Little Anthony & The Imperials – Biography, Songs, Albums, Discography & Facts

Little Anthony Biography

Little Anthony and the Imperials were a New York City-based rhythm and blues/soul vocal group created in the 1950s by Clarence Collins and named after its main vocalist, Jerome Anthony “Little Anthony” Gourdine, who was known for his high-pitched voice. Ernest Wright, Glouster “Nate” Rogers, and Tracey Lord were among the founding Imperials, however the last two were later replaced by Sammy Strain. Throughout the 1960s, the group was one of the few doo-wop groups to have prolonged success on the R&B and pop charts. On April 4, 2009, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 23 years after their first year of eligibility.

Gourdine and her pals grew up in Brooklyn during the height of the vocal-group frenzy. The Duponts (after the chemical business) and the Chesters were his first two groupings. End Records, owned by music mogul George Gouldner, signed the latter group. The Imperials were renamed by the label as they wanted a more regal name than the Chesters. Alan Freed, a powerful New York disc jockey and concert organizer at the time, dubbed Gourdine “Little Anthony” because of his boyish voice. Little Anthony and the Imperials were a favorite of both Freed and colleague deejay/promoter Murray Kaufman (a.k.a. “Murray the K”), who helped establish their careers with radio airplay and concert bookings.

End Records published their first song as the Imperials, “Tears on My Pillow.” This timeless vocal-group ballad was one of the year’s biggest songs, peaking at #2 on the R&B list and #4 on the pop chart. Little Anthony and the Imperials had become overnight celebrities. The story could have ended there, with “Tears On My Pillow” being remembered fondly as a vocal-group classic from one of the era’s numerous one-hit wonders. In fact, despite their success, some of their follow-up songs flopped. The quartet bounced back with “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop,” an uptempo single that capitalized on a dancing fad.

With a succession of hit singles on the DCP label, Little Anthony and the Imperials had even more success in the 1960s. Little Anthony explored acting during the Imperials’ two-year sabbatical, while the Imperials played the “borscht belt” circuit of resorts in the Catskills. Both sides benefited from the break, and they returned stronger than before. Little Anthony and the Imperials had back-to-back Top Ten successes with “Goin’ Out of My Head” (#6) and “Hurt So Bad” (#10), against stiff competition from the British Invasion and Motown. Little Anthony’s fevered, candid tone and a solid vocal arrangement anchored these dramatic pop-soul epics about romantic loss. Other artists have substantially covered each song as well. In 1968, Letterman brought “Goin’ Out of My Head” back to the Top Ten, and Linda Ronstadt did the same in 1980 with her resurrection of “Hurt So Bad.

That was not the end of the story. Little Anthony and the Imperials were the first modern group to perform at New York’s famed Copacabana nightclub, performing there before the Temptations and Supremes. Between the mid-Sixties to the mid-Seventies, the group continued to chart ten additional singles, including “Take Me Back” and “I Miss You So.” “I’m Falling in Love With You” reached #25 on the R&B chart in 1974. It was their last hit of any significance. Little Anthony and the Imperials had a total of 21 singles in the pop or R&B charts throughout three decades, a remarkable feat for such a tenacious vocal group.

Little Anthony & The Imperials Discography

Tears On My Pillow And All Their Greatest RecordingsSpotifyYouTubeAmazon
LIVE: Up Close & Personal (40th Anniversary Edition)
Hold On!SpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
On A New StreetSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
Reflections SpotifyAppleYouTube
Movie Grabbers
Payin’ Our Dues
Goin’ Out Of My Head SpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
I’m On The Outside (Looking In)SpotifyAppleYouTube
Shades Of The 40’sYouTubeAmazon
We Are The Imperials Featuring Little Anthony

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is The Lead Singer Of Little Anthony And The Imperials?

The lead singer of Little Anthony and the Imperials is Anthony Gourdine. Gourdine has been with the group since its inception in 1957, and his powerful voice has helped them to create numerous hits over the years. He is also a talented songwriter, and has penned several of the group’s most popular songs, including “Goin’ Out of My Head” and “Hurt So Bad.” Gourdine’s unique vocal style has helped to make the group one of the most enduring R&B acts of all time.

Who Wrote The Songs For Little Anthony And The Imperials?

The songs for Little Anthony and the Imperials were written by a variety of different songwriters. Some of the more popular songs that were written for them include “Tears on My Pillow,” “Goin’ Out of My Head,” and “Hurt So Bad.” While there are many different writers that contributed to their catalogue, it is safe to say that Little Anthony and the Imperials had a very successful career thanks in large part to the quality of their songs.

Who Are The Original Members Of Little Anthony And The Imperials?

The original members of Little Anthony and the Imperials were: Anthony Gourdine (Lead Singer), Donald Griffin (Baritone), Clarence Collins (First Tenor), Tramaine Hawkins (Second Tenor), Gerald Turner (Bass). The group was formed in 1958 and had their first hit with “Tears on My Pillow” in 1959. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

What Is Genre Of Little Anthony & The Imperials?

The musical group Little Anthony & The Imperials is considered to be a part of the doo-wop and R&B genres. The group was formed in the late 1950s and is best known for their song “Tears on My Pillow.

What Is The Famous Song Of Little Anthony & The Imperials?

The famous song of Little Anthony & The Imperials is “Tears on My Pillow”. It was released in 1958 and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Most Searched For Little Anthony & The Imperials Songs

Tears On My PillowSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Goin’ Out Of My HeadSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Hurt So BadSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Better Use Your HeadSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
I’m On The Outside (Looking In)SpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Take Me BackSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
I’m Still in Love with YouSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko BopSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
I’m Falling In Love With YouSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Gonna Fix You Good (Everytime You’re Bad)SpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon