40 Vocal Groups

Which vocal groups can be mention?

The Dominoes was a rhythm and blues vocal group formed in New York in 1950. It was led by gospel teacher Billy Ward, who had selected the four members from among his best students.

It was the first religious formation to be launched into the secular arena. Its first hit, sixty minute man, featured the voice of bassist Bill Brown but soon featured soloist Clyde McPhatter, who became a star that broke down racial barriers.

The Dominoes – Have Mercy Baby (1952)

Song composed by Billy Ward and Rose Marks, the group’s composer tandem. It marked the appearance of a new style, rhythm and gospel, and shows the skills of Clyde McPhatter.

Billy Ward, was born as Robert Williams, in Savannah (Georgia) in 1921. He grew up in Philadelphia, where he stood out as a musical wunderkind and won a prize for piano composition at the age of 14. He later studied music in Chicago and New York, where he worked as an arranger on Broadway and met his partner, Rose Marks. Attracted by rhythm and blues, he created a vocal group, made up of his students: Clyde McPhatter (tenor soloist), Charlie White (tenor), Joe Lamont (baritone) and Bill Brown (bass). Ward was a pianist and arranger.

How did his career continue?

Tired of the discipline and rigidity of Billy Ward, soloist Clyde McPhatter left to form The Drifters, his place in Dominoes being taken by Jackie Wilson, another gospel man who would become a star as a soloist.

More rock and roll oriented, The Drifters had the support of producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoler. Later, McPhatter would leave again to embark on a solo career, giving up his place to Ben E King, another great figure.

The Drifters – Money Honey (1953)

Song composed by Jesse Stone, composer of great rock and roll songs. It was the first of a long series of hits by this excellent and long-lived vocal group.

Clyde McPhatter was born in Durham, North Carolina, in 1932. As a teenager, he was the lead tenor of a gospel group, which caught the attention of Billy Ward. His work with The Dominoes made him a key figure in doo wop, which had a large following. His new project, the group The Drifters, was received with great expectation, and his first album, Money honey, became a great success the same day it was released. Soon, McPhatter would start a solo career, just as successful.

Who were The Orioles?

The Orioles arrived in New York in 1948 from Baltimore. They set up a repertoire for night clubs, in which their first tenor, Sonny Til, performed with distance. He liked it so much that he created the so-called cool school.

They offered a completely new way of singing and performing to the audience. The dance steps, the clothes, the way they braided figures around the standing microphone, all contributed to making them an archetype to be imitated by black youth.

The Orioles – Crying in the Chapel (1953)

Version of a song composed by Artie Glenn for his son Darrell. It was The Oriols’ biggest hit and has been picked up on several soundtracks, including American Graffiti.

The Orioles were formed in 1947 as The Vibra-Naires, with their manager Deborah Chessler. In April 1948, it appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s show, a radio competition for new talent on a New York station. Shortly afterwards, he managed to record with It’s a Natural label, a subsidiary of Jubilee Records, for which he changed his name to The Orioles, in honor of a very common bird in his native Maryland. Between 1948 and 1954 they were unrivalled. On the same cool wave were The Cardinals or The Spaniels

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