The Mellotones (2) aka The Mellokings aka The Mello-Kings
The Mellotones (2) (Mount Vernon, New York)
aka The Mellokings aka The Mello-Kings
Jerry Scholl (Lead)
Bob Scholl (Tenor)
Eddie Quinn (Second Tenor)
Neil Arena (Baritone)
Larry Esposito (Bass)
1957 - Tonite, Tonite / Do Baby Do (Herald 502)
1957 - Tonite, Tonite / Do Baby Do (Herald 502)
1957 - Chapel On The Hill / Sassafras (Herald 507)
1957 - Baby Tell Me (Why, Why, Why) / The Only Girl (Herald 511)
1958 - Valerie / She's Real Cool (Herald 518)
1959 - Chip Chip / Running To You (Herald 536)
1960 - Our Love Is Beautiful / Dear Mr. Jock (Herald 548)
1960 - Kid Stuff / I Promise (Herald 554)
1961 - Penny /' Till There Was None (Herald 1961)
1961 - Love At First Sight / She's Real Cool (Herald 567)
1965 - Tonight, Tonight / Thrill Me (Flashback 2)
1977 - Tonight, Tonight / Chapel On The Hill (Janus 722)
1962 - But You Lied / Walk Softly (Lescay 3009)
1966 - Tonite Tonite / Chip Chip (Lana 124)
1958 -The Fabulous Mello.Kings (Herald EP 451)
Tonite Tonite / She's Real Cool / The Only Girl (I'll Ever Love) / Do Baby Do
1960 - The Mellokings Sing (Herald LP-1013)
Tonight Tonight / I Promise, Our Love Is Beautiful / Sassafras / The Only Girl / Once On A Windy Day / Kid Stuff / Chapel On The Hill /Starbright / Valarie / Chip Chip / Baby Tell Me (Why, Why, Why)
1981 - The Mellokings "Greatest Hits" (Relic 5035/Herald LP-1013)
Tonite Tonite / She's Real Cool / The Only Girl (I'll Ever Love) / Do Baby Do / Chapel On The Hill / Dear Mr. Jock / Kid Stuff / Thrill Me / Valerie / Love At First Sight / Running To You / Baby Tell Me / Til There Were None / Sassafras / Our Love Is Beautiful / I Promise / Chip Chip / Penny
The group formed in 1956 in Mount Vernon, New York . By the fall of 1956, they were calling themselves the Mellotones, gaining attention in the local area and catching the ear of a black pianist named Dick Levister, who offered to become the group's manager and accompany them during live performances. It was Levister who brought them to the attention of Al Silver, who owned both the Herald and Ember labels.
Silver, one of the pioneering R&B label owners, had by this point already recorded and released numerous hit singles by acts , including the Nutmegs , the Five Satins (whose "In the Still of the Night," a smash in 1956, had been leased to Ember; they later scored a hit for the label with "To the Aisle," a Top Ten R&B hit -- number 25 pop -- in the summer of 1957), and the Turbans (whose "When You Dance" was the group's best charter for Herald").
Silver liked what he heard and the group -- with their trademark white jackets (at Levister's insistence, supposedly) - helped them forge an identity with the teenage public. For the Mellotones' first release, Silver chose a tune called "Tonite, Tonite" (Herald number 502), written by Billy Myles (who also penned "All My Love You Were Made For" with Jackie Wilson). It was released during the summer of 1957 and became an immediate regional smash hit.
Unfortunately, Silver discovered too late that there was already a record out that summer on George Goldner's Gee label by a group called the Mello-Tones, (their "Rosie Lee" later climbed into the Top 24 on the pop charts). A quick name change was in order and using Levister's nickname "King," "Tonite, Tonite" (Herald number 502) was quickly re-released as by the Mello-Kings.
The single was a big seller in the Northeast, again having regional ties. They made more than one TV appearance with Dick Clark on both the daily American Bandstand and his weekly Saturday Night show for ABC network. The follow-up single in September 1957, Chapel On The Hill was another lovely ballad while the flip, Sassafras was more of a novelty teen rock ‘n’ roller. Before the year was out Herald released a third single, the uptempo Baby Tell Me Why, Why, Why and the ballad The Only Girl.
Despite promotional appearances and national exposure on the likes of American Bandstand and working an Irvin Feld 17 day tour featuring the Everly Brothers, the Crickets, the Rays, the Hollywood Flames, Eddie Cochran, and Jimmy Rodgers, they still couldn’t crack the charts.
In the spring of 1958, the Mellokings became a four-piece when Neil Arena left. Mot long after, Larry Esposito also left, and the Mellokings replaced them with Louis Jannacone and Tony Pinto. This was the line-up that recorded Chip Chip in November 1958. Released in January 1959, Chip Chip is a great novelty that had hit record written all over it. The flip Running To You was a nice slowie that had more than a hint of Dion about it.
It was over a year before the next release, another lovely ballad, Our Love Is Beautiful backed by the neat Dear Mr. Jock. By the end of 1960 the group was back to being a quartet with Jerry Scholl, Bobby Scholl, Lou Jannacone, and Tony Pinto. Kid Stuff and I Promise from September ’60 both have their moments but if Valerie and Chip Chip weren’t going to hit, these certainly wouldn’t.
With doo-wop enjoying a second coming as early as 1961, the Mellokings could have been forgiven for thinking that they were finally in the right place as the right time. Penny is heavily stringed but the vocals are nice enough but it was their final Herald release in October where they hit their highest artistic heights since Tonite Tonite. Love At First Sight has everything a classic doo-wop record should have, relentless ooh-ah’s behind a lifting lead vocal. It’s a beauty and with Bobby Scholl sublime. Among the autographs he was signing at the time, the biggest was for a certain Uncle Sam, as he was drafted.
Tonite, Tonite / Do Baby Do Chapel On The Hill / Sassafras
Valerie / She's Real Cool Chip Chip / Running To You
Baby Tell Me (Why...) The Only Girl Our Love Is Beautiful
Dear Mr. Jock Kid Stuff I Promise
Penny Till There Was None Love At First Sight
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