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The Marcels

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Blue Moon / Lucille / Cathy's Clown / Sweet Nothings / The Loco Motion / Stupid Cupid / Little Sister / When You Ask About Love / Elvis Presley, Connie Francis, The Everly Brothers, Little Eva 09:05
Blue Moon (Rerecorded) The Marcels 02:10
Blue Moon The Marcels 02:16
Blue Moon The Marcels 02:11
I Wanna Be the Leader The Marcels 02:22
You Are My Sunshine The Marcels 02:37
Blue Moon The Marcels 03:08
Blue Moon The Marcels 02:13
Blue Moon The Marcels 02:10
Heartaches (Rerecorded) The Marcels 02:28

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The Marcels were a vocal group who sang the close harmony form of R&B called doo-wop that became popular in America in the late 1950s. Doo-wop, which gave standard songs a rock and roll beat, grew out of street corner performances in urban centres such as New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, from where The Marcels emerged in 1959. Lead Cornelius Harp and bass Fred Johnson joined singers Gene Bricker, Ron Mundy and Richard Knauss and they took their name from Johnson's hair style known as the marcel wave. In 1961, they recorded a unique version of the ballad 'Blue Moon' written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in the 1930s that became an international sensation.

The song had been made popular by Billy Eckstein and Mel Tormé in the 1940s and Elvis Presley recorded a version in 1956 but The Marcels gave it a whole new treatment. It zoomed to number one on Billboard's Hot 100 and R&B Charts and the UK's Official Singles Chart. Their immediate success led to tours and television exposure and the group appeared with Chubby Checker in one of the pop exploitation movies of the period, 'Twist Around the Clock', singing 'Merry Twist-mas'. The follow-up single 'Heartaches' reached number seven on the Hot 100 and number 19 on the R&B Chart. They faded quickly, though, and the single 'Summertime' peaked at number 46 in the UK and only 78 in America.

When the group ran into racial hostility in the American South, Gene Bricker and Richard Krauss, who were white, left to be replaced by Fred Johnson's brother Allen and Walt Maddox. Harp and Allen Johnson later quit to be succeeded by Richard Harris and William Herndon. Various line-ups performed under the name The Marcels after that and Harp, Mundy, Johnson and Knauss sang 'Blue Moon' in 1999 on the PBS-TV fundraising show 'Doo Wop 50', which featured other bands from the period including The Platters, The Skyliners, The Cleftones and The Harptones. Harp died in 2013 and Mundy died in 2017.