Sunday, 28 August 2016

John Perkins born 28 August 1931

John Perkins (top right in above photo)  (born August 28, 1931) was best known as the lead singer of The Crew Cuts. The Crew-Cuts were a Canadian vocal quartet, that made a number of popular records that charted in the United States and worldwide. They named themselves after the then popular crew cut haircut, one of
the first connections made between pop music and hairstyle. They were most famous for their recording of a cover version of The Chords hit record, "Sh-Boom." 

Other members of the Crew-Cuts were:   Rudi Maugeri (January 21, 1931 - May 7, 2004) (baritone),  Ray Perkins (born November 24, 1932) (bass) (John Perkins' brother)  and   Pat Barrett (born September 15, 1933) (1st or high tenor) 

They all had been members of the St. Michael's Choir School 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 backup vocals on 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 borderline 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, and Niagara Falls, NY area, but saved up their money and drove to New York City, so they could appear on Arthur Godfrey's television and radio program, Talent Scouts, where they came in second to a comedian. While they did get a record with Thrillwood Records and recorded a song titled "Chip, Chip Sing A Song Little Sparrow", 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 an opening act for Gisele MacKenzie at the Casino Theatre. She was impressed with them and commented favourably 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, where they remained for three appearances and also, while in Cleveland, 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. 

The name Crew Cuts refers to their short hair as opposed to long hair, which implied classical music at the time. It was a decade later that long hair came to be associated with the counter-culture movement.  


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 including "Earth Angel" which rose to the number 2 spot on the charts and had great success in England and in Australia.
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 United States. 

The group moved from Mercury to RCA Records in 1958 and eventually broke up in 1964. All the members would eventually move to the United States and in 1977 the members reunited in Nashville on the site of where they recorded some of their biggest hits. In the 1990's the Crew Cuts were inducted into the Juno Hall Of Fame and the original members once again reunited for the ceremony.
John Perkins
John Perkins is the Choir Director at St. Margaret Mary Church in Slidell, Louisiana; Rudi Maugeri worked as a radio station DJ host and programmer in New York and Los Angeles following the Crew Cuts split in 1964. After his 1979 retirement, he and his wife Marilyn opened a wellness centre in L.A. They moved to Las Vegas, where they opened a second branch, in 1990. Maugeri suffered from pancreatic cancer and died at his home on May 7, 2004, in Las Vegas. Pat Barrett lives in New Jersey where he continues to do some writing of music. 
(Info mainly Wikipedia)


boppinbob said...

For “Rock And Roll Bash – Crew Cuts” go here:

01 Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)
02 Earth Angel
03 Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)
04 Crazy 'bout You
05 Gum Drop
06 Angels In The Sky
07 Oop Shoop
08 Don't Be Angry
09 A Story Untold
10 Young Love
11 Seven Days
12 Mostly Martha
13 Tell Me Why
14 Chop Chop Boom
15 I Sit In My Window
16 Be My Only Love
17 Two Hearts
18 Honey Hair, Sugar Lips, Eyes Of Blue
19 This Is My Story
20 Keepers Of The Flame
21 Oh Yes I Know
22 In A Little Spanish Town
23 Out Of The Picture
24 I Like It Like That
25 Fraternity Pin
26 Hey, You Face
27 Love In A Home
28 Do Me Good Baby
29 I Spoke Too Soon
30 Can You Hear Me
31 Angela Mia
32 Moments To Remember

A big thank you to Thierry @ the Vocal Group harmony blog for link.

Jake said...

You're welcome Bob. But who is Thierry ?

boppinbob said...

OOps, apparently he's one of your many followers. I should have scrolled down the page a bit more. Sorry Jake, just put it down to a silver surfer moment!