Jerry Murad's Harmonicats
Jerry Murad's Harmonicats were an American harmonica-based group. Originally they were named The Harmonica Madcaps and the group consisted of Jerry Murad (chromatic lead harmonica), Bob Hadamik (bass harmonica), Pete Pedersen (chromatic harmonica), and Al Fiore, (chord harmonica). They reformed later as a trio with Murad, Fiore, and bass harmonica player Don Les.
Jerry Murad (lead chromatic), was born in Turkey and moved to America at the age of 13. He played diatonic harmonicas at first, and took up chromatic soon after. Originally, Murad player Hohner 270s and 64s, as well as the musscette, a harmonica that a friend made especially for him and he played on their 1960s recording of "Perisianne Fantasy". Murad also played the Hohner Polyphonia (a type of orchestral melodic harmonica), and others too.
Don Les (bass harmonica) was born in Chicago, and was blind at birth. Born premature, his heart stopped beating for long periods of time and he was declared "Dead" ten minutes after being born. A quick thinking doctor though suddenly got his heart beating and saved his life. Don received his vision back at the age of twelve after a successful surgery. At one point, he formed his own version of the Harmonicats. The Don Les Harmonicats, which featured Mildred Mulcay (of the harmonica duo "The Mulcays") and Lenny Leavitt. They released a Christmas album entitled Christmas with the Don Les Harmonicats.
Al Fiore (pre-war chord), was born in Chicago and started experimenting with chord harmonicas at the age of 13. Fiore played the extremely rare pre-war Hohner Chord, which had a unique set up. He recorded the band's No.1 hit, Peg O' My Heart on this harmonica.
Though rarely mentioned, Miller originally came from Chicago, and played the chromatic and chord harp frequently with Murad from 1946 through to 1950 in Chicago. Miller and Murad had met in Chicago around 1945.
Peg O' My Heart
Their 1947 recording of "Peg O' My Heart" (Mercury Records - originally Vitacoustic Records catalog number 1) brought them to public attention and sold over one million copies by 1950, reaching #1 on the U.S. Billboard chart. Other charted hits included "Hair of Gold, Eyes of Blue," of which their version reached #22, and "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White".
- Peg O' My Heart (1947)
- Galloping Comedians (1951)
- Meet Mr Gallagham (1952)
- # Dolls, Dolls, Dolls (1957)
- Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White (1961)
- Peg O' My Heart (1947, at Vitacoustic, S/N 0001)
- Fiesta! (1962)
- Love Theme from "El Cid" and Other Motion Picture Songs and Themes (1962)
- Sentimental Serenade (1962)
- The Love Song Of Tom Jones (1964)
- That New Gang Of Mine! (1965)
- Mexican Hat Dance (1965)
- Great Themes from TV and Motion Pictures (1969)
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