Gene Serina (1963)
The Vels (2) (Lower East Side, New York)
aka The Styles (2)
The Vels (2)
1963 - Do The Walk / In-Laws (Amy 881)
The Styles (2)
1964 - School Bells To Chapel Bells / I Love You For Sentimental Reasons (Josie 920)
The group first began on the lower east side of New York City in 1958, when 4 young men, ranging in age from 13 to 15 and attending Junior High School 22, first harmonized on street corners, hallways and subway stations perfecting their own unique style. This perfection earned the group invitations to perform at block parties, school functions and becoming the wishful entertainment for everyone’s house parties. This first group was called The Financials with Ruben Mangual, Orvin Baptiste, Rick Pettignano & Gene Serina. Soon after, Ruben introduced George West (a high school friend) to the group, rounding out The Financials to a full 5 man vocal group.
Jerry Landis AKA Paul Simon
In 1961 the group decided to change the group name from it's wall street sounding Financials to something shorter and slicker and they came up with “The Vels”. In late 1962, the group's manager, Rick Pettignano Sr. (father of group member Rick Pettignano Jr.), landed a recording contract for The Vels with Amy Records (1650 Broadway, NY) and their first record was released in 1963 (Amy #881) “Do The Walk” / “In Laws”, produced by Jerry Landis AKA Paul Simon (of Simon & Garfunkel Fame). One year later the group was approached by singer, song writer and producer Vinny Catalano and his partner Pete Alonso for a project he felt was perfect for our group. Before the recording date Gene Serina was inducted into the US Army and was replaced by neighborhood friend Tony Duran.
The group then recorded "School Bells To Chapel Bells" & "I Love You For Sentimental Reasons". Producer Catalano shopped the recordings to Josie Records (a subsidiary of Jubilee Records) and the group was singed to the label. Executives at Josie Records did not like the groups name "The Vels", they changed it to The Styles and released the recordings in 1964 (Josie Records Catalog #920). The Trademark for the name The Styles was granted to another entity in 2014 which now prohibits us from using the name professionally.
The Vels / Styles (2014) Top : George West, Gene Serina & Ruben Mangual - Bottom Rick Pettignano
Gene Serina returned from the Army and was brought back into the group. There were a few personnel changes within the group. The group lost Ruben Mangual, Tony Duran & George West leaving Rick Pettignano, Orvin Baptiste & Gene Serina. They added neighborhood friend Eddie Lebron bringing the group to 4 members. In late 1965 record producer, Joe Webb (who was the manager of the original Bobbettes) asked Eddie Lebron & Gene Serina, (formerly with the The Styles vocal group whose name we can no longer use due to US Trademark issues) if they would be interested in meeting with 2 members of a Long Island group called The Lost Souls who had recorded "Little Eva" as The Locomotions for Gone Records.
The Vels (2)
Do The Walk In-Laws
The Styles (2)
School Bells To Chapel Bells I Love You For Sentimental Reasons