Jerry Murad's Harmonicats
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Jerry Murad's Harmonicats were an American harmonica-based group. The band was founded in 1947; by 2009, it was no longer performing. Originally they were named The Harmonica Madcaps and the group consisted of Jerry Murad (chromatic lead harmonica), Bob Hadamik (bass harmonica), Pete Pedersen (chromatic harmonica), and Al Fiore, (chord harmonica). They reformed later as a trio with Murad, Fiore, and bass harmonica player Don Les.
Jerry Murad (chromatic harmonica), was an Armenian born in Istanbul, Turkey who moved to America at the age of 2. He played diatonic harmonicas at first, and took up chromatic soon after. Murad played Hohner 270s and 64s, as well as the Musette, a harmonica made especially for him that replicates the sound qualities of a French accordion. It is featured on their 1960s recording of "Parisienne Fantasy". Murad also played the Hohner Polyphonia (a type of orchestral melodic harmonica).
Don Les (bass harmonica) was born in Chicago, and was blind at birth. He was able to see again at the age of twelve after a successful surgery. At one point, he formed his own version of the Harmonicats. The Don Les Harmonicats, which featured Mildred Mulcay (of the harmonica duo the Mulcays) and Lenny Leavitt. They released a Christmas album entitled Christmas with the Don Les Harmonicats.
Al Fiore (chord harmonica), was born in Chicago and started experimenting with chord harmonicas at the age of 13. Fiore played the rare pre-war Hohner Chord harmonica. He recorded the band's No. 1 hit, Peg o' My Heart on this harmonica.
Peg o' My Heart
Their 1947 recording of the song "Peg o' My Heart" (Mercury Records, originally Vitacoustic Records, catalog number 1) brought them public attention and sold over one million copies by 1950, reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard chart. Other charted hits included "Hair of Gold, Eyes of Blue," which reached No. 22, and "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White".
- Peg o' My Heart (Vitacoustic, 1947)
- Galloping Comedians (1951)
- Meet Mr. Gallagham (1952)
- Dolls, Dolls, Dolls (1957)
- Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White (1961)
- Fiesta! (1962)
- Love Theme from El Cid and Other Motion Picture Songs and Themes (1962)
- Sentimental Serenade (1962)
- The Love Song of Tom Jones (1964)
- That New Gang of Mine! (1965)
- Mexican Hat Dance (1965)
- Great Themes from TV and Motion Pictures (1969)
- Harmonica Rhapsody (1974)
- South American Night
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