1958 Four Lads – Enchanted Island
Corrado Codarini, John Bernard Toorish, Rudi Maugeri, and John Perkins were students at the St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto. They began singing as a group. They spelled the city’s name backwards and called their group the Otnorots. Rudi and John Perkins left the group so they would have more time to concentrate on schoolwork. It might have been a missed opportunity for Rudi and John, but the pair went on to be founding members of the Crew Cuts, who also had a series of hits in the Fifties. Two other students at the school took their places in the group: James F. Arnold, and Frank Busseri.
The new group began using the name The Four Dukes, but changed to The Four Lads after they discovered that another group in Detroit was already using that name. They practiced until they were good enough to sing in local clubs, beginning in about 1950. The group then relocated to New York City and sang at an upscale supper club, Le Ruban Bleu. Their engagement there lasted 30 weeks.
Mitch Miller hired the group to sing background vocals for Columbia Records. Singer Johnnie Ray’s number one single, Cry, and its B-side, The Little White Cloud That Cried, both featured the Four Lads singing background vocals.
The group subsequently recorded their own singles and reached the top ten in 1953 with a novelty song, Istanbul (Not Constantinople). More hits followed, including a pair of records from 1955 to 1956 that each reached #2 on the Hot 100. They also reached #3 in 1956 with their cover of Standing On The Corner from the Broadway musical The Most Happy Fella.
In 1958, the group recorded the title song from the film Enchanted Island. They released a single from the soundtrack of the film that reached #12 on the Hot 100.
By the late fifties, the style of music the group was singing was rapidly going out of favor. Their next single was the third time they recorded and released The Mockingbird, a song that used the melody of Goin’ Home from Dvorak’s New World Symphony. The single only reached #32 and became the group’s last top forty hit.
The group continued recording into the early sixties and still performs live (although none of the original members still tour with the group).
The group has sold over 50 million singles and albums.
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