The Velvets were an American doo-wop group from Odessa in Ector County in west Texas. The African-American quintet was formed in 1959 by Virgil Johnson, a high-school English teacher, with four of his students. Roy Orbison heard the group and signed them to Monument Records in 1960. Their first release was a tune called "That Lucky Old Sun". Their biggest hit single was "Tonight (Could Be the Night)", which hit #26 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961. The follow-up, "Laugh", peaked at #90, and after a half-dozen further singles the group disbanded.
"That Lucky Old Sun" (#46) and "Tonight (Could Be the Night)" (#50) made brief appearances in the UK Singles Chart in 1961.
Their complete recorded output runs to just thirty songs, which were collected on one compact disc and released on Ace Records in 1996.
Prior to his death, aged 77, in February 2013, Johnson sometimes appeared in nostalgia concerts.