The Capris

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The Capris
Capris 1969
Capris 1969
Background information
OriginOzone Park, Queens, New York, United States
GenresDoo wop
Years active1957–1958, 1960–present
LabelsPlanet, Lost Nite, Old Town, Ambient Sound, Columbia Records
MembersFrank Reina
Tony Sergi
Lou Esposito
John Monforte
Michael D'Amore
Past membersJohn Apostol
Nick "Santo" Santamaria
Mike Mincieli
Vinnie Naccarato
John Cassese
Tony Danno
Tommy Ferrara
Wayne Smith

The Capris are an American doo wop group who became a one-hit wonder in 1961 with "There's a Moon Out Tonight." They experienced a popularity and performing resurgence in the 1980s, when three members reformed and The Manhattan Transfer recorded their song, "Morse Code of Love," which reached the US Hot 100[1] and the U.S. AC top 20.


All of the original members were Italian Americans from the borough of Queens in New York, United States.[2] Started by first tenor Mike Mincieli and Rosario Morice (Sonny) who later left the group when he joined the Navy, the original group coalesced in 1958 – also including Nick Santo (Santamaria) lead baritone, second tenor Frank Reina, baritone Vinnie Narcardo, and bass John Cassese. Their name was taken from the Lincoln Capri. In 1958, they recorded two songs for Planet Records, "Indian Girl," and "There's a Moon Out Tonight."[3][2] When the record sold badly, they disbanded and went their separate ways.[3][2] Alan Fredericks, a late night radio disc jockey continued to play their song, piquing the interest of Jerry Greene, an employee of the Times Square Record Store. Greene purchased the master and re-issued the record on Lost Nite Records. WINS 1010's disc jockey Murray the K played the song often, and it sold well.[4] Realizing that their manufacturing and distribution capacity could not meet the demands of a hit record, Greene and Lost Nite sold their interest to Old Town Records, which had the capacity to meet the needs[5] of the 1961 number three national hit.

For a time, the Capris toured and performed in major venues all over the United States, but none of their follow up records sold well, and by 1963, members of the original group started to leave the ensemble.[4] Some continued to perform locally as the Capris, but with no national profile.[5]

Nick Santo, who left the group in 1962 and joined the New York City Police Department in 1965, continued to write songs. In 1982, Santo, Mike Mincieli, and Frank Reina – joined at the time by Tommy Ferrara of The Del-Satins and Tony Danno,[5] recorded There's a Moon Out Again, an album of 12 songs,[6] including nine compositions by Santo. "The Morse Code of Love," one of Santo's songs, quickly became a requested number on Oldies radio, with many disc jockeys and audience members believing it to be an unreleased song by the original Capris.[4] In 1984, The Manhattan Transfer recorded "The Morse Code of Love" as "Baby Come Back to Me" for their Bop Doo-Wopp album and released it as a single. It reached number 83 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 14 on the Adult Contemporary Chart.

Santo, Mincieli, and Reina, with other singers, continued to perform as the Capris until at least 2002.[5]

Santo died as a result of cancer on December 30, 2010, at age 69.[7][8] The Capris are still performing with Frank Reina (original member )[9]

Mike Mincieli (born Michael Mincieli; their original first tenor) died on March 15, 2015.[10]

Wayne Smith, their most recent lead singer, died on March 12, 2016.


Santo's favorite singer was Clyde McPhatter, along with James Shepherd of Shep and the Limelites. The Capris patterned their sound on African-American vocal groups, rather than fellow Italian-Americans such as Dion DiMucci.[5]

Palisades Amusement Park - 1962
Narcardo and Cassese perform "Limbo" on the free act stage
The Capris - 2007 Vocal Group Hall Of Fame induction ceremony



  1. ^ "The Capris | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Warner, Jay (2006). American Singing Groups: A History from 1940s to Today, Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 89-91. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Rosalsky, Mitch (2002). Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Doo-Wop Vocal Groups, Scarecrow Press. p. 51. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Jim Dunn. "The Capris | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e "The Doo-Wop Society of Southern California (DWS): The Capris". October 20, 2002. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Cub Koda. "There's a Moon out Again! - The Capris | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2010 July to December". Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  9. ^ "The Capris". Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  10. ^ "Mike Mincieli, Original Member of The Capris Dies". Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  11. ^ "The Capris Discography". April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  12. ^ "The Capris - Morse Code of Love (CD)". April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  13. ^ "The Capris - There's A Moon Out Tonight - The Very Best Of The Capris (CD, Album)". Retrieved April 11, 2017.

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