The Passions (1)
The Passions (1) (Brooklyn, New York)
Jimmy Gallagher (Lead)
Tony Armato (First Tenor)
Albee Gallone (Second Tenor)
Vinnie Aceierno (Baritone)
1958 - Tango Of Love / Nervous About Love (Dore 505)
1959 - Just To Be With You / Oh Melancholy Me (Audicon 102)
1960 - I Only Want You / This Is My Love (Audicon 105)
1960 - Gloria / Jungle Drums (Audicon 106)
1960 - Beautiful Dreamer / One Look At You Is All It Look (Audicon 108)
1960 - Made For Lovers / You Don't Love Me Anymore (Audicon 112)
1961 - I Gotta Know / Aphrodite (Octavia 8005)
1962 - Lonely Road / One Look At You Is All It Look (Jubilee 5406)
1963 - The Bully / Empty Seat (ABC 10436)
1963 - Sixteen Candles / The Third Floor (instrumental) (Diamond 146)
One of the best of Brooklyn's white doo wop groups, the Passions helped to further the careers of two top writer/artists. The group members were among those vocalists whose harmony haven was the alley of Loew's Oriental Theatre in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. The nearby Kelly's pool room served as an occasional rehearsal hall.
1958 - The Sinceres
When five of the bunch formed the Overons (who later became the Mystics), the remaining members became the Sinceres. They included Tony Armato, Albee Galione, Vinny Acierno, Nicky Lombardi and John Pangi.The quintet recorded a few demos in 1958, at which time Tony, Albee and Vinny began looking for replacements who were more career-minded.
Another group in Bensonhurst had what they needed; when the three Sinceres heard Runarounds lead singer Jimmy Gallagher, they knew he was the one for them (Jimmy’s previous group, the Palladiyms, included Joe DiBenedetto, who later formed "The Four-evers".)
The Sinceres weren’t sure how to approach Jimmy, so they followed him home one night and knocked on his door. After convincing his mother that they only wanted to sing with her son, not mug him, the foursome went to a nearby park and ended up harmonizing for hours. They were now a quartet, with Jimmy on lead, Tony on first tenor, Albee on second tenor, and Vinnie on baritone.
In 1959, while the Mystics were recording "Hushabye" at their first session, their friend Tony Armato was there cheering them on promoting his own group to their manager, Jim Gribble. Gribble soon signed the Sinceres and renamed them the Passions. He gave them a demo by a duo of studio singers who called themselves the Cousins. The song was "Just to Be with You" written by Mary Kalfin. The Cousins were Paul Simon and Carole King.
Released in August 1959 on Sol Winkler’s Audicon label, the Passions’ impeccable harmonies and Gallagher’s impassioned lead put "Just to Be with You" on radios across America. It was a top 20 hit in many eastern cities and it charted nationally, rising to number 69. The follow-up out of Audicon’s 1674 Broadway digs was twice as good. Both sides—the harmony filled "I Only Want You" and the beautiful Billy Dawn Smith ballad "This Is My Love" –vied for radio play and sales throughout the states.
A reviewer in the in the January 11, 1960, issue of Billboard commented, "The group could score again via either of these rock-a-ballads. On both, the lead comes through with fine readings and he gets good group assists. Both remind of their previous hit, "Just to be with you.’" "I Only Want You" eventually took the lead, but the split play killed any hopes of one single becoming a national hit. "I Only Want You" stopped at number 113 in March 1960.
The group attracted a great deal of attention from these singles and toured with some of the industry’s top talent, including Chubby Checker, Dion & the Belmonts, The Skyliners The Isley Brothers, and of course their Kelly’s pool room pals the Mystics. They also appeared on Dick Clark’s Tver, Alan Freed’s "Big Beat" TV show, and Clay Cole’s show while performing at the Brooklyn Fox with Alan Freed.
By the time the group recorded "Gloria" Vinny had left and been replaced by Gallagher’s friend Lou Rotondo. Also in 1960 Lou Rotondo and Albie Galione, along with Albie Contrera of the Mystics, sang behind Clay Cole on "Here, There, Everywhere" (Roulette), single that became popular in the New York area. Audicon Records lost the group’s next release, the harmony rocker "Made for Lovers."
The group recorded a few more sides for Audicon which were leased to Jubilee and Octavia.By 1962, Gallagher had joined the navy and Gribble had died. The group signed with producer Teddy Vann, ABC Records and drafted Joey O’Neal for the lead. Before Joey could sing, however, Jimmy returned on leave and joined with the Passions to record "The Bully" (ABC, 1963) and an up-tempo version THE CRESTS’ "Sixteen Candles" (Diamond, 1963).
When both went out unpromoted, Gallagher returned to the navy. Graham Lee True (the Hitones, Fonsca) took over the lead, but they only recorded unreleased demos. The group broke up in 1963.
Just To Be With You
This is My Love
Just To Be With You / Oh Melancholy Me I Only Want You / This Is My Love Gloria / Jungle Drums
Beautiful Dreamer Aphrodite Made For Lovers / You Don't Love Me Anymore
Lonely Road / One Look At You Is All It Look The Bully
The Empty Seat Sixteen Candles
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