The Four Lads

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The Four Lads
The group in 1963
The group in 1963
Background information
OriginToronto, Ontario, Canada
GenresTraditional pop
Years active1950–present
LabelsOkeh, Columbia, Kapp, Dot, United Artists
Past membersDon Farrar
Aaron Bruce
Alan Sokoloff
Frank Busseri
Connie Codarini
Bernie Toorish
James F. "Jimmy" Arnold
Sid Edwards
Johnny D'Arc

The Four Lads was a Canadian male singing quartet which, in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, earned many gold singles and albums. Its million-selling signature tunes include "Moments to Remember";[1] "Standing on the Corner";[2] "No, Not Much";[3] "Who Needs You?"[4] and "Istanbul".[5]

The Four Lads appeared on many television shows, including The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom (1958);[6] Perry Como's show Perry Presents (1959);[7] Frankie Laine Time (1956);[8] and the award-winning PBS special, Moments to Remember: My Music.[9]

The most recent incarnation of the group featured lead tenor Don Farrar, second tenor Aaron Bruce, baritone Alan Sokoloff, and bass singer Frank Busseri.

The original quartet grew up together in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and were members of St. Michael's Choir School, where they learned to sing. The founding and core members were Corrado "Connie" Codarini, bass; John Bernard "Bernie" Toorish, tenor and vocal arranger; James F. "Jimmy" Arnold, lead; and Frank "Frankie" Busseri, baritone and group manager. Codarini and Toorish had formed a group with two other St. Michael's students, Rudi Maugeri and John Perkins, who were later to found The Crew-Cuts.[10]


The group was known variously as 'The Otnorots' ("Toronto" spelled backwards) and 'The Jordonaires' (not to be confused with The Jordanaires who sang background vocals on Elvis Presley's hits). When Maugeri and Perkins left the group to concentrate on their schoolwork, Codarini and Toorish joined with Arnold and Busseri in a new quartet. At home, they practiced until they achieved their clean-cut harmonies, whether for spirituals, sacred music, or pop. They originally called themselves “The Four Dukes”, but found out that a Detroit group already used that name, so they changed it to The Four Lads. In 1950, they began to sing in local clubs and soon were noticed by scouts. Recruited to go to New York, they were noticed there by Mitch Miller, the artists and repertoire man at Columbia Records, who asked them to sing backup for some of the artists he recorded. One of those artists, Johnnie Ray, became a major hit in 1951 with "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried", with the Four Lads backing him.[11]

After the success of Ray’s first hit songs, the Four Lads signed a recording contract with Columbia. In early 1952, they recorded their first song, “Turn Back”, penned by group member Bernie Toorish under the name “Dazz Jordan”.[12] Released by Columbia subsidiary Okeh Records (Okeh 6860), the song failed to make an impression. Sometime later that year, the group scored their first-ever hit record with "The Mocking Bird" (Okeh 6885), another Toorish composition. Based on a melody from the second movement of Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 (known as the “New World Symphony”) and featuring an extremely limited accompaniment of percussion and bass, “The Mocking Bird” peaked at #23 on the Billboard pop charts.[11][12] The Four Lads were quickly switched over to the Columbia label, where they continued to garner more hits, and stayed there until 1960.

In 1953, the Four Lads had their first gold record,[13] with "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)",[11] a song that gave them their first U.S. top-ten hit and propelled them to even more stardom.

The group’s most famous hit was 1955's "Moments to Remember",[14]; another famous hit was "Standing on the Corner", from the Broadway musical production of The Most Happy Fella, in 1956.[11] A gospel album with Frankie Laine took them back to their roots and produced the hit single "Rain, Rain, Rain", written by Toorish under the pseudonym “Jay McConologue”.[12] The Four Lads’ Columbia recordings have seen releases and reissues on numerous studio albums and compilations over the years.

In late 1958, the group’s re-recording of “The Mocking Bird” became their last Top 40 pop hit. In 1959, their final pop chart appearance was with "Happy Anniversary", a song from the movie of the same name that peaked at #77.[12] And when their Columbia contract expired in 1960, the group spent the rest of the 1960s recording for the Kapp, Dot and United Artists labels without ever hitting the charts again.

Codarini was replaced in 1962 by Johnny D'Arc (who remained with the Lads until 1982) and later fell into destitution. As Toorish once recalled, “[Connie] made a terrible mistake. [He] married a model. [She] drove him crazy. He was working in a restaurant for a while.”[12] Toorish, who was burned out after twenty years of performing, was replaced by Sid Edwards in the early 1970s and became an insurance businessman.[12] Arnold left the group in 1980 to become a voice teacher in Sacramento, California.[12] Busseri remained with the group, and performed regularly with various members until late 2018.

Johnny D'Arc died in 1999, aged 60. Jimmy Arnold died in 2004, at the age of 72 in Sacramento, California. Codarini died on April 28, 2010, in Concord, North Carolina, at the age of 80. Frank Busseri died in Rancho Mirage, California, on January 28, 2019, at age 86.[15] Aaron Bruce (Aaron Bruce Grattidge), who was working as a radio DJ between performances, died in Topeka, Kansas in August 2020, age 79.[16]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 1984, the Four Lads were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS).[17] They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003.[18]

Gold singles[edit]

Singles discography[edit]

Year Titles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart positions Album
UK [20][21]
1952 "Turn Back"
b/w "Tired of Loving You"
Non-album tracks
"Mountains in the Moonlight"
b/w "What's the Use"
(Both tracks with Johnnie Ray)
"Rocks in My Bed"
b/w "Heavenly Father"
(Both tracks with Dolores Hawkins)
"The Mocking Bird"
b/w "I May Hate Myself in the Morning" (Non-album track)
23 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
"Each Time"
b/w "Risin' Sun"
(Both tracks with Dolores Hawkins)
Non-album tracks
"Somebody Loves Me"
b/w "Thanks to You"
"Faith Can Move Mountains"
b/w "Love Me (Baby' Can't You Love Me)
(Both tracks with Johnnie Ray)
"Blackberry Boogie"
b/w "The Girl on the Shore"
1953 "He Who Has Love"
b/w "I Wonder, I Wonder, I Wonder"
"Down by the Riverside"
b/w "Take Me Back" (Non-album track)
17 29 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
"All I Desire"
b/w "Lovers' Waltz"
(Both tracks with Toni Arden)
Non-album tracks
"I Love You"
b/w "900 Miles (From My Home)"
(Both tracks with Brock Peters)
"I Should Have Told You Long Ago" / 26
"Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" 10 5 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
1954 "Harmony Brown"
b/w "Gotta Go to the Fais Do Do"
27 Non-album tracks
"Long John"
b/w "The Place Where I Worship"
"Cleo and Meo"
b/w "Do You Know What Lips Are For?"
(Both tracks with Jill Corey)
"Oh, That'll Be Joyful"
b/w "What Can I Lose (By Letting You Know I Love You)"
30 36
"Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellen Bogen by the Sea"
b/w "I Hear It Everywhere" (Non-album track)
18 28 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
b/w "Why Should I Love You"
7 2 Non-album tracks
"Rain, Rain, Rain" (with Frankie Laine)
b/w "Your Heart - My Heart" (by Frankie Laine, non-album track)
21 18 8 Frankie Laine and The Four Lads
"Two Ladies in De Shade of De Banana Tree"
b/w "Dance Calinda"
Non-album tracks
1955 "I've Been Thinking"
b/w "Pledging My Love"
"Too Much! Baby, Baby"
b/w "The Average Giraffe"
"Moments to Remember"
b/w "Dream On, My Love Dream On" (Non-album track)
2 3 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
"I Heard the Angels Singing"
b/w "Ain't It a Pity and a Shame"
(Both tracks with Frankie Laine)
Frankie Laine and The Four Lads
1956 "No, Not Much!" / 2 3 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
"I'll Never Know" 52 Non-album track
"Standing on the Corner" / 3 4 34 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
"My Little Angel" 22 16 Non-album track
"The Mocking Bird"
b/w "I May Hate Myself in the Morning" (Non-album track)
67 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
"The Bus Stop Song" / 17 18
"A House with Love in It" 16 20 Non-album tracks
"The Stingiest Man in Town"
b/w "Mary's Little Boy Chile"
1957 "Who Needs You?"
b/w "It's So Easy to Forget" (Non-album track)
9 9 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
"I Just Don't Know"
b/w "Golly"
17 28 Non-album tracks
"The Eyes of God"
b/w "His Invisible Hand"
"Put a Light in the Window"
b/w "The Things We Did Last Summer" (from On the Sunny Side)
8 22 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
1958 "There's Only One of You"
b/w "Blue Tattoo" (Non-album track)
10 13
"Enchanted Island"
b/w "Guess What the Neighbors'll Say" (Non-album track)
12 12
"The Mocking Bird" (new version)
b/w "Won'cha (Give Me Somethin' in Return)"
32 45 Non-album tracks
1959 "The Girl on Page 44"
b/w "Sunday"
52 31
"The Fountain of Youth"
b/w "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland" (from Swing Along)
90 76
"Together Wherever We Go"
b/w "The Chosen Few"
"Got a Locket in My Pocket"
b/w "The Real Thing"
"Happy Anniversary"
b/w "Who Do You Think You Are"
77 34
1960 "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You"
b/w "Goona Goona"
"Our Lady of Fatima"
b/w "Our Lady of Fatima" (With poem by Samuel Lewis)
"Two Other People"
b/w "The Sheik of Chicago (Mustafa)"
"Just Young"
b/w "Goodbye Mr. Love"
1961 "I Should Know Better"
b/w "555 Times"
1962 "Don't Fly Away Flamingo"
b/w "Winter Snow"
"Never on Sunday"
b/w "Exodus"
Hits of the 60's
"Sweet Mama Tree Top Tall"
b/w "That's What I Like"
Oh, Happy Day
"Beyond My Heart (I Couldn't See)"
b/w "Not That I Care"
Non-album tracks
1963 "My Home Town"
b/w "Cornflower Blue"
"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
b/w "The Stolen Hours"
This Year's Top Movie Songs
1964 "The Love Song of Tom Jones"
b/w "Theme from 'Lillies of the Field' (Amen)"
"Memories of You"
b/w "Always Thinking of the Roses"
Non-album tracks
1965 "Thanks Mr. Florist"
b/w "Barabanchik"
"With My Eyes Open"
b/w "I'm Not a Run Around"
"All the Winds"
b/w "Give Her My Love"
1966 "Standing on the Corner"
b/w "No Not Much"
(Both tracks are re-recorded versions)
1968 "A Woman"
b/w "Where Do I Go"
1969 "Free Again"
b/w "Moments To Remember" (new version)
"My Heart's Symphony"
b/w "Pardon Me Miss"

Studio and compilation albums[edit]

Studio albums

Columbia Records

Kapp Records

  • 12 Hits (KL 1224/KS 3224, 1961)
  • Dixeland Doin's (KL 1254/KS 3254, 1961)

Dot Records

  • Hits of the 1960's (DLP 3438/DLP 25438, 1962)
  • Oh Happy Day (DLP 3533/DLP 25533, 1963)

United Artists Records

  • This Year's Top Movie Songs (UAL 3356/UAS 6356, 1964)
  • Songs of World War I (UAL 3399/UAS 6399, 1964)

Foma Records

  • Ten Million & Still Counting (1977)

Select compilation albums of note

  • 16 Most Requested Songs (1991)
  • That Great Gettin' Up Mornin' (1995)
  • Love Songs by the Four Lads (1997)
  • Moments to Remember: The Very Best of the Four Lads (2000)
  • The Singles Collection (2005)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Four Lads, Moments to Remember". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  2. ^ "Standing On The Corner by the Four Lads 1956". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  3. ^ "No Not Much". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  4. ^ "The Four Lads - Who Needs You (1957)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 2021-10-05.;
  5. ^ "The Four Lads - Istanbul (not Constantinople)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  6. ^ "The Pat Boone-Chevy Showroom, The Four Lads". IMDB. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  7. ^ "Perry Presents (1959)". IMDB. Retrieved 2021-10-06.
  8. ^ "Frankie Laine Time". IMDB. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  9. ^ "The Four Lads". IMDb. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  10. ^ "The Four Lads". Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  11. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 482/3. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g (2000) Moments to Remember: The Very Best of the Four Lads by The Four Lads [CD booklet]. New York: Taragon Records and Sony Music TARCD-1079.
  13. ^ "Gold & Platinum certification of albums at RIAA". Archived from the original on 2006-11-28. Retrieved on 26 November 2006.
  14. ^ "U.S. Billboard chart rankings". Retrieved on 26 November 2006.
  15. ^ "Frank Busseri". The Desert Sun. 2019-02-10. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  16. ^ "Aaron Bruce Grattidge Obituary, August 2020". Angels Above Cremation Services. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  17. ^ Canadian Music Hall of Fame Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 22 February 2009.
  18. ^ "Vocal Group Hall Of Fame Inducts 2003 Class". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-10-06.
  19. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 73–4. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  20. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 209. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  21. ^ "Four Lads". Chart history archive. London SE1 7JA, United Kingdom: The Official UK Charts Company. Archived from the original on 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-04-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: location (link)

External links[edit]