• The Imperials (1)  (Detroit)
    aka The Four Arcs

    Personnel :

    Milton Harris (Lead Tenor)

    Robert Adams (Baritone / Tenor)

    Lee Goodwin (Second Tenor / Baritone)

    Ben Knight (Bass)



    Discography :

    The Imperials (1)
    1953 - Life Of Ease / It Won't Be Very Long (Great Lake 1201)

    1953 - Starlite /  Do I Love Her (Great Lake 1210)

    1953 - You'll Never Walk Alone / Ain't Gonna Tell It Right (Gem 212/Great Lake 1212)

    The Four Arcs
    1954 - Life Of Ease  / It Won't Be Very Long (Boulevard 102)

    Biography :

    The Imperials started singing together in the choir at Sherod Middle School, with Milton Harris and William "Mickey" Stevenson sharing lead tenor duties. As the Teen Toppers, they had performed one night out infront of the popular Flame Show Bar on John R Road, where they were seen by Phil Waddell, an entertainer who also worked as a booking agent. He placed them at the Graystone Ballroom at 4237 Woodward Avenue, and it was here that they met record shop owner Tony Vance, who offered to manage the group.


    Vance, along with recording engineer Kenneth Campbell, had formed the new Great Lakes record label and built a studio in the former ballroom of the Fairbain Hotel on Columbia Street, in the heart of Paradise Valley. Not wanting the group to be stuck with a "teen" name as they grew older, Vance renamed them the "Imperials," after his new Chrysler. When the Imperials entered the studio to record in November 1953, they were backed up by orchestra leader Sax Kari and his Ballin' the Blues Band.

    Of the six sides they recorded, "Life of Ease," written by Milton Harris, became a local hit in January 1954. The group performed the song at places such as the Chesterfield Lounge, the Sugar Hill Lounge, and the Garfield Lounge. Onstage at the Graystone Ballroom they would perform a wild version of the popular dance the Chicken. Unfortunately, before the group could follow up with another hit, Great Lakes was closed down by two of its principals, who together formed the Boulevard and Avenue labels. In November, for some reason, "Life Of Ease"/"It Won't Be Very Long" were re-issued as Boulevard's third release, but with the group renamed the "4 Arcs" (the guys were completely unaware of this).



    Songs :
     (updated by Hans-Joachim)

    Life Of Ease / It Won't Be Very Long             You'll Never Walk Alone / Ain't Gonna Tell It Right


    Starlite /  Do I Love Her




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