The Velvets

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Not to be confused with the Velvet Underground.
The Velvets
Origin Odessa, Texas, United States
Genres Doo-wop
Years active 1959 (1959)–1962 (1962)
Labels Monument
Past members

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.[1] Roy Orbison heard the group and signed them to Monument Records in 1960.[2] 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.[1] The follow-up, "Laugh", peaked at #90,[1] 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.[3]

Their complete recorded output runs to just thirty songs, which were collected on one compact disc and released on Ace Records in 1996.[4]

Prior to his death, aged 77, in February 2013,[5] Johnson sometimes appeared in nostalgia concerts.


  • Virgil Johnson (1935-2013)[5]
  • Will Solomon
  • Mark Prince
  • Clarence Rigsby (1947–1978)[6]
  • Bob Thursby


  1. ^ a b c Thomas, Bryan (2008-01-01). "The Velvets - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  2. ^ Nite, Norm N. Rock On: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock n' Roll (The Solid Gold Years). Thomas Y. Crowell (1974), p. 630.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 584. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ "The Complete Velvets - The Velvets : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  5. ^ a b Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2013 January to June". Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  6. ^ Doc Rock. "The 1970s". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2013-03-05.