1963 The Classics – Till Then
Brooklyn singers Johnny Gambale, Emil Stucchio, Jamie Troy, and Tony Victor formed the Perennials in the late fifties. They changed their name to The Classics and released several singles in the late fifties and early sixties with only very minor success.
In 1961, the Pittsburgh-based group the Marcels began recording an updated version of the 1949 ballad Blue Moon for Colpix with producer Stu Phillips. The group usually sang a cover of the song Zoom, and Stu had them sing part of that song as the intro on their recording, resulting in an unmistakable record.
Herb Lance was a soul singer who first charted in 1949. In 1961, he recorded a version of Blue Moon with the Classics singing backgrounds for him. Their single starts with almost an identical bass line of nonsense syllables, so it’s likely somebody heard and copied the Marcels’ version of the song.
Both versions of the song broke on the Hot 100 on the March 6, 1961 chart. The Marcels started out at #87 while the version credited to The Classics came onto the chart at #85. The next week the two versions came in at #59 and #65, respectively. The big difference came in week three: Marcels at #21 and Classics at #55. Two weeks later, the Marcels had the number one song in the land, and the Classics (now credited on the chart as Herb Lance and the Classics) dropped back to #63.
The Mills Brothers had a top ten single in 1944 with the song Till Then.
The Classics (without Herb) recorded a cover version of the song that peaked at #20 on the Hot 100 in 1963.
That was the group’s last visit to the Hot 100. They split up in 1966.
The group’s manager noticed when a group from Atlanta calling itself The Classics started getting airplay with the song Pollyanna. Contact was made, and after the threat of legal action, the new group changed its name to the Classics IV.
Emil and Jamie began touring with some new members as The Profits in the early seventies before changing their name back to The Classics. The band continued touring on the oldies circuit through at least 2003.
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