Formed in a suburb of Cleveland, the Poni-Tails — Toni Cistone, Karen Topinka and Patti McCabe — started singing at Brush High School, which they all attended. Tom Ilius, a music publisher, had them signed to local record label Point Records, who released their first single, "Your Wild Heart" b/w "Que la Bozena" (the latter of which was written by the group). "Heart" was covered by the then-15-year-old Joy Layne, and became a nationwide hit. The next release was "Can I Be Sure" on Marc Records, which was not a success; following this release Topinka left the group and was replaced by LaVerne Novak.
Soon after this, the group signed to ABC-Paramount and released "Just My Luck to Be Fifteen", a flop. Following this was "Come on Joey, Dance With Me" b/w "Born Too Late". The B-side caught on at radio and became the group's biggest hit, reaching #11 on the U.S. R&B singles chart and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. Follow-ups "Seven Minutes In Heaven" (#85 Pop) and "I'll Be Seeing You" (#87 Pop) fared less well, and their last single, 1960's "Who, When And Why", did not chart.
ABC-Paramount attempted to sign the group to a further five-year contract, but the group turned it down. The members left the music industry and pursued careers in other fields in Ohio. They reunited to play a Cleveland festival, Moon Dog Coronation ball, in 1997. A CD released by Poni Records with 12 tracks credited to the Poni-Tails contains only one Poni-Tails song ("Born Too Late") and 11 tracks recorded by other groups.
In 1991 LaVerne (Novak) Glavac was working for a real estate agent in Mentor, Ohio, and had five grandchildren. Toni (Cistone) Costabile was working at a high school in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Patti (McCabe) Barnes died of cancer in January, 1989. Tom Illius subsequently became a top executive with the William Morris Agency in Los Angeles, California. Tom died on September 7, 2011 in Los Angeles.
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Record Label||B-side|
|1957||"It's Just My Luck to Be Fifteen"||–||–||–||ABC-Paramount Records||"Wild Eyes and Tender Lips"|
|1958||"Born Too Late"||7||11||5||"Come On Joey Dance with Me"|
|"Seven Minutes in Heaven"||85||–||–||"Close Friends"|
|1959||"Early to Bed"||–||–||26||"Father Time"|
|"Moody"||–||–||–||"Oom Pah Polka"|
|"I'll Be Seeing You"||87||–||–||"I'll Keep Tryin'"|
|1960||"Come Be My Love"||–||–||–||"Before We Say Goodnight"|
|"Who, When, And Why"||–||–||–||"Oh, My, You"|
- Toni Cistone
- Karen Topinka (to 1958)
- LaVerne Novak (1958-1960)
- Patti McCabe - (died 1989)