November 30, 2004

SJP


Artist: Crew Cuts




Rudi Maugeri (baritone)
John Perkins (lead)
Ray Perkins (bass)
Pat Barrett (tenor)

Toronto's The Crew Cuts were a doo-wop group with a clean-cut white harmony glee-club approach who got together while members of the St. Michael's Boys Choir in Toronto who lived and rehearsed on Pickering Street.

Maugeri and John Perkins first started singing in a quartet called the Jordonaires (not to be confused with the Elvis Presley group) with two others who would later join The Four Lads. Maugeri and Perkins both quit the group to finish high school and later joined Barrett and Ray Perkins in a group called the Four Tones in March 1952.

Toronto deejay Barry Nesbitt heard them sing and invited them to sing on his weekly teen show whose audience members dubbed them The Canadaires. As steady work began trickling in, Maugeri and Barrett quit their Ontario government jobs as did the two Perkins.

While working the lowly Niagara Falls club circuit they saved some money, drove to New York City and entered a talent contest on the 'Arthur Godfrey Talent Hunt' where they came in second place. The contest led to nowhere but more rundown clubs.

In March 1953 they returned to Toronto to appear with star Gisele Mackenzie who was so impressed with the quartet she raved about them to her record label but unfortunately couldn't remember the group's name.

While playing in the sub-zero winter of a Sudbury nightclub the group received word from their agent that they had a guest spot on a Cleveland TV show. With no heat in their car they travelled 600 miles at forty degrees below zero to appear on the 'Gene Carroll Show. They were later introduced to WERE-AM deejay Bill Randle who coined their name after seeing their similar haircuts. Randle soon booked them an audition with Mercury Records who quickly signed the quartet.

Though they had self-penned their first charted hit, "Crazy 'Bout You Baby", they would find a new niche with a focus on cover tunes originally recorded by R&B/doo wop vocal groups. Their version of The Chords' "Sh-Boom", with its highly original big-band orchestration, began their string of hits when it went to Number One in 1954.

In 1954, when the band was booked at a Toronto club the city fathers welcomed the group home with a full-blown ticker-tape parade.

The Crew Cuts would frequently find their names on the Top 20 throughout the 1950's by repeating the "Sh-Boom" formula with songs like The Penguins' "Earth Angel", which went to number three, "Gumdrop", "Angels In The Sky", "Mostly Martha" and "Young Love".

As the Crew Cuts mined the R & B back catalogue and brought the ghettoized R & B into the white rock and roll mainstream (albeit with watered down versions), The Crew Cuts would never outsell the sources of their new found inspiration. Ironically, it was their lesser known tunes that charted in Canada while their more popular cover tunes did great chart success in the US.

"Young Love" (an alternate source country classic by Sonny James and later Tab Hunter) was the group's last Top-20 hit in early 1957. Their pop vocal hits on Mercury Records ended by 1958 when they moved onto with RCA and other labels; they 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 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.

with notes from Richard Patterson, Bart Shevory, John B. Young and Joe Matthews.


Singles
1954 All I Wanna Do/The Barking Dog (Mercury) 1954 Crazy 'Bout You Baby (Mercury) 1954 Oop-Shoop (Mercury) 1954 Sh-Boom (Mercury) 1954 Dance Mr. Snowman Dance (Mercury) 1955 The Whippenpoof Song (Mercury) 1955 Earth Angel/Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So) (Mercury) 1955 Chop Chop Boom (Mercury) 1955 Don't Be Angry (Mercury) 1955 A Story Untold (Mercury) 1955 Carmen's Boogie (Mercury) 1955 Gumdrop (Mercury) 1955 Angels In The Sky/Mostly Martha (Mercury) 1955 Slam Bam (Mercury) 1955 Unchained Melody (Mercury) 1956 Seven Days (Mercury) 1956 Tell Me Why (Mercury) 1956 Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (Mercury) 1956 Love In A Home (Mercury) 1956 Halls Of Ivy (Mercury) 1957 Young Love (Mercury) 1957 Whatever, Whenever, Whoever (Mercury) 1957 Suzie Q (Mercury) 1957 I Sit In The Window (Mercury) 1957 I Like It Like That (Mercury) 1957 Be My Only Love (Mercury) 1958 Hey! Stella/Forever, My Darling (RCA) 1959 Over The Mountain (RCA) 1959 Legend Of Gunga Din (RCA)

Albums
1954 Crew Cut Capers (Mercury) 1954 The Crew Cuts On The Campus (Mercury) 1955 Music Ala Carte (Mercury) 1958 Surprise Package (RCA Victor) 1959 The Crew Cuts Sing (RCA Victor) 1959 The Crew Cuts Have A Ball (RCA Victor) 1960 You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby (RCA Victor) 1960 The Crew Cuts Sing Out! (RCA Victor) 1962 High School Favorites (Wing) 1963 The Crew Cuts Sing Folk (Camay) 196? Dancing And Dreaming (???) 1980 The Wonderful Happy Crazy Innocent World Of The Crewcuts (Picc-A-Dilly) 1996 The Best Of The Crew Cuts: The Mercury Years (Mercury)

Video


Compilation Tracks





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