The Five Keys

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The Five Keys
The Five Keys 1952.jpg
The Five Keys in 1952
Background information
Also known as Sentimental Four
Origin Newport News, Virginia, U.S.
Genres Rhythm and blues, doo-wop
Years active 1948–1962
Labels Aladdin Records, Capitol Records

The Five Keys was an American rhythm and blues vocal group that was instrumental in shaping this genre in the 1950s.[1]

It was formed with the original name of Sentimental Four in Newport News, Virginia, U.S., in the late 1940s, and initially consisted of two sets of brothers - Rudy West (born 25 July 1932, Newport News, Virginia) and Bernie West (born 4 February 1930, Newport News), and Ripley Ingram (born 1930 - died 23 March 1995, Newport News) and Raphael Ingram.[2] Ingram left in 1949 and Maryland Pierce (born 1933) and Dickie Smith became members in his place. At this juncture the name of the group was changed to The Five Keys.[2]

They were signed to Aladdin Records in 1951, and in 1952 Rudy West left to join the United States Army, and he was replaced by Ulysses K. Hicks. When Hicks died of a heart attack in Boston in 1955, Rudy West returned to the group.[3] In 1954 Dickie Smith left and was replaced with Ramon Loper. At this point the Five Keys was signed to Capitol Records, and their popularity increased, although more instrumentation was used.[2]

The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.[4]



  • The Best of the Five Keys (Aladdin 1956)
  • The Five Keys on the Town (Score 1957)
  • The Five Keys on Stage (Capitol 1957)
  • The Five Keys (King 1960)
  • Rhythm and Blues Hits Past and Present (King 1960)
  • The Fantastic Five Keys (Capitol 1962)

Charting singles[edit]


  • The Glory of Love (1951) U.S. R&B #1
  • "Close Your Eyes (1955) U.S. R&B #5
  • "Ling, Ting, Tong" (1955) U.S. R&B #5
  • "The Verdict" (1955) U.S. R&B #13
  • "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" (1956) U.S. #23, U.S. R&B #12
  • "Let There Be You" (1957) U.S. #69
  • "Wisdom of a Fool" (1957) U.S. #35


  1. ^ "Allmusic bio.". All Media Guide. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  2. ^ a b c Warner, Jay (2006). American singing groups: a history from 1940 to today. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-634-09978-6. 
  3. ^ Hicks, of 5 Keys. Dies in Bostpn. Billboard. February 12, 1955. Retrieved December 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Five Keys (Inducted 2002)". Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  5. ^ "Billboard singles". All Media Guide / Billboard. Retrieved 2010-02-25.