The Marcels

February 14, 2012 366 No of hits
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The Marcels

The Marcels were an American doo wop vocal group which formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and who were widely credited with the re-popularization of doo wop and transposing pop classics into rock and roll. Their biggest hit was their version of "Blue Moon," a 1934 ballad written by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. The Marcels were formed in 1959 and led by Cornelius Harp. In addition to Cornelius Harp, the group originally included vocalists Fred Johnson, Ron Mundy, Gene Bricker, and Richard Knauss. The name "The Marcels" came from Fred Johnson's younger sister, and was the nickname for the popular hairstyle the Marcel wave, which Cornelius Harp sported.

The Marcels sent a demo tape of various cover songs to Colpix, a record label associated with Columbia, and it was a Colpix producer who asked the group to sing "Blue Moon." As luck would have it, he had originally asked the group to sing "Heart and Soul," but not everyone in the group knew the words. The recording of "Blue Moon" was released in 1961, and immediately became a #1 hit in the U.S. and the U.K., and also hit the top of the charts in Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany.

Unfortunately, while touring in the deep South in 1961 where racial tensions were rampant, The Marcels encountered problems because the group was bi-racial. The white members of the Marcels, Richard Knauss and Gene Bricker, left the group and were replaced by Allen Johnson and Walt Maddox. Maddox, who sang on street corners in Pittsburgh as a teen, is now the sole owner and manager of The Marcels, and still tours with the group. The lineup changed again in 1962, when Cornelius Harp departed along with Allen Johnson and the two were replaced by William Herndon and Richard Harris. Cornelius Harp later returned to the group and made several recordings with them in 1975.

Although The Marcels never had another hit as big as "Blue Moon," their recordings "Heartaches" and "Melancholy Baby" were commercial successes. Still recognized as talented singers and important players on the music scene, the Marcels were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.

Tags:   The Marcels   Marcels   Blue Moon   Cornelius Harp   Colpix   Allen Johnson   Fred Johnson   Richard Knauss  

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The Marcels were an American doo wop vocal group which formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and who were widely credited with the re-popularization of doo wop and transposing pop classics into rock and roll. Their biggest hit was their version of "Blue Moon," a 1934 ballad written by Richard Rogers...

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