• The Cellos  

    The Cellos (Manhattan, New York)


    Personnel :

    Alton Campbell(Lead)

    Billy Montgomery(Tenor)

    Cliff Williams(Tenor)

    Bobby Thomas(Baritone)

    Alvin Williams(Bass)


    Discography :

    Singles :
    1957 - Rang Tang Ding Dong / You Took My Love(Apollo 510)
    1957 - Under Your Spell / The Juicy Crocodile(Apollo 515)
    1957 - The Be Bop Mouse / Girlie That I Love(Apollo 516)
    1958 - I Beg For Your Love / What's The Matter For You(Apollo 524)

    Unreleased :
    1958 - Doo Doo Wah (Apollo)
    1958 - Buffalo Bill (Apollo)
    1958 - Love That Girl Of Mine (Apollo)
    1958 - Don't Wait (with Dolly Lyon) (Apollo)


     Biography :

    The Cellos' singing was as smooth as the sound of their instrumental namesake. Formed at Charles Evans Hughes High School on West 18th Street in Manhattan, the Cellos were Alvin Williams , Billy Montgomery, Alton Campbell , Bobby Thomas, and Cliff Williams, their inspirations were the Heartbeats, the Cleftones, the Harptones, and the Coasters.Alvin Williams wrote their original material, including a number called "Rang Tang Ding Dong (I'm the Japanese Sandman)" that so impressed the engineer on their first demo session, Lewis Merenstein (who later produced Thelonious Monk, Art Farmer, and Van Morrison), that he brought it to Apollo Records, which was owned by his uncle. 

    The group got a contract from that demo, and had their first session in January of 1957. "Rang Tang Ding Dong" b/w "You Took My Love" reached number 62 on the Billboard national chart during a ten-week run, a promising beginning; the song was covered by the likes of Chuck Miller ("House of Blue Lights") and Ray Stevens. This was a feat the group was never able to repeat. The Cellos were extremely versatile, capable of delivering soaring, dreamily ethereal harmony numbers ("You Took My Love") or scorching, funny novelty songs ("Juicy Crocodile") with equal aplomb.  

    The Cellos    The Cellos

    Few groups had their range, and even fewer an in-house songwriter of Williams' caliber; between them, they made some gorgeous and memorably funny doo wop and R&B records. But they never managed to connect nationally, despite their receiving the blessing of tastemaker Alan Freed and a featured spot at one of his Brooklyn Paramount shows.

    The Cellos   The Cellos

        Undaunted, their management got them booked onto national tours, and some of their records got decent airplay. The sales didn't follow suit, however, and by the end of 1958 the group had called it quits, although Alvin Williams remained in the business for a few more years.


    Songs :

    Rang Tang Ding Dong             You Took My Love                   Under Your Spell
    The Juicy Crocodile         The Be Bop Mouse               Girlie That I Love

    I Beg For Your Love         What's The Matter For You         Love That Girl Of Mine

    Doo Doo Wah (Unreleased)
    Don't Wait (with Dolly Lyon)
    Buffalo Bill (Unreleased)
    What's The Matter For You (Outtake)





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