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The Harptones are an American doo-wop group, which formed in Manhattan in 1953.

The group never had a top forty pop hit, or a record on the US Billboard R&B chart[1], yet they are known for both their lead singer Willie Winfield and their pianist/arranger, Raoul Cita. The Harptones recorded for various labels, including Coed Records. The Harptones may have been the first doo-wop group to number a full-time arranger among their members, and Cita knew how to work to Winfield's strengths.[2] Their best-known recordings include "A Sunday Kind of Love" (1953), "Why Should I Love You?" (1954), "Life is But a Dream" (1955), "The Shrine of St. Cecilia" (1956), and "What Will I Tell My Heart" (1961).

In 1956, they recorded some songs for the film Rockin' the Blues: "Mambo Boogie", "Ou Wee Baby",[3] and "High Flying Baby".[4]

The song "Life is But a Dream" was featured in the 1990 film GoodFellas, and can be found on the film's soundtrack album.[5]

Contents

MembersEdit

1951-1954Edit

  • Willie Winfield (Lead)
  • Billy Brown (bass)
  • Claudie "Nicky" Clark (first tenor)
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • William "Dicey" Galloway (baritone)
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

Early 1955Edit

  • Willie Winfield (lead)
  • Billy Brown (bass)
  • Claudie "Nicky" Clark (first tenor)
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • Freddy Taylor (baritone)
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

Dicey Galloway was drafted in November 1954.

Late 1955Edit

  • Willie Winfield (tenor)
  • Billy Brown (bass)
  • Claudie "Nicky" Clark
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • Bernard "Jimmy" Beckum (baritone)
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

Early 1956Edit

  • Willie Winfield (tenor)
  • Bobby Spencer
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • Bernard "Jimmy" Beckum (baritone)
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

1956 movie Rockin' The BluesEdit

  • Willie Winfield (tenor)
  • Freddy Taylor
  • Billy Brown
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

Early 1957Edit

  • Willie Winfield (tenor)
  • Billy Brown
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • William "Dicey" Galloway
  • Toni Williams
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

Billy Brown died of a drug overdose in spring 1957.

Late 1958Edit

  • Willie Winfield (tenor)
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • William "Dicey" Galloway
  • Toni Williams
  • Curtis Cherebin

Dicey Galloway left in October and was replaced by Milton Love of The Solitares for a short time, before splitting. Galloway died on 18 July 2017 in Houghs Neck, Quincy, Massachusetts, at age 84 after battling multiple illnesses.[6]

1959-1963Edit

  • Willie Winfield
  • Nicky Clark
  • William Dempsey
  • Curtis Cherebin
  • Raoul Cita

Nicky Clark left after a few months, to be replaced by Wilbur "Yonkie" Paul, who was in turn replaced by Hank "Pompi" Jernigan.

Early 1964Edit

  • Willie Winfield
  • Nicky Clark
  • William Dempsey
  • Jimmy Beckum
  • Raoul Cita

Late 1964Edit

  • Nicky Clark
  • William Dempsey
  • Curtis Cherebin
  • Hank "Pompi" Jernigan
  • Raoul Cita

1970-1972Edit

  • Willie Winfield
  • Curtis Cherebin
  • Jimmy Beckum
  • William Dempsey
  • Raoul Cita

1972–mid-1990sEdit

  • Willie Winfield
  • Marlowe Murray
  • Linda Champion
  • Raoul Cita

Mid 1990s-1999Edit

  • Willie Winfield
  • Marlowe Murray
  • Linda Champion
  • William Dempsey
  • Raoul Cita

This line-up appeared on Doo Wop 50. Linda Champion left due to health problems around 2000.[7]

2000-2008Edit

  • Willie Winfield
  • Marlowe Murray
  • Vicki Burgess
  • William Dempsey
  • Raoul Cita

2008-2014Edit

  • Willie Winfield
  • Don Cruz
  • Vicki Burgess
  • William Dempsey
  • Raoul Cita

Marlowe Murray died of cancer in 2008.[8]

Raoul J. Cita died on December 13, 2014, from liver and stomach cancer, at the age of 86.[9] The death of Cita leaves Winfield and Dempsey as the only original Harptones, with Winfield present at every version.

Awards and recognitionEdit

The Harptones were featured more times than any other group in the United in Group Harmony Association's official top 500 vocal group recordings list, compiled 1996-2000.[10] They were inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.[11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Passings: Raoul Cita of the Harptones". VVN Music. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  2. ^ "TRB Enterprises Honoring our Pioneers". www.toddbaptista.com. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Harptones--OO Wee Baby". YouTube. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks - HARPTONES". Uncamarvy.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Goodfellas: Music from the Motion Picture". Atlantic. 29 October 1990. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  6. ^ Mary Whitfill. "William 'Dice' Galloway, doo-wop singer and Quincy resident, dies at 84". The Patriot Ledger. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  7. ^ "News". Theoriginal-harptones.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks - FI-TONES". www.uncamarvy.com. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  9. ^ "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2014 July To December". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  10. ^ The Top 1000 Doo-Wop Songs: Collector's Edition. Ttgpress. 2014. p. 111. ISBN 9780982737651. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  11. ^ "The Vocal Group Hall Of Fame | The Harptones". vocalgroup.org. Retrieved 2 May 2018.

External linksEdit