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The Crew-Cuts

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The Crew-Cuts were a Canadian vocal quartet that made a number of popular records that charted in the United States of America.

They were Rudi Maugeri (January 21, 1931-May 7, 2004) (baritone), John Perkins (born August 28, 1931) (lead), Ray Perkins (born November 28, 1932) (bass), and Pat Barrett (born September 15, 1933) (tenor), originally all members of the St. Michael's Boys' Choir in Toronto, which also spawned another famous quartet, The Four Lads. Maugeri, John Perkins, and two others (Bernard Toorish and Connie Codarini) who later were among the Four Lads first formed a group called The Jordonaires (not to be confused with a similarly named group, The Jordanaires, that was known for singing Elvis Presley's hits) and also The Otnorots ("Toronto" spelled backwards being "Otnorot"), but they split from the group to finish high school. When the Four Lads returned to Toronto for a homecoming concert, John Perkins and Maugeri ran into each other and decided that they could themselves have a musical future. They joined with Barrett and Ray Perkins in March 1952. The group was originally called The Four Tones (not to be confused with The Four Tunes, a group on the bordereline between pop music and rhythm and blues).

A Toronto disk jockey, Barry Nesbitt, put them on his weekly teen show, whose audience gave the group a new name, The Canadaires. All four of the members were at the time working at jobs with the Ontario government, but quit their jobs to sing full-time. They worked clubs in the Niagara Falls, Ontario area, but saved up their money and drove to New York City, so they could appear on Arthur Godfrey's television/radio program, Talent Scouts, where they came in second to a comedian. This led to no improvement in their fortune, however, and they continued playing minor night clubs.

In March 1953, they returned to Toronto and appeared as a backup act for Gisele MacKenzie. She was impressed with them and commented favorably to her record label, but could not remember the group's name!

They were playing in a Sudbury, Ontario night club in a sub-zero Canadian winter when they received notice that they had been invited to appear as a guest on a Cleveland television program. They drove 600 miles at -40° temperatures to appear on the Gene Carroll show, and also, while in Clevelend, met local disk jockey Bill Randle. On his show, on Cleveland AM radio station WERE, he coined the name that would from that point on belong to the group. In addition, Randle arranged for them to audition with Mercury Records, who liked them enough to sign the quartet to a contract.

Although their first hit, "Crazy 'Bout You, Baby," was written by Maugeri and Barrett themselves, they quickly became specialists in cover recordings of originally-R&B songs. Their first cover, "Sh-Boom" (of which the R&B original was recorded by The Chords) hit #1 on the charts in 1954. A number of other hits followed.

Interestingly, many of the non-cover songs of theirs that became hits in Canada were unknown in the United States of America, while it was only their covers that had great success in the USA.

The group moved from Mercury to RCA Records in 1958 and eventually broke up in 1964, but they all moved to the USA and reunited in Nashville, Tennessee in 1977. In the 1990s they were inducted into the Juno Hall of Fame.

Songs

  • All I Wanna Do (1954) (flip side of "The Barking Dog")
  • Angels In The Sky (1955) (flip side of "Mostly Martha")
  • The Barking Dog (1954) (flip side of "All I Wanna Do")
  • Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (1956) (The best known version of this song was a much-earlier one by The Andrews Sisters.)
  • Be My Only Love (1957)
  • Chop Chop Boom (1955)
  • Crazy 'Bout You Baby (1954)
  • Dance Mr. Snowman Dance (1954)
  • Don't Be Angry (1955)
  • Earth Angel (1955) (flip side of "Ko Ko Mo")
  • Forever, My Darling (1958) (flip side of "Hey! Stella")
  • Gumdrop (1955)
  • Halls Of Ivy (1956) (This song was used as theme music for a television program of the same name.)
  • Hey! Stella (1958) (flip side of "Forever, My Darling")
  • I Like It Like That (1957)
  • I Sit In The Window (1957)
  • Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So) (1955) (flip side of "Earth Angel")
  • Legend Of Gunga Din (1959)
  • Love In A Home (1956)
  • Mostly Martha (1955) (flip side of "Angels In The Sky")
  • Oop-Shoop (1954)
  • Over The Mountain (1959)
  • Seven Days (1956)
  • Sh-Boom (1954)
  • Slam Bam (1955)
  • A Story Untold (1955)
  • Suzie Q (1957)
  • Tell Me Why (1956) (This song was better known in a version by The Four Aces.)
  • Unchained Melody (1955) (This song was better known in versions by Al Hibbler and Les Baxter.)
  • Whatever, Whenever, Whoever (1957)
  • The Whippenpoof Song (1955)
  • Young Love (1957) (This song was better known in versions by Sonny James and Pat Boone.)

External links

  • Crew-Cuts page on Jam! Music (http://www.canoe.ca/JamMusicPopEncycloPagesC/crew.html) site
  • Crew-Cuts page on MusicWeb (http://www.musicweb.uk.net/encyclopaedia/c/C270.HTM) site
  • Crew-Cuts page on VH1 (http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/crew_cuts/artist.jhtml) site
  • Biographical info on ArtistDirect.com (http://ubl.artistdirect.com/music/artist/bio/0,,418585,00.html?artist=The+Crew+Cuts)
  • Obituaries for Rudi Maugeri (http://www.waxmuseum.net/RudyMaugeri.html)
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