||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (March 2014)|
The Del-Satins were an American vocal group in the 1960s who recorded on their own but are best remembered for their harmonies on hit records for Dion and others.
The group was formed in 1958 in Manhattan, New York, through a merger of two existing street corner groups, the Yorkville Melodys and the Jokers. The original members were Stan Zizka (lead), Fred Ferrara (baritone), his brother Tom Ferrara (bass), Leslie Cauchi (first tenor), and Keith Koestner (second tenor). They chose the name Del-Satins as a tribute to The Dells and The Five Satins, and built a solid following with their live performances, coming first in a prestigious New York city-wide "Battle of the Groups". Koestner left before their first recording session and was replaced by Bobby Failla.
In 1961 they recorded their debut single, "I'll Pray for You", for the small independent End label, before signing for Laurie Records. There they joined forces with Dion, who wanted to replace his existing backing vocal group, the Belmonts, with a "rockier" sound. The Del-Satins were instantly sent to work on his new song, "Runaround Sue", which then rose to number 1 in the Billboard charts. Although their contribution to the hit was substantial, the Del-Satins received no credit. They also sang on Dion's later solo hits, "The Wanderer", "Lovers Who Wander", "Little Diane", "Love Came to Me", "Ruby Baby", "Donna the Prima Donna" and "Drip Drop", as well as on records by Len Barry and Dean and Jean. They released a number of singles under their own name, but had little success until "Teardrops Follow Me" in 1962, after which they found regular work on television and radio. They then moved to Columbia Records as part of Dion's new contract. Still frustrated by their lack of recognition, in 1963 they auditioned for Phil Spector but declined his subsequent invitation to record with him. As Dion's solo career ran into the commercial doldrums in the mid-1960s, the group moved on to Mala Records and then B.T. Puppy Records, where they released an album, Out to Lunch.
One of their unsuccessful singles, "Love-Hate-Revenge" (Diamond), was covered by Episode Six.
Zizka left in the mid-1960s and Cauchi and Tom Ferrara were drafted. The remaining members of the Del-Satins continued to play live with the addition of Johnny Maestro (former lead singer of The Crests), Johnny Fielder, Richard Green, and Mike Gregorio. When Cauchi returned, they merged with The Rhythm Method from Long Island in 1968 to form Brooklyn Bridge.
In 1991, the Del-Satins, led by Stan Zizka, re-formed for nostalgia shows and issued an album, Still Wandering. In May 2011, The Del-Satins (Stan Zizka, Les Cauchi, Fred Ferrara and Tom Ferrara) reunited for two concerts, one in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan, and the second one on Long Island. These "nostalgia" concerts were well received, and they are planning on more concerts in the future.
In 1991, the Del-Satins, led by Stan Zizka, re-formed for nostalgia shows and issued an album, Still Wandering. Being short lived, and lack of commercial sales, he album was shelved and Cauchi and Fred Ferrara continued their careers with The Brooklyn Bridge and Fred Ferrara with The Capris. Zizka continued with his bar band "Tangerine" in between these short lived reunions.
The group once again reformed in 1993 with Zizka on lead, Charlie Aiello, Art Loria and Edye VanBuren. For the first time since the group's height of popularity in the 1960s, The Del-Satins worked regularly on the major oldies circuit. The Still Wandering album was then re-packaged and marketed at shows and through Alpine Entertainment, which was Loria's son's (Danny Loria) entertainment company. Zizka was also a regular co-host and sound engineer on the cable TV show Twilight Time for the majority of its three-year broadcast. The show was a talent variety skit with major marquee acts appearing on a regular basis such as Johnny Maestro, Channels, Vanilla Fudge, Toni Arden, Del-Vikings, Cleftones, Lou "Baccalla" Carey, Ink-Spots, Toys, and countless other acts. The show is being currently in the process of being released nationally as a DVD box set by Dazzle Entertainment Group. Ed Engel, a popular longtime record promoter and magazine writer approached the group in 1998 with a song he had penned, with the Del-Satins sound in mind. The result was "I Don't Care", released on Crystal Ball Records, which became a quick sell and favorite within the doo wop collectors rank and file. Also recorded were four Christmas songs in 1997 on the "It Doesn't Matter Music" annex were: "White Christmas", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", "Sleigh Ride" and "White Christmas", which finds major play on all the oldies stations and playlists during holiday time. This four-song series will be specially featured in the "Twilight Time" release. This new age and "second coming" of the Del-Satins lasted until 1999, when Loria went on to pursue his Doo Wop All Stars venture with Eugene Pitt and son Dan Loria. Ziizka tried his hand in the television business with his own variety show but lasted only a few runs. He continued to perform as a trio, sometimes as a duo on the Long Island New York club and restaurant scene. He did reorganize a new "Stan Zizka and the Del-Satins" with engagements at revival shows and stood working both of his acts in this steady flow until 2010 and the death of Johnny Maestro.
In May 2011, with Cauchi and Ferarra, now with the death of Johnny Maestro and saw a dramatic decline in the number of performances with The Brooklyn Bridge, they joined up with Zizka, once again, and went out performing as "The Original Del-Satins" with Zizka re-applying in 2011 for the Del-Satins trademark, which had been lapsed. Tom Ferrara was brought out of retirement to round up the lineup, At first, The Del-Satins (Stan Zizka, Les Cauchi, Fred Ferrara and Tom Ferrara) reunited for two concerts, one in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan, and the second one on Long Island. These "nostalgia" concerts were well received, and they are planning on more concerts in the future. With Cauchi and Ferarra being both original Del-Satins and original Brooklyn Bridge members, they juggled between both acts. One with the Del-Satins and the other with keeping the Brooklyn Bridge, now called the "Brooklyn Bridge Band" using a rotation of seasoned vocalists as lead vocalist of the Bridge. This led to many show packages that included a lineup of The Brooklyn Bridge, The Del-Satins and The Capris since Cauchi and the Ferarra Brothers were parts of the sums of all groups, This fresh concept was well received by the "oldies" fan base and toured successfully. With the passing of Fred Ferarra on October 21, 2011, some of the fuel ran out of the organization as Ferarra was the heart and soul and the only full-time member active in Both groups since their inceptions. Cauchi and Tom Ferarra were replaced when they went on tour, serving bravely in Vietnam. Ziizka was replaced in the late 60s as lead singer, ironically enough by Johnny Maestro.
With the loss of Ferrara, Les Cauchi has focused on re-igniting the Brooklyn Bridge and now[when?] performs in both groups, but keeping the identities and musicians of the two groups separate to thrive on their own merits.