUR FRESHMEN.

    The Scarlets

    As the group’s leader, Parris was saddled with the responsibility of finding them a record label, but the 17-year-old had little idea how to go about it. He traveled to New York without so much as a tape in hopes of finding Red Robin Records (home of the Velvets), which was operated out of a record shop at 301 West 125th Street in Harlem. First he encountered Bob Shad, a record shop owner who also owned the Jax label (Bobby Hall and the Kings). Shad sent Fred down the block where he met Red Robin proprietor Bobby Robinson. When the Scarlets lead told Robinson of his group he got the same response elicited from Shad, which in effect was “go home and bring me a demo tape.” When Fred did return with a tape of the self penned “Dear One,” Robinson still wasn’t impressed, but his brother and partner Dan did like the group and convinced Robinson to record them.

    In early spring of 1954 the Scarlets were given 15 minutes to cut “Dear One” and another ballad called “I’ve Lost.” “Dear One” had a classic rhythm and blues harmony sound. Fred’s Plaintive lead, shifting to falsetto riffing while the baritone and bass took over, helped make the record a New York hit in the spring of 1954. The flip, “I've Lost,” was another solid ballad with more than a hint of the melody line from the 1948 Benny Goodman tune “Beyond the Sea.”

    The Scarlets     The Scarlets

    The group got better with each release as December’s “Love Doll” and the later “True Love” demonstrated. Even though “True Love” was almost a clone of “Dear One,” the harmonies had a more confident sound. Parris had his first hit as a writer with the B side but not via the Scarlets. The rocker, “Cry Baby,” was cut a year later by three moonlighting nurses from Bellevue Hospital called THE BONNIE SISTERS, reaching a healthy number 18 on the Pop charts. The New Haven quintet was called by Uncle Sam in 1955 with the promise that they could stay together. Thus assured, the Scarlets foresaw a great time entertaining troops and officers. Instead, one member wound up in Alaska, One in Texas, and other in Korea, and so on. After basic training in Texas the group returned to New York on leave and cut one farewell single for Red Robin called “Kiss Me.”

    Fred was then stationed in Philadelphia and was able to return to New Haven for weekends. He formed a new group that included Lou Peebles (tenor), Ed Martin (baritone), Stanley Dortch (tenor), and Jim Freeman (bass). Fred wanted a new name since none of these new members had been in the Scarlets. He liked the idea of something soft and red like the Velvets and the Scarlets. The result: the Five Satins.






    Songs :
    (updated by Hans-Joachim) 

    Dear One                                  I've Lost                           Love Doll

    Darling I'm Yours                     True Love                           Cry Baby

     Kiss Me                                Indian Fever                      Truly Yours

    East Of The Sun               She's Gone With The Wind                   The Voice

    Teardrops Fell                    Truly Yours (alt. vers.)                   Remember




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