The Poni-Tails

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The Poni-Tails
The Poni Tails 1960.JPG
The Poni-Tails in 1960
Background information
Origin Lyndhurst, Ohio, United States
Genres Pop music
Years active 1956 to 1960
Labels Point, Marc, ABC-Paramount
Past members Toni Cistone
Karen Topinka
Patti McCabe
LaVerne Novak

The Poni-Tails were an American girl group from Lyndhurst, Ohio. Their major hit was "Born Too Late" in 1958.


Formed in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, the Poni-Tails - Toni Cistone, Karen Topinka and Patti McCabe (Patricia Ann McCabe, July 6, 1939-January 17, 1989)[1] - started singing at Brush High School, which they all attended. Tom Ilius, a music publisher, had them signed to a local record label, Point Records, which released their first single, "Your Wild Heart" b/w "Que la Bozena" (the latter of which was written by the group). "Heart" was covered by the then-15-year-old Joy Layne and became a nationwide hit.[2] The next release was "Can I Be Sure" on Marc Records, which was not a success; following this release Topinka left the group and was replaced by LaVerne Novak.

Soon after this the group signed to ABC-Paramount and released "Just My Luck to Be Fifteen", a flop. Following this was "Come on Joey, Dance With Me" b/w "Born Too Late". The B-side was the one that caught the attention of radio DJs and became the group's biggest hit, reaching #11 on the U.S. R&B singles chart and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958.[3] Follow-ups "Seven Minutes In Heaven" (#85 Pop) and "I'll Be Seeing You" (#87 Pop) fared less well, and the group's last single, 1960's "Who, When And Why", did not chart.[2]

ABC-Paramount attempted to sign the group to a further five-year contract, but they turned it down. The members left the music industry and pursued careers in other fields in Ohio. They reunited to play a Cleveland festival, Moon Dog Coronation ball, in 1997.[2] A CD released by Poni Records with 12 tracks credited to the Poni-Tails contains only one Poni-Tails song ("Born Too Late") and 11 tracks recorded by other groups.[2]

In 1991 LaVerne (Novak) Glavac was working for a real estate agent in Mentor, Ohio, and had five grandchildren. Toni (Cistone) Costabile was working at a high school in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Patti (McCabe) Barnes died of cancer on January 17, 1989. Tom Illius subsequently became a top executive with the William Morris Agency in Los Angeles, California. He died on September 7, 2011, in Los Angeles.


Year Title Peak chart positions Record Label B-side
1957 "It's Just My Luck to Be Fifteen" ABC-Paramount Records "Wild Eyes and Tender Lips"
1958 "Born Too Late" 7 11 5 "Come On Joey Dance with Me"
"Seven Minutes in Heaven" 85 "Close Friends"
1959 "Early to Bed" 26 "Father Time"
"Moody" "Oom Pah Polka"
"I'll Be Seeing You" 87 "I'll Keep Tryin'"
1960 "Come Be My Love" "Before We Say Goodnight"
"Who, When, And Why" "Oh, My, You"



  • Toni Cistone
  • Karen Topinka (to 1958)
  • LaVerne Novak (1958-1960)
  • Patti McCabe - (died 1989)


  1. ^ Nick Talevski, Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door, Omnibus Press, 2010, p.404
  2. ^ a b c d The Poni-Tails at Allmusic
  3. ^ Billboard Singles,
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 431. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.