1964 The Bachelors – Marie
Brothers Conleth and Declan Cluskey invited John Stokes to join their group, The Harmonichords, in 1957. They appeared on a few television shows and then on an Irish radio comedy show for over six months.
Dick Rowe worked in A&R at Decca Records, and in 1960 he convinced the group to change their name to The Bachelors. They began recording for Decca in 1962. Their first chart record was Charmaine, which reached the top ten in both their native Ireland and the UK the next year.
Ernö Rapée and Lew Pollack wrote Charmaine in 1926 and also wrote the song Diane to use as the theme song for the 1927 silent film Seventh Heaven. The Bachelors covered Diane and had their first number one record in the UK. The single also crossed the Atlantic and reached #10 on the US Hot 100 in 1964.
The group had three more top ten singles in the UK and Ireland before 1964 ended. The next year they released the single Marie, a song written by Irving Berlin in 1939. The record again placed in the UK top ten in 1965, but only reached #15 on the US Hot 100.
Four of the group’s hit records had been remakes of songs from films in the twenties. It may or may not be a coincidence, but Country singer Jim Reeves also recorded and released four songs in the fifties that the Bachelors later had hits with: Charmaine, Diane, Ramona, and Marie!
To sound more current, the group covered a song by Simon and Garfunkel in 1966. Sounds of Silence did well for the group in the UK, where the single reached #3, but does not appear they released it as a single in the US.
The group kept recording music through the end of the sixties, but their charting days ended in 1967. They continued appearing in concerts and smaller venues until John and the brothers suffered a bad breakup.
Conleth and Declan began appearing as The New Bachelors and eventually as “Con & Dec, The Bachelors.” The duo recorded some new songs that appeared on a greatest hits album in 2006.
John briefly appeared with Steve Coe as Stokes & Coe and later toured with other musicians as the Bachelors with John Stokes.
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