The Skyliners

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The Skyliners
Origin Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
United States
Genres Doo-wop
Years active 1958–1963, 1974–present
Website [1]
Members Jimmy Beaumont
Donna Groom
Nick Pociask
Rick Morris
Mark Groom
Past members Wally Lester
Jack Taylor
Joe Verscharen
Janet Vogel

The Skyliners are an American doo-wop group from Pittsburgh, fronted by Jimmy Beaumont. The original line-up included Wally Lester, Jack Taylor, Joe Verscharen, and Janet Vogel. This quintet constituted the formal group of vocalists.

History[edit]

The Skyliners were best known for their 1959 hit "Since I Don't Have You". Popular covers by Trini Lopez, Chuck Jackson, Don McLean, Guns N' Roses, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Ronnie Milsap, Art Garfunkel and Buckaroo Banzai kept the song in the public consciousness. They also hit the Top 40 with "This I Swear" and "Pennies from Heaven". Other classics include "It Happened Today" (1959), "Close Your Eyes" (1961) and "Comes Love" (1962). The original group dissolved in 1963, but re-united eleven years later (without Jack Taylor), for what would become their last charted record, "Where Have They Gone?"

In 1965, Jimmy Beaumont recorded two notable singles for the Bang label: the first, "Tell Me" b/w "I Feel Like I'm Falling in Love", were pleasant medium-tempo soul-styled tracks. For his second Bang 45, "I Never Loved Her Anyway" b/w "You Got Too Much Going for You", Jimmy transformed into an impressive soul singer, sounding nothing like his previous more pop styled efforts, leading some to question in later years, if it actually was his singing. These two tracks are now considered Northern Soul collectibles. The second 45 was also issued on UK London HLZ 10059 in 1966.

Jack Taylor was drafted in 1965.[1] In 1975, Wally Lester and Joe Versharen left the group; they were replaced by new members Jimmie Ross and bass Bob Sholes.[2][3]

In 1978, Detroit producer Don Davis[4] — who produced Marilynn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., Johnny Taylor, the Dramatics, and the Dells – picked up one of his favorite groups (the Skyliners) to record in his United Sound Studios. They recorded the group's "comeback" album for the RCA subsidiary, Tortoise International Records.[5] The songs "Oh, How Happy" and "The Love Bug" were included, as was a hefty re-make of Dan Schafer's original RCA Victor single, "A Day Without You, Dear".[6]

1978 Tortoise International/RCA Side B

Tragically, Janet Vogel committed suicide in 1980; Cathy Cooper joined the group as a replacement.[2] She and Ross left two years later to form a duo;[2] they were replaced by Rick Morris[7] and Donna Groom.[1]

Morris retired in 1993;[7] In 1993, David Proch was singing with another group. At first listen, the Skyliners' original lead singer, Jimmy Beaumont, invited Proch to join the group; Proch joined as a replacement. Also performing with the group at this time was Tom Sholes, brother of Bob Sholes. The two were local to the group; they attended St George High School in the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The group became Beaumont, Groom, Proch, and Nick Pociask.[8]

David Proch, at age 44, the third person to sing first tenor for the Skyliners, died Monday Oct 19, 1998 in a car accident. His car collided with a truck hauling asphalt on U.S. Route 30 near Ligonier, about 45 miles east of Pittsburgh. Proch's place was taken by Dick Muse, a former member of The Laurels.[9] Rick Morris replaced Muse in 2011.[7]

Today, Jimmy Beaumont performs with The Skyliners in their current line-up of Nick Pociask, Rick Morris, and Donna Groom (whose husband, Mark Groom, has been the group's drummer/conductor for more than 25 years). Two of the original members have died — Janet Vogel (suicide) in 1980 (aged 37), and Joe Verscharen of cancer in 2007 (aged 67). Their longtime manager and producer Joe Rock, who also co-wrote "Since I Don't Have You", died on April 4, 2000, at age 63, after complications from quadruple bypass heart surgery.

Chart hits[edit]

  • "Since I Don't Have You" (1959), U.S. No. 12, Cashbox No. 7
  • "It Happened Today" (1959), U.S. No. 59
  • "This I Swear" (1960), U.S. No. 26
  • "Pennies from Heaven" (1960), U.S. No. 24
  • "The Loser" (1965), U.S. No. 72
  • "Where Have They Gone" (1975), U.S. #100

Awards and recognition[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Jimmy Beaumont, Skyliners: A Hometown Success Story". The Pittsburgh Press. 1989-02-23. 
  2. ^ a b c "Jimmie Ross - Pittsburgh Music History". Sites.google.com. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  3. ^ "ROBERT M. "BOB" SHOLES Obituary: View ROBERT SHOLES's Obituary by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Legacy.com. 2011-09-03. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  4. ^ "Don Davis (producer)". Wikipedia.com. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  5. ^ "Tortoise International Records". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  6. ^ "Dan Schafer 1976 RCA single & jukebox strips". www.DanSchafer.com. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  7. ^ a b c "Rick Morris | Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners". Theskyliners.com. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  8. ^ Pore-Lee-Dunn Productions. "Interview With The Skyliners". Classicbands.com. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  9. ^ "Old Mon Music: Dick Muse & The Laurels". Oldmonmusic.blogspot.com. 2010-08-27. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 

External links[edit]

  • [2] Tortoise International Records