Glenmore Jackson, Ross Buford, Leroy Binns, Stephen Brown & Joe Grier
The Charts (Harlem, New York)
Joe Grier (Lead)
Stephen Brown (First Tenor)
Glenmore Jackson (Second Tenor)
Leroy Binns (Baritone)
Ross Buford (Bass)
1957 - Deserie / Zoop (Everlast 5001)
1957 - Dance Girl / Why Do You Cry (Everlast 5002)
1958 - You're The Reason / I've Been Wondering (Everlast 5006)
1958 - All Because Of Love / I Told You So (Everlast 5008)
1958 - My Diane / Baby Be Mine (Everlast 5010)
1963 - What's Your Excuse / Keep Dancing With Me(Vel-V-Tone 102)
1965 - Deserie / I Wanna Take You Home (not by the Charts) (Lana 117)
1966 - Desiree / Fell In Love With You Baby (Wand 1112)
1966 - Livin' The Nightlife / Nobody Made You Love Me (Wand 1124)
A group of Harlem teenagers had a dream. The dream was to make the charts… and they did. The Charts were probably one of the only groups in America to get booed off the stage at an Apollo Theatre amateur night and still go on to success. One of those New York City street-gang vocal groups (like the Juveniles on Mode and The Belmonts on Laurie), the Charts must have seemed like a logical next step when street fighting lost its charm. Originally eight gang members from the 115th Street area, the group had pared itself down to a quintet by late 1956, leaving Joe Grier (lead), Leroy Binns (first tenor), Steven Brown (second tenor), Glenmore Jackson (baritone), and Ross Bu- ford (bass).
At The Apollo , July 1961 - Joel Gray, Leroy Binns, Stephen Brown
They practiced on street corners and in hallways until they felt ready for the stairway to stardom that was the Apollo's Tuesday night amateur competition. Always scanning Billboard magazine, the group decided to name themselves after name themselves after Billboards hits list with the intent of one day seeing themselves on the charts . Joe Grier, the oldest member at 17, wrote a song entitled "Deserie" that fit the group's raw, free-form style perfectly. While the first and second tenor and baritone "wah wah-ed" and the bass "aye yah-ed," Joe alternated between a smokey-voiced lead and a soaring falsetto that reminded many of a yodel. It was this sound coupled with "Deserie's" three slow and seemingly endless verses (with no chorus or bridge) that the Apollo crowd heard on that fateful night, and sure enough the combination was too weird to be taken seriously.
The group wah-wahed its way through the boos. Shaken (but not stirred) they barely made it off the stage. Among the onlookers, however, was one Les Cooper , formerly of the Whirlers on Bobby Robinsons Whirling Disc label and a member of the Empires on Harlem, Whirling Disc, and Wing. Cooper felt this unusual sound had potential and immediately introduced himself to the nervous teens. Shortly after the Apollo fiasco, Cooper — now the group's manager — introduced them to Dan Robinson (Bobby's brother), who was starting his own label. By June 1957, Everlast 5001 was being played all over the tri-state area.By July 15, 1957, it had reached Billboard's Pop chart spending four weeks in the rarified air of success and peaking at number 88.
"Deserie" became a huge East Coast doo wop cult classic and has been listed among the top 10 oldies of the New York area each year for more than three decades. Such was and is the extent of the record's airplay that in the more than 30 years since its release it's reported to have sold well over a million singles. (Good for the group but not too good for young Joe Grier, who had sold off the writer's share of the song to a photographer of the stars named James Kriegsman .) Meanwhile the B side, "Zoop," an up-tempo, infectious rocker, was getting lots of play on its own. It was a quality cut in an era when B sides were often throwaways. The group next released "Dance Girl," a "Zoop"-like recording that featured Joe Grier's immediately identifiable nasal rock sound. It saw local activity but neither " Girl" nor its beautiful ballad B side "Why Do You Cry" reached sales levels as high as they deserved. The single "You're the Reason" (arguably their best ballad) closed out 1957 with little fanfare; "their Latin-based "All Because of love" had the same non-effect on the general population during its early 1958 run.
The Charts - 1966 - Top : Tonny Harris, Leroy Binns - Bottom Frankie Pierce and Stephen Brown
The group's last Everlast single was a "Deserie" sound-alike entitled "My Dianne" (Spring 1958) which had absolutely no exposure and therefore no chance to chart. Joe Grier joined the service after "My Diane" flopped, and the group disbanded. When Joe returned he hooked up with his old manager to play tenor sax on a composition entitled "Wiggle Wobble." The contagious instrumental became a number 22 hit for Les Cooper and the Soul Rockers. Grier never returned to the Charts, but a revised group (that included holdovers Steven Brown [now on lead] and Leroy Binns [now on bass] along with newcomers Frank ie Fears and Tony Harris) recorded an up-tempo powerhouse version of "Deserie" on Wand Records in 1966. It Flopped. its follow-up ("Living the Nightlife") failed, and the group once again dispersed, only to be reincarnated in 1976 as the Twelfth of Never.
American Singing Groups: A History from 1940s to Today (Jay Warner)
Deserie Zoop Dance Girl
Why Do You Cry You're The Reason I've Been Wondering
All Because Of Love I Told You So My Diane
Baby Be Mine What's Your Excuse Keep Dancing With Me
Deserie Fell In Love With You Baby Deserie
Livin' The Nightlife Nobody Made You Love Me