The Four Lads

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The Four Lads
The Four Lads 1969.JPG
The group in 1969
Background information
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Traditional pop
Years active 1950–present
Labels Okeh, Columbia
Members Don Farrar
Aaron Bruce
Alan Sokoloff
Frank Busseri
Past members Corrado "Connie" Codarini
John Bernard "Bernie" Toorish
James F. "Jimmy" Arnold
Sid Edwards
Johnny D'Arc

The Four Lads is a Canadian male singing quartet. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the group earned many gold singles and albums. Its million-selling signature tunes include "Moments to Remember," "Standin' on the Corner," "No, Not Much," "Who Needs You?" and "Istanbul."

The Four Lads made numerous television appearances including the award-winning PBS special, Moments to Remember.[citation needed]

The current incarnation of the group features the original member Frank Busseri (bass), plus Don Farrar (lead tenor), Aaron Bruce (second tenor), and Alan Sokoloff (baritone).

The original quartet grew up together in Toronto, Ontario, and were members of St. Michael's Choir School, where they learned to sing. The founding members were Corrado "Connie" Codarini, bass (died April 28, 2010); John Bernard "Bernie" Toorish (born March 2, 1931), tenor; James F. "Jimmy" Arnold (January 4, 1932 – June 15, 2004), lead; and Frank 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 become founding members of another group, The Crew-Cuts.


The group was known variously as The Otnorots (taken from the name "Toronto" spelled backwards) and The Jordonaires (not to be confused with a similarly named group, The Jordanaires, that was known for singing 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 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 by Mitch Miller, who asked them to do backup for some of the artists he recorded. One of these artists, Johnnie Ray, became a major hit in 1951 with "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried" with the Four Lads backing him. This made them well known. In 1954 in Manhattan, the Four Lads had a recording session and decided they needed young voices. Lillian Pasciolla, and her friend who was President of the Four Lads Fan Club were visiting and were invited to sing "Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer" with them. They are both in the original recording along with the Four Lads.

Their first single was "The Mocking Bird" on Columbia's Okeh label (master #ZSP-9710), released in 1952, with "I May Hate Myself in the Morning" (#ZSP-9711) on the B-side. "The Mocking Bird" was re-recorded for release on the Columbia label twice in subsequent years.

In 1953 they made their own first gold record,[1] "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)", which launched them to stardom and kept them busy throughout the 1950s and 1960s in the U.S. and Canada.

Their most famous hit was "Moments to Remember" in 1955,[2] and their next best known was "Standin' on the Corner", from the Broadway musical production of The Most Happy Fella, in 1956. A gospel album with Frankie Laine took them back to their roots and produced the hit single "Rain, Rain, Rain". Their songs have appeared on numerous compilation albums and re-issues in the 1990s and 2000s.

Codarini was replaced in 1962 by Johnny D'Arc (who remained with the Lads until 1982), and Sid Edwards replaced Toorish in the early 1970s.

D'Arc died in 1999, aged 60. Arnold died of lung cancer in Sacramento, California, at the age of 72. Codarini died on April 28, 2010, in Concord, NC, at the age of 80. Connie also owned a restaurant since the early 1980s in Medina, Ohio called Penny's Poorhouse, named after his wife. They came to Medina showing Great Danes and didn't leave until the restaurant was sold in 2007.[3]

Today, a reconstituted group, with original singer Busseri, performs live.

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).[4] They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003.[5]

Gold singles[edit]

Singles discography[edit]

Year Titles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart positions Album
U.S. CB U.S.
UK [7][8]
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)
"The Mocking Bird"
b/w "I May Hate Myself In The Morning" (Non-album track)
23 The Four Lads' Greatest Hits
"Somebody Loves Me"
b/w "Thanks To You"
22 Non-album tracks
"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 Broc 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"
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"
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" (Non-album track)
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"
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"
"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"
"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"
"My Heart's Symphony"
b/w "Pardon Me Miss"


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gold & Platinum certification of albums at RIAA".  Retrieved on 26 November 2006.
  2. ^ "U.S. Billboard chart rankings".  Retrieved on 26 November 2006.
  3. ^ – accessed April 2010
  4. ^ Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 22 February 2009.
  5. ^ "Vocal Group Hall of Fame inductees".  Retrieved on 26 November 2006.
  6. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 73–4. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 209. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  8. ^ "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. 

External links[edit]