The Harptones

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The Harptones are an American doo-wop group, which formed in Manhattan in 1953.

The group never had a top forty pop hit, or a record on the US Billboard R&B chart, yet they are still considered an influential doo-wop group,[by whom?] both for their lead singer, Willie Winfield and their pianist/arranger, Raoul Cita. The Harptones recorded for various labels, including Coed Records. The Harptones may have been the first doo-wop group to number a full-time arranger among their members, and Cita knew how to work to Winfield's strengths. Their best-known recordings include "Sunday Kind of Love" (1953), "Why Should I Love You?" (1954), "Life is But a Dream" (1955), and "The Shrine of St. Cecilia" (1956).

In 1956, they recorded some songs for the film Rockin' the Blues: "Mambo Boogie", "Ou Wee Baby",[1] and "High Flying Baby".[2]

The song "Life is But a Dream" was featured in the 1990 film GoodFellas, and can be found on the film's soundtrack.

Members[edit]

1951-1954[edit]

  • Willie Winfield (Lead)
  • Billy Brown (bass)
  • Claudie "Nicky" Clark (first tenor)
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • William "Dicey" Galloway (baritone)
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

Early 1955[edit]

  • Willie Winfield (lead)
  • Billy Brown (bass)
  • Claudie "Nicky" Clark (first tenor)
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • Freddy Taylor (baritone)
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

Dicey Galloway was drafted in November 1954.

Late 1955[edit]

  • Willie Winfield (tenor)
  • Billy Brown (bass)
  • Claudie "Nicky" Clark
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • Bernard "Jimmy" Beckum (baritone)
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

Early 1956[edit]

  • Willie Winfield (tenor)
  • Bobby Spencer
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • Bernard "Jimmy" Beckum (baritone)
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

1956 movie Rockin' The Blues[edit]

  • Willie Winfield (tenor)
  • Freddy Taylor
  • Billy Brown
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

Early 1957[edit]

  • Willie Winfield (tenor)
  • Billy Brown
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • William "Dicey" Galloway
  • Toni Williams
  • Raoul Cita (piano; baritone)

Billy Brown died of a drug overdose in spring 1957.

Late 1958[edit]

  • Willie Winfield (tenor)
  • William Dempsey (second tenor)
  • William "Dicey" Galloway
  • Toni Williams
  • Curtis Cherebin

Dicey Galloway left in October and was replaced for Milton Love of The Solitares for a short time, before splitting.

1959-1963[edit]

  • Willie Winfield
  • Nicky Clark
  • William Dempsey
  • Curtis Cherebin
  • Raoul Cita

Nicky Clark left after a few months, to be replaced by Wilbur "Yonkie" Paul, who was in turn replaced by Hank "Pompi" Jernigan.

Early 1964[edit]

  • Willie Winfield
  • Nicky Clark
  • William Dempsey
  • Jimmy Beckum
  • Raoul Cita

Late 1964[edit]

  • Nicky Clark
  • William Dempsey
  • Curtis Cherebin
  • Hank "Pompi" Jernigan
  • Raoul Cita

1970-1972[edit]

  • Willie Winfield
  • Curtis Cherebin
  • Jimmy Beckum
  • William Dempsey
  • Raoul Cita

1972–mid-1990s[edit]

  • Willie Winfield
  • Marlowe Murray
  • Linda Champion
  • Raoul Cita

Mid 1990s-1999[edit]

  • Willie Winfield
  • Marlowe Murray
  • Linda Champion
  • William Dempsey
  • Raoul Cita

This line-up appeared on Doo Wop 50. Linda Champion left due to health problems around 2000.[3]

2000-2008[edit]

  • Willie Winfield
  • Marlowe Murray
  • Vicki Burgess
  • William Dempsey
  • Raoul Cita

2008-2014[edit]

  • Willie Winfield
  • Don Cruz
  • Vicki Burgess
  • William Dempsey
  • Raoul Cita

Marlowe Murray died of cancer in 2008.

Raoul J. Cita died on December 13, 2014, from liver and stomach cancer, aged 86.[4]

The death of Cita leaves Winfield and Dempsey as the only original Harptones, with Winfield present at every version.

Awards and recognition[edit]

The Harptones were inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Harptones--OO Wee Baby". YouTube. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks - HARPTONES". Uncamarvy.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "News". Theoriginal-harptones.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2014 July To December". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 

External links[edit]