1974 The DeFranco Family – Save The Last Dance For Me
The DeFranco Family were five members of a Canadian family from Ontario: Benny on guitar, Marisa on keyboards, Merlina on drums, Nino on guitar, and lead singer Tony.
The editor of Tiger Beat magazine heard a demo from the group and convinced Charles Laufer to fly the group to Los Angeles to record some additional demos. The group signed with Laufer Entertainment, and that led to a recording contract with 21st Century Records. The group was fronted by thirteen-year-old Tony, who was perfect for pre-teens who felt Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson were getting too old.
The first single from the group was Heartbeat–It’s A Lovebeat, which reached #3 on the Hot 100 in 1973. The group appeared on several of Dick Clark’s shows for both lip-syncing and interviews.
Their second single petered out when it reached #32.
The group recorded a second album, and the title song became their third (and final) top forty single, their cover of Save The Last Dance For Me.
The single only reached #18 on the Hot 100 in the Summer of 1974, but it nearly sold a million copies.
The group became disenchanted with their record company because they wanted to record new music, not covers. The group broke from their record label and their manager/publisher.
The group continued to tour and even played in Las Vegas until they broke up in 1978. They tried to capitalize on a reunion in 1999 and 2000, but since then, only Tony and his sister Marisa sing in public.
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