The Moonglows

The Moonglows Biography

The Moonglows

The Moonglows were a 1950s American R&B group. “Sincerely” reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart and number twenty on the Billboard Juke Box chart. In the year 2000, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This R&B vocal ensemble was founded in 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. The Moonglows were the band that most symbolized the beginnings of rock ‘n’ roll, by which R&B moved from its black subculture to mainstream teen culture. The Moonglows’ career matched that of their mentor, famed disc jockey Alan Freed, who made them the cornerstones of his radio broadcasts, motion pictures, and stage presentations during his rise in rock ‘n’ roll. He was also in charge of naming the band, which was formerly known as the Crazy Sounds. Bobby Lester (13 January 1930, Louisville, Kentucky, USA, d. 15 October 1980), Harvey Fuqua (27 July 1929, Louisville, Kentucky, USA; his uncle was Charlie Fuqua of the Ink Spots), Alexander ‘Pete’ Graves (b. 17 April 1930, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, d. 15 October 2006, New York City, New York, USA), and Prentiss Barnes (b. 17 April 1930, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, d. 15 October (b. 12 April 1925, Magnolia, Mississippi, USA, d. 30 September 2006, Magnolia, Mississippi, USA).

After recording for Freed’s Champagne label in 1953, the trio signed with Chance Records in Chicago, where they had a few regional singles, including a cover of Doris Day’s ‘Secret Love’ in 1954. The Moonglows were signed to a larger Chicago label, Chess Records, thanks to Freed’s connections, and the group had a smash hit with ‘Sincerely’ (number one R&B/number 20 pop, 1954). Joining the group at this time was guitarist Billy Johnson (b. 1924, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, d. 1987). Using a novel technique they called ‘blow harmony’, other great hits followed: ‘Most Of All’ (number 5 R&B, 1955), ‘We Go Together’ (number 9 R&B, 1956), ‘See Saw’ (number 6 R&B/number 25 pop, 1956), all of which featured Lester on lead; and a remake of Percy Mayfield’s ‘Please Send Me Someone To Love’ (number 5 R&B/number 73 pop, 1957).

After the original Moonglows disbanded in 1958, Fuqua formed Harvey And The Moonglows, which featured a young Marvin Gaye. ‘Ten Commandments Of Love,’ featuring Fuqua on lead, was the group’s final significant hit (number 9 R&B/number 22 pop, 1958). In 1960, Fuqua and Gaye disbanded the band and moved to Detroit to work in the city’s developing music business. Fuqua worked on the Anna label with Berry Gordy’s sister, Gwen Gordy, and Gaye joined Berry Gordy’s Motown Records. Fuqua made a name for himself as a producer and record executive, working with Motown singers in the 1960s and a stable of Louisville musicians on the RCA Records label in the 1970s. Fuqua, Lester and Graves reunited in 1972, with new members Doc Williams and Chuck Lewis.

The Moonglows’ singing style is known as “blow” harmony, based on the technical method used by the backing vocalists. The Moonglows were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. The group is mentioned in Paul Simon‘s 1983 song “René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War”.

Discography

One More Time
The Return Of The Moonglows
Look! It’s The MoonglowsSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where Are The Moonglows From?

The Moonglows were an American doo-wop group, one of the most successful R&B vocal groups of the early 1950s. They were formed in 1951 in Cleveland, Ohio, and initially consisted of lead singer Harvey Fuqua, tenor Bobby Lester, baritone Prentiss Barnes, and bass Billy Johnson.

What Was The Moonglows’S Biggest Hit?

The Moonglows’ biggest hit was “Sincerely.” The song reached number one on the R&B charts and number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1955.

When Was Sincerely By The Moonglows Released?

Sincerely by The Moonglows was released on October 16, 1955.

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