You You You - The Ames Brothers©2002JCMarion


The four Ames Brothers began in Malden, Massachusetts, as the four eldest Urick boys. They sang together on and off from an early age. Although each of the four had other ambitions in life, they were always joined together by the sound of music. Soon Ed, Vic, Gene, and Joe, began a series of appearances at local amateur shows in the area. Their success at these contests led to a number of night club bookings in the greater Boston area. The word got around about their way with a song and an improving stage act, and soon the Four Ames Brothers were signed to post war independent record label Signature Records of Chicago. Their very first appearance on the hit record charts followed singing backup for pop singer Monica Lewis on a cover of Margaret Whiting's hit tune "A Tree In The Meadow". The record sold well enough to be picked up by Decca (#24411) and got into the top 20 sellers in the country.The people in charge at Decca liked what they heard from the brothers Ames and quickly signed them to their subsidiary label Coral where they began a lengthy and successful partnership.

Just about the time they were signed to Coral, the Ames Brothers made appearances on the Arthur Godfrey Show on radio for CBS and moved to the fledgling medium of television. They didn't stay with Godfrey long as they concentrated on records and personal appearances. Their spot was taken over by the landmark interracial vocal quartet The Mariners. In early 1949 they scored their first charted record as the featured act with their version of a German pop song called "You You You Are The One" (Coral #60015) which got into the top 25 on the hit parade. Later that year their version of the big song of 1949 "Cruisin Down The River" (#60035) charted briefly. "Barroom Polka" (#60052), "St. Bernard Waltz",(#60065), and "Still Waters And Green Pastures" (#60091),didn't do much but the Ames Brothers hit the big time on their next release for Coral. They covered a country music hit by Johnny Lee Wills (brother of Bob) called "Rag Mop" (#60140) and it went to number one in the nation and topped the million mark in sales. The flip side "Sentimental Me" also started to sell and was quickly pulled and released separately (#60173)and also went to the top spot and topped a million in sales and remained on the best seller charts for over six months. The four brothers were now one of the top recording artists in the country.

Continuing on the crest in 1950 they recorded a cover of Theresa Brewer's hit tune "Music! Music! Music!" (#60153) which got into the top 15 sellers,and a tune called "Stars Are The Windows of Heaven" (#60209) which was another top 20 seller. They had another smash hit in late summer with "Can Anyone Explain?" (#60253) a top five seller and chart hit for almost five months. Two more covers for Coral rounded out the year on the charts for the Ames Brothers - Art Mooney's "Oh Babe" (#60327) and Phil Harris' "The Thing" (#60333) both moderate sellers. In 1951 "In The Evening By The Moonlight (#60336), "Because" (#60339), "More Than I Care To Remember" (#60363), "Marianna" (#60398), and "Somewhere There Must Be Happiness" (#60452) all failed to chart in 1951. However "Wang Wang Blues" with the Roy Ross Orchestra (#60489) and "Hawaiian War Chant" with Roy Smeck & The Serenaders (#60510) briefly made it into the top 20. The next release for Coral (#60566) was a five month charted side and another million seller. It was "Undecided" and got to the number two position on the best sellers listing. The flip side also sold well on its own and is an interesting story. The session was done with Les Brown and his band (of renown), and the tune chosen was "Sentimental Journey" which was a huge hit for Les Brown six years earlier with Doris Day on vocal. For the Ames Brothers version, Les Brown used the exact same arrangement as on the 1945 original and the four part harmony replaces day's solo vocal. This side got into the top 25 on its own, a big two sider for the quartet.

By 1952 the Ames Brothers were a major pop music attraction and starred in the top night clubs in the country and made many television appearances on the musical variety shows of the day. "I Wanna Love You" and "I Still Love You" with Marty Manning's Orchestra (#60617) was a moderate seller early in the year. "Lovely Lady Dressed In Blue" (#60628), "Dry Bones" (#60633), "The Sheik of Araby" (##60680), and "Star Dust" (#60751) failed to generate much in the way of airplay or sales but a cover of Vera Lynn's "Auf Weiderseh'n Sweetheart" (#60773) with Ray Bloch's Orchestra and The Sweetland Singers was a good seller. Two more top fifteen sellers followed to close out the year - "String Along" (##60804) and "My Favorite Song" (#60846).

The year 1953 began with another session with Les Brown that resulted in "No Moon At All" a top 20 seller (#60870), and "Can't I?" (#60926) which charted for one week. A tune called "Candy Bar Boogie" (#60967) went nowhere. About this time in the spring of the year the Ames Brothers ended their five year association with Decca and Coral Records and signed with RCA Victor records. Their first release for their new label was the biggest hit of their career - "You You You" (RCA# 5325) which sold over two million records, was in the number one position for two months, and remained on the best seller charts an incredible eight months ! This was certainly a hard act to follow and "My Love My Life My Happiness" (#5404) and "I Can't Believe You're In Love With Me" (#5530) barely charted at all. Early the next year though, the brothers version of "The Man With The Banjo" was a good top ten seller, and the flip side "Man Man Is For The Woman Made" also enjoyed some popularity (#5644). They closed out 1954 with "Leave It To Your Heart" (#5764) and "Hopelessly" (#5840) both backed by Hugo Winterhalter, which briefly charted.

A song recorded late in 1954 scored big early the next year as the Ames Brothers release of "The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane" (#5897) got to number three and charted for almost four months. After the run of this record, the rock 'n roll tidal wave seemed to swallow up the quartet after seven years among the recording elite and their appearances on the top hits list were sporadic over the next two years. The singing brothers tried their hand with a television show in 1955 in which they starred. Their recording of "My Bonnie Lassie" (#6208) did O.K. in mid 1955, and the next year "Forever Darling" (#6400) briefly charted. In late 1956 "It Only Hurts For A Little While" (#6481) was a surprise as it got into the top ten and lasted on the charts for four months. This was a hint at what was to come.

By mid 1957 rock 'n roll was entrenched as the music of choice of young America, and anybody else had a hard time making it big. However in the middle of this scene, the Ames Brothers took over the second half of the year with two monster hit records for RCA. The first a movie song "Tammy" (#6930) was a top five seller and remained on the charts for four months. The follow up was "Melodie D'Amour" (#7046) also a top five seller and mainstay on the charts. It was quite a way for the foursome to wind up a decade in the business. The quartet stayed at it but never again reached those heights of popularity. "A Very Precious Love" from the motion picture "Marjorie Morningstar" (RCA# 7167) and "Pussy Cat" (#7315) charted in the top 25. "Red River Rose" (#7413) briefly made the hit list in 1959 and the last charted record by The Ames Brothers was "China Doll" (#7655) in 1960.

The Ames Brothers made many LP albums over the years such as "Exactly Like You" (#1142), "Sweet Seventeen" (#1487), "Destination Moon" (#1680), and The Best Of (#1859). One Christmas album made the best seller list - "There'll Always Be A Christmas" (#1541). By the mid sixties the Ames Brothers had called it a day after two decades as recording and performing artists. Ed Ames, the lead singer of the group decided to continue on as a solo artist. Along with his vocalizing, he was part of the cast of the TV program "Daniel Boone" in a memorable part as the Indian Mingo. As for his singing career, in the late 60s he had two hit singles - "My Cup Runneth Over" (#RCA 9002) from the Broadway musical "I Do I Do" which was a top ten seller and "Who Will Answer" (#9400) a top twenty seller also in 1967. Also in the late 60s Ed Ames did well with the LP format having two certified gold albums for RCA - "My Cup Runneth Over" (#3774) and "Who Will Answer" (#3961). A third album made the charts in 1968 - "When The Snow Is On The Roses" (#3913).

From the mid forties until the late sixties, the Ames Brothers and Ed Ames as a solo performer were in the forefront of the American popular music scene. They continued on from the big band era through the rise of rock 'n roll and to the threshold of the seventies. They were certainly a major force in the music of the Interlude Era.

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