• The Wigs (Cleveland, Ohio)

    Personnel :

    Arthur Blackley (Lead)

    Albert Banks (Tenor)

    Leroy McQueen (Baritone)

    Arthur Porter (Bass)

    Discography :

    1964 - Sweeter Than Wine / Chicken Switch (Golden Crest 592)

    Biography :

    Albert Banks & Leroy McQueen had formerly been with billy Wells & The Crescents, who recorded for the reserve Label.
    To be different, they decided to jettison the Crescents and renamed themselves the Wigs, after the Whig Political Party. Sid had colonial costumes made for them, complete with every detail from head to toe. The costumes were topped off with authentic looking wigs. The group was a sight to behold. Friedman called Carl Maduri (who later hit with Wild Cherry), and he struck a deal for them with Golden Crest Records, where they enjoyed a second release, "Sweeter Than Wine," and then "Chicken Switch," as the Wigs, in 1964.

    Carl and Sid gave the guys a hot beginning, including a parade on Euclid Avenue, and an autograph session at Higbee's Department store, piggybacking on Connie Francis who was there signing autographs. Afterwards, they did an interview at WJW Television, and a red carpet was rolled out for them to walk on. The red carpet became their trademark and they used it whenever they came on stage. Johnson Publications (Jet and Ebony magazines) had a journalist/photographer interview and photograph them. The photo was featured in the Picture of the Week section of Jet. The exposure in Jet led to the Wigs' most prestigious gig, opening for Mary Wells at Leo's Casino in Cleveland, OH. As the Crescents, and the Wigs, the guys hung around approximately ten years, from 1956 to 1966.

    They only recorded two singles, but they did do the background vocals for Clark Vaden's 45 release, "Irene," and "You Can Make It If You Try," on Reserve Records. In addition, Friedman had snatched the writers' credit from the guys. "You're Sweeter Than Wine" lists Carl Maduri and Sid Friedman as the writers, when the credit should have gone solely to Al Banks. Only Friedman's name is listed as the composer of "Chicken Switch," when the song was actually a group effort by Blakey, Banks, McQueen and Porter.

    Song :

    Sweeter Than Wine                      Chicken Switch

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