The Four Preps

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The Four Preps
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Pop
Years active 1956–present
Labels Capitol Records
Members Bruce Belland
Bob Duncan
Michael Redman
Jim Armstrong
Past members Ed Cobb
Marv Ingram
Glen Larson
Don Clarke
David Somerville
Skip Taylor

The Four Preps are an American popular music male quartet. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the group amassed eight gold singles and three gold albums. Its million-selling signature tunes included "26 Miles (Santa Catalina)," "Big Man," "Lazy Summer Night," and "Down by the Station."

The Four Preps' numerous television and motion picture appearances included four years on Ozzie and Harriet backing heartthrob Ricky Nelson and with Sandra Dee in the Gidget movie. Their most recent television appearance was with the award-winning 2004 PBS special, Magic Moments: The Best of 50s Pop.

The current incarnation of the Four Preps features co-founder and original lead singer Bruce Belland, Bob Duncan (formerly with the Diamonds and the Crew Cuts), Michael Redman (of the Crew Cuts), and Jim Armstrong.[1] Their shows are currently an amalgamation of singing everything from doo-wop to Tin Pan Alley standards and comedy.

Original line-up[edit]

  • Bruce Belland, lead vocals (born October 22, 1936, Chicago, Illinois)
  • Ed Cobb, bass (born Edward C. Cobb, February 28, 1938; died September 19, 1999)
  • Marv Ingram, high tenor (born Marvin Inabnett July 29, 1938; died March 7, 1999)
  • Glen Larson, baritone (born Glen Albert Larson January 3, 1937 Los Angeles, California; died November 14, 2014)


The four original members were students at Hollywood High School and were signed to a recording contract by Capitol Records, after one of Capitol's executives saw them at a talent show at that school in 1956.[citation needed] They had a minor chart hit that year with "Dreamy Eyes" and between 1956 and 1964 reached the Billboard pop charts with 13 different songs. In 1957 they appeared with Lindsay Crosby in the television special The Edsel Show.

Their biggest hit was "26 Miles (Santa Catalina)," which was written by Belland and Larson in 1957 and reached #2 early the following year. The record sold over one million copies, earning a gold disc.[2] Around this time, Ricky Nelson appeared with them at a Hamilton High School lunch hour assembly singing "Blue Moon of Kentucky".[3]

Belland and Larson also wrote "Big Man", which reached #3 in 1958, and composed new lyrics for the older tune "Down by the Station", which peaked at #13 in 1960. Cobb wrote a handful of songs for the group, though not any of their chart hits; Cobb later became a noted writer and/or producer of hit material for other artists, especially The Standells' "Dirty Water", Brenda Holloway's "Every Little Bit Hurts" and Soft Cell's "Tainted Love". Many Four Preps records were arranged by their high school friend and piano accompanist Lincoln Mayorga.[4]

In 1959, the group appeared as themselves in the film Gidget.[5] For a short period, Don Clarke replaced Ingram while the latter finished college at UCLA, but he rejoined the group in 1960.

In 1960 they also recorded a parody single, "More Money for You and Me," which included single parody verses of several popular songs by The Fleetwoods, The Hollywood Argyles, The Platters, The Four Freshmen, The Kingston Trio and Dion and the Belmonts. The title parody, sung to the tune of "Tom Dooley," went like this:

Hang down the Kingston Trio,
Hang 'em from a tall oak tree;
Eliminate the Kingston Trio;
More money for you and me.

The group last appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1964, when "A Letter to The Beatles" charted for a total of three weeks beginning March 21, peaking at #85 before being pulled from sale.[6] Like most other folk revival groups, the arrival of The Beatles, along with the rest of the British Invasion, coincided with the decline of the Four Preps. In 1966, David Somerville, formerly of The Diamonds, joined the group, replacing Ingram. In 1969, the group disbanded, as their type of music had become less popular. Belland and Somerville occasionally performed as a duo after the breakup.

Later careers[edit]

Belland continued writing songs for other singers, as well as writing television show scripts, eventually becoming a network executive. Belland was a producer on several game shows in the 1970s for Ralph Edwards Productions. Cobb became a record producer and sound engineer. He composed and produced the top-twenty hit, "Dirty Water" for The Standells in 1966 with Cobb; "Every Little Bit Hurts " for Brenda Holloway; "Tainted Love" for Gloria Jones, which became a worldwide hit for Soft Cell in 1982.[7] Somerville went into television acting and providing voice-overs.[citation needed] Larson became a television producer, creating Battlestar Galactica and Knight Rider; he and Somerville would reunite to collaborate on the song "Unknown Stuntman," the theme song to another one of Larson's TV series, The Fall Guy. Ingram became a commodities broker.[citation needed] Clarke became a music teacher at Glendora High School.[citation needed] Don Clarke was a music director at Mark Keppel High School, Alhambra, California, from 1965 to 1967.

In the 1980s, Belland, Cobb, Somerville, and Jim Pike (formerly of the Lettermen) eventually formed a new "Four Preps" group and went on to perform. Jim Yester, formerly of The Association, replaced Pike in 1993, and the group became the "New Four Preps".[8]

In 1999 Cobb died of leukemia in Honolulu, Hawaii; and Ingram died of a heart attack.[citation needed]

Yester, Belland, and Somerville continued performing as a trio, using their last names, doing songs that were associated with the Four Preps, the Diamonds, and the Association. Somerville died on July 14, 2015.

Belland's daughters, Tracey Bryn Belland and Melissa Brooke Belland, followed in their father's footsteps as singers, forming a group named Voice of the Beehive.

Singles discography[edit]

Year Titles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart positions Album
1956 "Dreamy Eyes"
b/w "Fools Will Be Fools"
75 The Four Preps
1957 "Moonstruck In Madrid"
b/w "I Cried A Million Tears"
"Falling Star"
b/w "Where Wuz You" (Non-album track)
"Promise Me Baby"
b/w "Again 'N' Again 'N' Again"
"Band Of Angels"
b/w "How About That" (from The Four Preps)
Non-album track
1958 "26 Miles (Santa Catalina)"
b/w "It's You"
2 6 The Four Preps
"Big Man"
b/w "Stop Baby" (Non-album track)
3 9 2 Down By The Station
(Later retitled Early In The Morning)
"Lazy Summer Night"
b/w "Summertime Lies"
b/w "Gidget" (Non-album track)
1959 "She Was Five and He Was Ten"
b/w "The Riddle Of Love" (Non-album track)
"Big Surprise"
b/w "Try My Arms" (Non-album track)
"I Ain't Never"
b/w "Memories, Memories"
"Down By The Station"
b/w "Listen Honey (I'll Be Home)"
1960 "Got A Girl"
b/w "(Wait Till You) Hear It From Me" (Non-album track)
24 28 The Four Preps On Campus
"Sentimental Kid"
b/w "Madelina"
Non-album tracks
b/w "The Sand and The Sea" (from Dancing and Dreaming)
"I've A'ready Started In"
b/w "Balboa"
1961 "Calcutta"
b/w "Gone Are The Days"
"Dream Boy, Dream"
b/w "Grounded"
"More Money For You and Me" (medley)
b/w "Swing Down Chariot"
17 4 39 The Four Preps On Campus
"Once Around The Block"
b/w "The Seine"
Non-album tracks
1962 "The Big Draft" (medley)
b/w "Suzy Cocroach"
61 15 Campus Encore
"Good Night Sweetheart"
b/w "Alice"
Non-album tracks
1963 "Charmaine"
b/w "Hi Ho Anybody Home"
"Oh Where, Oh Where"
b/w "Demons and Witches" (Non-album track)
Songs For A Campus Party
"I'm Falling In Love With A Girl (I Shouldn't Fall In Love With)"
b/w "The Greatest Surfer Couple"
Non-album tracks
1964 "A Letter to the Beatles"
b/w "College Cannonball" (from Campus Confidential)
"I've Known You All My Life"
b/w "What Kind Of Bird Is That"
"The Girl Without A Top"
b/w "Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right"
"My Love, My Love"
b/w "How To Succeed In Love"
1965 "I'll Set My Love To Music"
b/w "Everlasting"
"I'll Never Be The Same"
b/w "Our First American Dance"
1966 "Something To Remember You By"
b/w "Annie In Her Granny"
"Let's Call It A Day Girl"
b/w "The Girl In The Shade Of A Striped Umbrella"
1967 "Love Of The Common People"
b/w "What I Don't Know Can't Hurt Me"
"Draftdoger Rag"
b/w "Hitchhiker"


  1. ^ Wilkerson, DeeAnna (2017-08-29). "The Four Preps bring 1960s tunes to Sun City". Bluffton Today. Retrieved 2018-01-17. 
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 91. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ Ricky Nelson interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  4. ^ Lincoln Mayorga at Black Cat Rockabilly. Accessed January 26, 2010.
  5. ^ Accessed March 25, 2012.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 258. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 513. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

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