The Harptones

The Harptones Biography

The Harptones

The Harptones are an R&B vocal ensemble from Harlem, New York City, New York, USA, founded in 1953. Willie Winfield, lead, first tenor Nick Clark, second tenor William Dempsey, baritone Bill ‘Dicey’ Galloway, bass Billy Brown, and pianist/arranger Raoul J. Cita were among the group’s members. During the early rock ‘n’ roll period, the Harptones were one of the smoothest and most polished R&B vocal groups to emerge. Despite being associated with the doo-wop movement, they rarely used nonsense syllables. Instead, the choir would respond in words, using Cita’s unique “opening mouth harmony.” On the east coast, the Harptones were colossi, but they were virtually unknown in the rest of the country.

‘A Sunday Kind Of Love’ (1954), ‘My Memories Of You’ (1954), and ‘Life Is But A Dream’ (1955) are among their best songs (all ballads); none of their jump songs were particularly successful. With Brown’s death in 1956, the group began to disband, and Jimmy Beckum appeared on many of the tunes made for George Goldner’s Rama/Gee complex during this time. ‘On Sunday Afternoon’ and ‘Shrine Of St. Cecilia’ were two of the most popular songs of the time. In 1957, their final recordings were released. During the 1970s and 1980s, Winfield and Cita formed different Harptones groups to perform on the east coast oldies circuit.

‘A Sunday Kind Of Love’ (1954), ‘My Memories Of You’ (1954), and ‘Life Is But A Dream’ (1955) are among their best songs (all ballads); none of their jump songs were particularly successful. With Brown’s death in 1956, the group began to disband, and Jimmy Beckum appeared on many of the tunes made for George Goldner’s Rama/Gee complex during this time. ‘On Sunday Afternoon’ and ‘Shrine Of St. Cecilia’ were two of the most popular songs of the time. In 1957, their final recordings were released. During the 1970s and 1980s, Winfield and Cita formed different Harptones groups to perform on the east coast oldies circuit. After one album with that label, the band quit and signed with experienced producer George Goldner, who signed them to his Rama label. They continued to perform in Freed’s rock performances and even appeared in the rock movie Rockin’ the Blues (1956). They continued to record, but their lineup changed several times, and their albums didn’t sell as well as they and their company had hoped. The group disbanded in 1959.

Morty Craft, one of their earlier producers, started a new label, Warwick Records, in 1959, and convinced the band to re-form and join with him. However, the band left Warwick for Coed Records after two years. Their track of “What Will I Tell My Heart,” which reached #96 on the national Top 100 charts—their only song to do so—marked their time at Coed.

They immediately departed Coed for Cub Records, an MGM Records subsidiary (the label that originally wanted to sign them). They joined with KT Records, a freshly created company, after Cub. In 1964, they changed their name to The Soothers and released a cover of Johnnie Ray’s “The Little White Cloud That Cried.” The album was released on the minor Port Records label, but it failed to chart, and the band split. In 1969 the group’s manager received a call from a producer who wanted to know if the group would be interested in reforming. They were, and began appearing at rock revival shows and their own concerts. The group, although often with personnel changes, continued to perform and record. In 1992 they were inducted into the Brooklyn Hall of Fame and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002. In 1999 they performed on the PBS “oldies” special Doo Wop 50 (1999).

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Type Of Song The Harptones Was Singing?

The Harptones were best known for their romantic R&B ballads. Their biggest hit, “A Sunday Kind of Love,” which was written by Barbara Belle and Anita Leonard in a piano-bar, became a popular track for female vocalists during the 50s and 60s. In addition to R&B material like this, The Harptones recorded doo-wop tunes like “Get on the Floor,” a song that Sylvester, the falsetto-voiced disco singer of the 70s, would later cover. In spite of their success in the R&B field, The Harptones never really achieved crossover stardom. Their greatest contribution to the American music scene may have been their influence on other groups. The Harptones helped develop and popularize the doo-wop sound, a distinct group vocal style that became very popular throughout the 50s, with many artists recording songs in this genre.

What Is First Hit Song Of The Harptones?

The Harptones were a popular R&B group from New York City that achieved their greatest success in the 1950s. Their first hit song was called “A Sunday Kind of Love.” It was released in 1953 and went on to spend twenty-two weeks on the Billboard charts, eventually reaching number 13. Several other songs by the Harptones also made it onto the charts, including “I Wonder Why,” which peaked at number 38 in 1956. One of the group’s most famous songs is called “Life Is But a Dream.” It was released in 1957 and rose to number 12 on the charts. The Harptones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

Who Was The Lead Singer Of The Harptones?

The lead singer of the Harptones was William “Bill” Henderson. He was born in Harlem, New York on December 14, 1924 and passed away on April 6, 1984. The Harptones were formed in New York City and began their career by performing at the Apollo Theater. The band featured Bill Henderson on lead vocals, Jimmy Wright on tenor vocal, Frank Clark on baritone vocal and Herman Curtis on bass vocal. They released several major hits during their tenure including “A Sunday Kind of Love”, “Life is But a Dream”, “It’s All Over Now” and “The Wanderer”. The Harptones were inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

How Many Members Of The Harptones?

There were originally four members of the Harptones: William Campbell, James Wright, Robert Banks, and Rudolph Johnson. Johnson left the group in 1953 and was replaced by lead singer Sonny Til. The Harptones continued to perform and record with this lineup until 1957. The Harptones were an American doo-wop group from Harlem, New York. They were active in the 1950s and early 1960s, and are best known for their hit singles “A Sunday Kind of Love” and “I Wonder Why.” They are considered to be one of the earliest groups to sing gospel-influenced harmonies over R&B beats. The Harptones were formed in 1950 by four teenage friends from Harlem: William Campbell, James Wright, Robert Banks, and Rudolph Johnson. The band started out performing at local parties and talent shows in their neighborhood.

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