1959 Fiestas – So Fine
Johnny Otis has been called the “Godfather of Rhythm and Blues” thanks to a long career as a singer, songwriter, composer and arranger, and even a bandleader in the forties. He also discovered a great number of future stars.
In 1955, the Sheiks recorded So Fine, a song that Johnny had written. Their recording failed to reach the Hot 100 at all.
Years later, the owner of Old Town Records, Hy Weiss, overheard some singing from the bathroom that was next door to his “office” (a cloakroom in a theater in Harlem). Upon further investigation, he discovered the Fiestas: lead singer Tommy Bullock and backup singers Sam Ingalls, Preston Lane, and Eddie Morris. The members were from Newark, New Jersey, where they had been singing together since 1958.
The group signed with the label and began recording in 1959.
Their first single, So Fine, credited Jim Gribble as the writer of the song. Johnny Otis filed suit against everybody involved, and evidence of the 1955 recording helped him win his case.
The single by the Fiestas reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart.
The group continued recording for Old Town Records for several years but never reached the Hot 100 again. Their 1962 recording of Broken Heart peaked at #18 on the R&B chart, but their contract with their record label ended by 1965. The group recorded for a few other labels into the seventies, after which they simply continued appearing in oldies shows.
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