Five Americans

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Five Americans
Five Americans.png
Five Americans in 1967
Background information
Also known as The Mutineers
Origin Durant, Oklahoma, United States
Genres Rock
Years active 1965 (1965)–1969 (1969)
Past members
  • Mike Rabon
  • John Durrill
  • Norm Ezell
  • Jim Grant
  • Jimmy Wright

Five Americans was a 1960s American band, most famous for the song "Western Union",[1] which reached No. 5 in the U.S. Billboard chart and was their only single to chart in the Top 20. At first one might think that, in Casey Kasem's "Book of Records" category of most repetitive word or phrase in a Hot 100 top 10 hit, "Western Union" would hold the record (in this case, the two 40-fold and one 50-plus-fold repetition of the imitative word "dit"). But the lyrics contain three many-fold repetitions of "dit, da dit, da dit" instead. In a March, 1967 interview that appeared in Michael Oberman's Top Tunes column in the Evening Star newspaper (Washington, DC), Norman Ezell, guitarist for the group explained how they came up with "Western Union Man". "Mike Rabon, our lead guitar player, was just fooling around with his guitar when he came up with a unique sound," Norman said. It sort of reminded us of a telegraph key. "That's when we decided to write 'Western Union Man.'"

Career[edit]

The Five Americans, previously known as The Mutineers, were from Durant, Oklahoma (Southeastern State College). For a short while after their hits "I See The Light", "Western Union", "Sound of Love", "Evol Not Love" and "Zipcode", they toured. However, their manager, Jon Abdnor Sr., president and owner of Abnak Records and Bankers Management and Services Insurance Co., was allowed control of their finances.

After Abdnor's death in 1996, all rights to their songs should have reverted to the original group, but Sundazed Records bought the original tapes. The Five Americans had at least five singles in, or close to, the Top 40 and are now receiving the sales and publishing royalties.[citation needed]

Breakup[edit]

The Five Americans broke up in 1969 and went their separate ways.

Mike Rabon had a successful touring career afterwards, released two albums that sold well, and played guitar for the Tyler, Texas, pop group, Gladstone, whose "A Piece of Paper" reached No. 45 in October 1972. He later returned to college, acquiring a master's degree in public school administration, and has been in the Oklahoma school systems for 28 years.

John Durrill, the keyboardist, wrote "Dark Lady" for Cher and "Misery and Gin" for Merle Haggard and was also a member of the touring band The Ventures. He now lives in Los Angeles.

Bassist Jim Grant died on November 29, 2004.

Norman Ezell (guitar and harmonica), who became a teacher and minister in Northern California, died of cancer on May 8, 2010, at the age of 68.[2]

Drummer Jimmy Wright left the music industry to become a freelance photographer. He died at Texoma Medical Center with his family at his side on January 30, 2012.

As of July 2008, there was an online petition to induct the Five Americans into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The petition amassed over 400 signatures.[3]

Personnel[edit]

  • Mike Rabon
  • John Durrill
  • Norm Ezell
  • Jim Grant
  • Jimmy Wright

Discography with Billboard (BB) and Cashbox (CB) chart peak positions[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Show Me" / "Love, Love, Love" — ABC-Paramount 10686 (1965)
  • "Say That You Love Me" / "Without You" — Abnak 106 (1965)
  • "I See The Light" / "The Outcast" — Abnak 109 (1965)
  • "I See The Light" (BB No. 26, CB No. 41) / "The Outcast" — HBR 454 (1966)
  • "Evol-Not Love" (BB No. 52, CB No. 68) / "Don't You Dare Blame Me" — HBR 468 (1966)
Later copies shortened the B-side title to "Don't Blame Me"
  • "Good Times" / "The Losing Game" — HBR 483 (1966)
  • "It's You Girl" / "I'm Gonna Leave You" — Jetstar 104 (1966)
  • "I'm Feeling OK" / "Slippin' and Slidin'" — Jetstar 105 (1966)
  • "Reality" / "Sympathy" — Abnak 114 (1966)
  • "If I Could" / "Now That It's Over" — Abnak 116 (1966)
  • "Western Union" (BB No. 5, CB No. 7) / "Now That It's Over" — Abnak 118 (1967)
  • "Sound Of Love" (BB No. 36, CB No. 31) / "Sympathy" — Abnak 120 (1967)
  • "Zip Code" (BB No. 36, CB No. 55) / "Sweet Bird of Youth" — Abnak 123 (1967)
  • "Stop Light" (BB No. 132) / "Tell Ann I Love Her" — Abnak 125 (1967)
  • "7:30 Guided Tour" (BB No. 96) / "See Saw Man" — Abnak 126 (1968)
  • "No Communication" / "The Rain Maker" — Abnak 128 (1968)
  • "Con Man" / "Lovin' is Lovin'" — Abnak 131 (1968)
  • "Generation Gap" / "The Source" — Abnak 132 (1968)
  • "Virginia Girl" (BB No. 133) / "Call On Me" — Abnak 134 (1969)
  • "Scrooge" / "Ignert Woman" — Abnak 137 (1969)
  • "I See The Light '69" / "Red Cape" — Abnak 139 (1969)
Billed as 'Mike Rabon & The Five Americans'
  • "She's Too Good To Me" / "Molly Black" — Abnak 142 (1969)

Albums[edit]

  • I See The Light (BB No. 136) — HBR HLP-8503 (Mono) / HST-9503 (Stereo) (1966)
  • Western Union (BB No. 121, CB No. 66) — Abnak ABLP-1967 (Mono) / ABST-2067 (Stereo) (1967)
  • Progressions — Abnak ABLP (Mono) / ABST-2069 (Stereo) (1967)
  • Now and Then — Abnak ABST-2071 (1968)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jim Dawson, Steve Propes (2003). 45 RPM: The History, Heroes & Villains of a Pop Music Revolution. ISBN 0-87930-757-9. 
  2. ^ Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed May 2010
  3. ^ The petition may be found at www.petitiononline.com.

External links[edit]