1959 The Mystics – Hushabye
Al Contrera, Albee Cracolici, Phil Cracolici, Bob Ferrante, and George Galfo were five singers in Brooklyn who formed the Overons in the late fifties. The group signed with Laurie Records and had to come up with a new name. Following their manager’s suggestion, they each wrote a new name on a piece of paper and dropped the names into a hat. Somebody pulled one piece of paper out of the hat and their name became The Mystics.
They recorded Wimoweh (the song the Tokens turned into The Lion Sleeps Tonight) and Adam And Eve, but their record label did not like the results. The label hired Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman to write a new song for the group. Their first offering was A Teenager In Love. The label gave that song to Dion and the Belmonts, who turned it into a #5 single in 1959.
The writers based their next try on the first lines of an old lullaby, All the Pretty Horses. The group recorded Hushabye as a doo-wop tune, and the single entered the charts in May 1959. The record got a bump when Alan Freed began signing off his Saturday night show with the song. The record spent 15 weeks on the Hot 100 and finally peaked at #20.
The Mystics only reached the Hot 100 one more time when their next single spent a week or two at #98.
The lead singer left the group in 1960, and Jerry Landis took his place for a brief time. Jerry left and rejoined his partner Tom, and the pair eventually began appearing as Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.
The next lead singer who joined the group was John “Jay” Traynor. Jay left the group to form Jay and the Americans and sang lead on She Cried, a #5 single in 1962.
The Mystics disbanded in 1961.
The Beach Boys covered the song on their All Summer Long album in 1964, with Brian and Mike sharing lead vocals.
Jay and the Americans picked up Jay Black as a replacement when the first Jay left the group. After their series of hit singles stalled in 1966, they recorded an album covering oldies in 1968. This Magic Moment reached #5 in early 1969, and three more charting singles followed. They reached #62 with their cover of Hushabye.
Perhaps the limited success of the new version of Hushabye had an unanticipated effect: the original five members of the Mystics reformed the group in 1969 and began appearing in oldies shows. From time to time the lineup changed, but at least two original members of the group still appear as shown on their website at https://www.theoriginalmystics.com/
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