Sonntag, 4. Mai 2014

The Orlons aka Zip & The Zippers



The Orlons aka Zip & The Zippers
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)


Group members:

1961 – 1964 lineup:

Rosetta Hightower (lead)
Marlena Davis (1st soprano)
Shirley Brickley (2nd soprano)
Stephen Caldwell (male lead and baritone)

1965 – 1967 lineup:

Rosetta Hightower (lead)
Audrey Brickley (1st soprano)
Shirley Brickley (2nd soprano)

Additional vocalists (on several recordings):
Sandy Person, Lillian Washington, Delores "Honey" Wylie, Yvonne Young


Discography:

The Orlons

Singles:

1961 – I’ll Be True / Heart, Darling, Angel (Cameo 198)
1962 - (Happy Birthday) Mr. Twenty-One / Please Let It Be (Cameo 211)
1962 - The Wah-Watusi / Holiday Hill (Cameo 218)
1962 – Don’t Hang Up / The Conservative (Cameo 231)
1963 - South Street / Them Terrible Boots (Cameo 243)
1963 - Not Me / My Best Friend (Cameo 257)
1963 - Crossfire! / It’s No Big Thing (Cameo 273)
1963 - Bon-Doo-Wah / Don’t Throw Your Love Away (Cameo 287)
1964 - Shimmy Shimmy / Everything Nice (Cameo 295)
1964 - Rules Of Love / Heartbreak Hotel (Cameo 319)
1964 – Knock! Knock! (Who’s There) / Goin’ Places (Cameo 332)
1964 - I Ain’t Coming Back / Envy (In My Eyes) (Cameo 346)
1965 - Come On Down Baby / I Ain’t Coming Back (Cameo 352)
1965 – Don’t You Want My Lovin’ / I Can’t Take It (Cameo 372)
1965 - No One But Your Love / Envy (In My Eyes) (Cameo 384)
1966 – Spinnin’ Top / Anyone Who Had A Heart (Calla 113/Planet 117)
1967 - Everything / Keep Your Hands Off My Baby (ABC 10894)
1967 – Kissin’ Time / Once Upon A Time (ABC 10948)

Albums:

1962 - Dedicated To The One I Love / Tonight / Mashed Potato Time / The Plea / Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes) / I’ll Be True / The Wah-Watusi / He's Gone / Let Me In / Over The Mountain, Across The Sea / I Met Him On A Sunday (Ronde Ronde)/ (Happy Birthday) Mr. Twenty- One (Cameo LP 1020)

1963 - Don't Hang Up / The Cha-Cha-Cha / Ride/ He's A Rebel / Big Girls Don't Cry / Keep Your Hands Off My Baby / I’ll Bring It Home To You / Release Me / (Dance With The) Guitar Man / Chains / Stubborn Kind Of Fellow / Pop Pop Pop-Pie (Cameo LP 1033)

1963 - South Street / Walk Right In / We Got Love / Muskrat Ramble / Pokey Lou / Mister Sandman / Don't Let Go / Gather ‘Round / Charlie Brown / Cement Mixer / Big Daddy / Between 18th And 19th On Chestnut Street (Cameo LP 1041)


1963 - Not Me / Forever / Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)/ Mama Didn’t Lie / Something's Got A Hold On Me / For Your Love / Too Strong To Be Strung Along / Bad Boy / He's Braggin’/ He's Sure The Boy I Love / My Best Friend / Darling (Cameo LP 1054)


1963 - The Wah-Watusi / South Street / Not Me / Don’t Hang Up / I’ll Be True / Them Terrible Boots / He’s A Rebel / Keep Your Hands Off My Baby / Something’s Got A Hold On Me / I Met Him On A Sunday (Ronde Ronde) / Dedicated To The One I Love / My Best Friend (Cameo LP 1061)


1963 - Let The Good Times Roll / Tonite Tonite / (I'll Remember) In The Still Of The Nite / Sea Cruise / Little Star / Lovers Never Say Goodbye / Come Go With Me / You Cheated / Deserie / Stranded In The Jungle / Diamonds And Pearls / A Casual Look (Cameo LP 1073)



1963 – Mister Surfer / Surfin’ (Parkway LP 7035)

Unreleased rehearsal:

1961 - Mr. Twenty One (Cameo)
(Shirley Brickley on lead, Rosetta Hightower and Marlena Davis, without Stephen Caldwell)

Zip & The Zippers

1963 - Where You Goin’, Little Boy? / Gig (Pageant 607)

Dee Dee Sharp
(Rosetta Hightower, Shirley Brickley and Marlena Davis on backing vocals)
1962 - Mashed Potato Time / Set My Heart At Ease (Cameo 212)
1962 - Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes) / Baby Cakes (Cameo 219)

Biography:

Fun filled dance tunes were ‘The Orlons’ specialty, making them one of the most popular groups ever to come out of Philadelphia.  The group was originally called ‘Little Audrey and the Teenettes’ in the early 50’s and included sisters, Audrey, Jean and Shirley Brickley along with Rosetta Hightower and Marlene Davis.  When Mama Brickley refused to let the youngest, Audrey, sing with the others in one of Philadelphia’s small clubs, she and her sister Jean quit the group.
 
(L-R) Stephen Caldwell, Marlena Davis, Rosetta Hightower and Shirley Brickley

 Shirley, Rosetta and Marlena continued singing at Overbrook High School and were heard by student Stephen Caldwell, who sang with a local unrecorded group called ‘The Romeos’. Stephen brought his baritone lead to the girls’ attention and soon turned the unnamed trio into a quartet. They subsequently followed in the footsteps of their Overbrook rivals ‘The Cashmeres’ (who later became ‘The Dovells’) by calling themselves ‘The Orlons’.

They practiced at Shirley’s house on songs like “Mama Said” (‘The Shirelles’) and “Stormy Weather” (‘The Spaniels’). They were also influenced by acts like ‘The Chantels’, ‘Ray Charles’ and ‘The Moonglows’.

In the fall of 1961, thanks to an introduction made on their behalf by Len Barry, of ‘The Dovells’, “The Orlons” auditioned for Kal Mann of Cameo Records and were signed almost immediately. Mann/Appell started writing songs for the group. Their first single was “I’ll Be True” lead by Marlena, was described as ‘a sincere piping by the young sounding female on a wistful rock-a-balad about a gal’s message to her GI sweetheart. Wax has a chance. Ditto for their early 1962 follow-up “Happy Birthday Mr. 21”.
 


After backing Dee Dee Sharp (another Cameo artist) on the dance tune “Mashed Potato Time” (#3 POP, #1 R&B), ‘The Orlons’ moved in their own dance tune “Wah Watusi”. On May 26th Billboard cited it as “a solid item for teen buyers. The group sells the rhythmic swinger with enthusiasm and drive, while the combo provides effective backing. Watch it!” In July it danced to number two, with only Boby Vinton’s “Roses are Red” above it. It was at this time that Cameo decided to feature Rosetta (alto), with Shirley (alto), Marlena (soprano) and Stephen (baritone) supporting her.



“Don’t Hang Up” climbed the charts in the fall and winter of 1962 to number four POP, number three R&B and number 39 in the United Kingdom. Their first major performances were in New York’s Apollo Theater with ‘The Crystals’, ‘Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans’, ‘Chuck Jackson’ (whom “the Orlons backed on stage), Tommy Hunt (of ‘The Flamingos’), and Gene Chandler. The Orlons became mainstays of Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars.


The quartet kept up their chart barrage into 1963 with “South Street” (#3 POP, #4 R&B), “Not Me”, (#12 POP, #8 R&B), and “Crossfire” (#19 POP, #25 R&B). By 1964 their style was being swept aside by the British invasion.
 



Marlena Davis left the group in late 1963, although she continued to record with them, and was replaced with Audrey Brickley in 1965. In late 1964 Stephen Caldwell also left the group, and was not replaced.

The Orlons recorded in 1966 for the small Cella label and in 1967 for ABC Records, but the records failed to sell.


Still, with nine charted records and three top five hits, the group was able to work right into the 70’s until Rosetta decided to move to England. Shirley died in 1977. Stephen and Marlena kept the group alive until Marlena passed in 1993. Also in memoriam are Patricia Miller, Audrey Brickley and Alberta Crump. The Orlons have employed many ladies to keep the sound and the group alive. Today’s group is Jean Brickley Maddox, Coco Muhammad, Cynthia Powell and of course Mr. Original Orlons himself, Stephen J. Caldwell.

Sources:


Photo gallery:


Orlons on tour 1960 (JC)
The Orlons at the Airport Inn, Lake George, NY (1965)
Orlons Billboard ad (1963)

Songs:

I’ll Be True

Heart, Darling, Angel





(Happy Birthday) Mr. Twenty-One




Mr. Twenty One (unrel. rehearsal)




Please Let It Be




The Wah-Watusi




Holiday Hill




Don’t Hang Up




The Conservative




South Street




Them Terrible Boots




Not Me




My Best Friend




Crossfire!




It’s No Big Thing




Bon-Doo-Wah




Don’t Throw Your Love Away




Shimmy Shimmy




Everything Nice




Rules Of Love




Heartbreak Hotel




Knock! Knock! (Who’s There)




Goin’ Places




I Ain’t Coming Back




Envy (In My Eyes)




Come On Down Baby




Don’t You Want My Lovin’




I Can’t Take It




No One But Your Love




Spinnin’ Top




Anyone Who Had A Heart




Everything




Keep Your Hands Off My Baby




Kissin’ Time




Once Upon A Time




Dedicated To The One I Love




Tonight




Mashed Potato Time




The Plea




Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)




He’s Gone




Let Me In




Over The Mountain, Across The Sea




I Met Him On A Sunday (Ronde Ronde)




The Cha-Cha-Cha




Ride




He’s A Rebel




Big Girls Don't Cry




I’ll Bring It Home To You




Release Me




(Dance With The) Guitar Man




Chains




Stubborn Kind Of Fellow




Pop Pop Pop-Pie




Walk Right In




We Got Love




Muskrat Ramble




Pokey Lou




Mister Sandman




Don’t Let Go




Gather ‘Round




Charlie Brown




Cement Mixer




Big Daddy




Between 18th And 19th On Chestnut Street




Forever




Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)




Mama Didn’t Lie




Something's Got A Hold On Me




For Your Love




Too Strong To Be Strung Along




Bad Boy




He's Braggin’




He's Sure The Boy I Love




Darling




Let The Good Times Roll




Tonite Tonite




(I'll Remember) In The Still Of The Nite




Sea Cruise




Little Star




Lovers Never Say Goodbye




Come Go With Me




You Cheated




Deserie




Stranded In The Jungle




Diamonds And Pearls




A Casual Look




Mister Surfer




Surfin’




Where You Goin’, Little Boy? / Gig




Mashed Potato Time




Set My Heart At Ease




Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)




Baby Cakes

Kommentare:

  1. Big Girls Don't Cry/Pop Pop Pie was issued as a 45 with an odd release #. I know because I have a copy.

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  2. Thanks for the info!
    http://www.45cat.com/record/prc105

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