The Aquatones

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The Aquatones were a doo-wop group in the 1950s that charted just once, with "You", a ballad that was also covered by Gale Storm. The group's lead singer was 17-year-old Lynne Nixon, a soprano who had had formal operatic training.

The Aquatones were a true one-hit wonder whose subsequent singles, for the Fargo label, all failed to reach the Hot 100. They were issued into the early '60s and finally on an album that gathered together most of their songs, which was issued three years after their hit single and just before their final Fargo release in July 1961, a remake of The Heartbeats' "Crazy For You". That song was not on the original album, but was included in the reissue in the 1980s as a repro.

In the late 1990s the group reformed with a new lead singer, Colette Delaney. They released a number of CDs on the Debra label of remakes and new material, including a Christmas album in 2006.

Sound[edit]

The Aquatones were a four-part harmony group with a female lead vocalist, Lynne Nixon (22 March 1941 – 9 January 2001). The group began in 1956 as three guys from Valley Stream, New York, called the Rhythm Kings; the members were Dave Goddard, Larry Vannata and Gene McCarthy. They came together to record a song written by Dave for their junior class play at Valley Stream Central High School. All of the guys played instruments as well as singing vocals--Gene on the clarinet and tenor sax, Larry the alto and tenor sax and Dave the piano. Bob Boden would play drums when they performed live. A classmate's father, a record distributor, heard the group and suggested that they add a high falsetto voice. Shortly thereafter Larry met Lynne Nixon at a dance and asked Gene and Dave to give her an audition. Upon hearing her voice they agreed to add her to the group. At first Lynne only sang backgrounds, until Larry wrote the song "You" for her to sing.

The group later changed its name to the Aquatones (as Dave describes it. "so the guys could wear a 'cool' shirt from the 1950s--aqua with a black velvet 'V' down the front"). In 1957 the three original members decided to add Lynne as a fourth member to give the group some versatility. It was not long after the group became a foursome that they found themselves performing at a talent contest at Malverne High School. The contest, entitled "Stairway to the Stars", was just that for the group, as local real estate mogul-turned-music-promoter Lou Fargo heard them and liked what he saw and heard. In December 1957 he signed the group and off to the studio they went to record on Fargo's own label.

First record[edit]

Their first song was "You" (Fargo 1001 b/w "She's the One For Me"). It was a group harmony recording. The record hit on the Billboard chart in April 1958. Such classics as "I Met Him on a Sunday" by The Shirelles, "Zoom Zoom Zoom" by The Collegians and "Sweet Little Sixteen" by Chuck Berry were out at the same time. While "You" did very well in the East, it only managed to hit #21 across America.

More recently the song was featured in the TV series The Sopranos, in the episode "Everybody Hurts", accompanying a disturbing dream sequence in which a character, Gloria Trillo, commits suicide.

"You" is also featured in the television series Vampire Diaries, season 5, episode 7 ("Death and the Maiden"). The character Silas is sitting at a bus stop talking to a young couple. He is telling them the truth about himself which makes them believe he is crazy. He then makes the man in the couple very ill and the woman runs away. Silas then gets on a bus going to Virginia. The song plays out over opening title card.

Follow up[edit]

Their follow-up record, "Say You'll Be Mine" b/w "So Fine" (Fargo 1002), again came out at a time when there were more big records being pushed by big-name artists. Their third record--"Our First Kiss" b/w "Drive In" (Fargo 1003)--was also lost in the rush. Their next release in October 1958 was "My Treasure" b/w "My One Desire" (Fargo 1005) but, while a terrific group harmony recording, it received little interest. "My Darling" b/w "For You, For You" (Fargo 1111) followed, as did "Crazy For You" b/w "Wanted" (Fargo 1016) in 1961. "Crazy For You" was a cover of the original Heartbeats' tune.

Fargo would later release an album of the group's material in 1964 but their time had come and gone, not unlike the era of doo-wop itself. The Aquatones went their separate ways.

Lynne Nixon died January 2001 (Born March 22 1941).

Colette Delaney[edit]

In 1998 Goddard heard a young lady sing who sounded similar to Nixon. A year later he approached the girl, Colette Delaney, about singing in a new Aquatones group. Colette had had a career in musical comedy and was interested in singing with the group. They started making "demo" recordings of some of the Aquatones' old music. The result was a new CD, released on Debra Records. The CD includes performances from the original Aquatones--Dave Goddard, Gene McCarthy and Larry Vannata.

External links[edit]