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.

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" were released, 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 receiving the sales and publishing royalties.[citation needed]

"Western Union"[edit]

In a March 1967 interview that appeared in Michael Oberman's "Top Tunes" column in the Evening Star newspaper (Washington, D.C.), 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.'"

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,[clarification needed] 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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[edit]

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)

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart positions Label Album
US US
CB
AU
1965 "Show Me"
b/w "Love, Love Love"
ABC-Paramount 10686 Non-LP tracks
"Say That You Love Me"
b/w "Without You"
- - - Abnak 106
"I See The Light"
b/w "The Outcast"
- - - Abnak 109 I See The Light
1966 "I See The Light"
b/w "The Outcast"(re-release)
26 41 - HBR 454
"Evol-Not Love"
b/w "Don't You Dare Blame Me" (from I See The Light)
52 68 - HBR 468 Progressions
"Good Times"
b/w "The Losing Game" (from I See The Light)
- - - HBR 483 Non-LP tracks
"It's You Girl"
b/w "I'm Gonna Leave Ya"
- - - Jetstar 104
"I'm Feeling OK"
b/w "Slippin' and Slidin'"
- - - Jetstar 105
"Reality"
b/w "Sympathy"
- - - Abnak 114 Western Union
"If I Could"
b/w "Now That It's Over"
- - - Abnak 116
1967 "Western Union"
b/w "Now That It's Over"
5 7 35 Abnak 118
"Sound of Love"
b/w "Sympathy"
36 31 - Abnak 120
"Zip Code"
b/w "Sweet Bird of Youth"
36 55 89 Abnak 123 Progressions
"Stop Light"
b/w "Tell Ann I Love Her" (from Western Union)
132 - - Abnak 125
1968 "7:30 Guided Tour"
b/w "See Saw Man" (from Western Union)
96 - - Abnak 126 Now and Then
"No Communication"
b/w "The Rain Maker" (from Progressions)
- - - Abnak 128 Non-LP tracks
"Lovin' Is Livin'"
b/w "Con Man" (from Progressions)
- - - Abnak 131
"Generation Gap"
b/w "The Source" (Non-LP track)
- - - Abnak 132 Now and Then
1969 "Virginia Girl"
b/w "Call On Me" (Non-LP track)
133 - - Abnak 134
"Ignert Woman"
b/w "Scrooge"
- - - Abnak 137
"I See The Light '69"
b/w "Red Cape"
- - - Abnak 139
"She's Too Good To Me"
b/w "Molly Black"
Abnak 142

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]