The Four Deuces were an American rhythm and blues vocal quartet, formed in the mid-1950s in Salinas, California. The band was started by lead singer Luther McDaniel, and recorded several songs before they broke up in 1959. While active, the Four Deuces had moderate but short-lived popularity, mainly along the West Coast, mostly due to the frequent radio airplay of their hit song, "W-P-L-J."
The band was formed when Luther McDaniel and a group of army friends from Fort Ord got together and began to sing gospel songs. They soon moved to rhythm and blues, and began to look for a record deal.
Moving to San Francisco, the band came into contact with Ray Dobard and his company, Music City Records. Once in the studio, they recorded "W-P-L-J", and a B-side called "Here Lies My Love." This record was released in February 1956 (see 1956 in music), and received wide radio airplay across the US. Besides in their home territory of San Francisco, the Four Deuces were especially popular in Philadelphia.
The Four Deuces returned to the studio later in the year and released another record, which featured "Down it Went" and "The Goose is Gone", but these were not as popular. The group broke up shortly after.
There has been one more recording released by the group, "Yellow Shoes/Pretty Polly" on Everest Records, however there is some dispute about the authenticity of the record.
|Single by The Mothers of Invention|
|from the album Burnt Weeny Sandwich|
|B-side||"My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama"|
|Writer(s)||Ray Dobart, Luther McDaniel|
|Frank Zappa singles chronology|
Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention covered the song in 1969, releasing it in 1970 on the album Burnt Weeny Sandwich. This version was both a satire of and a homage to the original, and Zappa has conceded admiringly that he could not have written a song any more absurd.
- "W-P-L-J" / "Here Lies My Love" (1956)
- "Down it Went" / "The Goose is Gone" (1956)
- "Yellow Shoes" / "Pretty Polly" (1959)
- "DooWop Nation" article - "Remembering the Four Deuces"
- Kelly Fisher Lowe, The Words and Music of Frank Zappa.