• The Fantastics (1) (Brooklyn, New-York)
    The Pharoes aka The Keynoters (2)

    Personnel :

    William "Sonny" Forrest(Lead)

    Sammy Strain(First Tenor)

    Billy Sutton(Second Tenor)

    Freddy Warner(Baritone)

    Larry Lawrence(Bass)

    Discography :

    The Pharoes
    Unreleased :
    1956 - Bye Byre Baby (Melba)
    1956 - Rocket 88 (Melba)

    The Fantastics (1)
    Singles :
    1959 - There goes my love / Millionaire Hobo(RCA 7572)
    1959 - I got a zero / This is my wedding day(RCA 7664)
    1961 - Dancing doll / I told you once(UA 309)
    Unreleased :
    1959 - Believe in me (RCA)
    1959 - My girl (RCA)
    1959 - Angie Lee (RCA)
    1959 - Drum Beat (RCA)
    1960 - My Buddy's girl (Princeton)

    The Keynoters (2)
    1962 - Come Back Home / I Wanna Know Who (Keynote 504)

    Biography :

    The Pharoes consisted of William “Sonny” Forrest (lead), Bill Medley (first tenor), someone remembered only as JW (second tenor), Fred Warner (baritone) and Wilbert “Larry” Lawrence, Jr. (bass). The Pharoes recorded “Rocket 88” and “Bye Bye Baby” for Melba Records on September 7, 1956 but it was not released. The Pharaohs underwent some personnel changes. JW left the group and was replaced by James “Billy” Sutton &  Billy Medley started missing rehearsals so Sammy Strain took Billy’s place. In addition to personnel changes, the group toyed with different names. They were the Holidays for a short time and then became the Passions. The Passions auditioned for a number of record companies.Auditioning for RCA-Victor producer Charlie Grean, the Passions eventually signed with RCA- Victor Records around May, 1959.

    The Passions / Fantastics

    The group went into the studio and recorded four songs on May 21, 1959: “Drum Beat”, “There Goes My Love”,“This Is My Wedding Day” and “Millionaire Hobo” . Just prior to the release of “There Goes My Love,” RCA-Victor got wind of another group called the Passions, and forced their group to find a new name, the Fantastics. The Fantastics were called back into the RCA studios on October 20, 1959 for a second recording session. They recorded “I Got A Zero,” “Angie Lee,” “My Girls,” and “Believe In Me”. In late 1960, Sammy Strain left the Fantastics to hang out with Richard Barrett and sing with the Impacts.   

    Sonny Forrest, Larry Lawrence, Fred Warner, Sammy Strain, James Sutton

    The Fantastics continued singing after Sammy Strain left the group. They acquired a new first tenor named Nick Nicholson. They continued singing as the Fantastics for the next couple years. Eric Bernay the owner of A-1 Records  decided to rename the group the Keynoters and record them on his Keynote label. Keynote had been an important indie label for jazz folk and Gospel music in the 1940’s  The Keynoters recorded “I Wanna Know Who” backed with “Come Back Home” for Keynote Records. “I Wanna Know Who” . The group soon went back to being the Fantastics. 


    The Fantastics                                                                                 The V.I.P.S

    Billy Sutton left the group and was replaced for a short time by Danny Hicks of the Continentals. In 1964, Larry Lawrence, Fred Warner and Nick Nicholson formed the V.I.P.’s, along with Horace Brooks from the Impacts and Blue Chips and a female singer, Jackie Carter.  They used to rehearse at the Brill Building on Broadway and the producer’s name was Bill Giant who lived in Matawan, New Jersey. The V.I.P.’s recorded three records for Bigtop Records.

    Songs :
    (updated by Hans-Joachim)

    The Fantastics (1)

    Believe in me                    There goes my love                 Millionaire Hobo

    This is my wedding day            Dancing doll                    I told you once

    I got a zero                              My girl                             Angie Lee

    Drum Beat                            My Buddy's Girl


    The Pharoes

    Rocket 88                            Bye Bye Baby


    The Keynoters (2)

    Come Back Home                 I Wanna Know Who




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