• Little Jimmy & The Tops (Harlem, New York)

    Personnel :

    Little Jimmy Rivers (Lead)

    Sylvia Peterson

    Eddie Bonelli

    Vernon Rivers

    Moses Groves (Bass)

    Discography :

    Little Jimmy & The Tops
    1959 -    Puppy Love / Say You Love Me  (V-Tone 102/Len 1011/Swan 4091)

    The Extroads
    1966 - The Verge / Can’t Get Over You Out Of My Mind (Unreleased )

    Biography :

    Four childhood friends began singing street corner harmony in the mid-1950’s as the Young Lads. The original group, consisted of Vernon Rivers, his younger brother Jimmy Rivers, Eddie Bonelli and Louis Brown. Looking for a bass singer Moses Groves replace Louis Brown in the group.

    Joyce Patterson                                                          Richard Barrett

    Singer & songwriter Ronald “Rocco” Mack began working with the Young Lads, teaching them harmony and giving them some of the songs he’d written, he suggested they add a girl to the group. He introduced them to Sylvia Patterson, younger sister of Joyce Patterson of the Highlights.  The new name of the group became Four Bees and a Gee (for 4 boys and a girl).

    L to R : Sylvia Peterson, Moses Groves Eddie Bonelli, Vernon Rivers. Bottom: Little Jimmy Rivers.

    Somehow, the group got to George Goldner’s offices of Gone and End Records where they ran into Richard Barrett, mentor to the Teenagers, Chantels, Imperials and dozens of other artists. Richard Barrett renamed the group the Tops and eventually made arrangements for them to record.  “Puppy Love” b/w “Say You Love Me” first came out in late 1958 or early 1959 on the V-Tone label with the artist listed as “The Tops”.


    V-Tone was a Philadelphia-based record label owned and operated by Venton L. (for Len) “Buddy” Caldwell. The song actually garnered a lot of airplay on the east coast, and was soon issued on Caldwell's Len label, likely early 1961. Swan issued the record to distribute it outside the east coast. In 1962 Sylvia Peterson sang with the Chiffons.

    L to R: Eleanor Carter, Jimmy Rivers (at piano), Vernon River, Moses Groves

    After getting out of the service, Moses Groves, Vernon Rivers got back together with Jimmy Rivers and Eleanor Carter as a group in 1966. They began calling the group the Extroads and recorded a couple of demos on a song they’d written called “The Verge”. The song has a strong Northern Soul sound and may soon be released in the UK.

    Songs :

    Puppy Love                                        Say You Love Me


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