New York : The Danleers ©2001JCMarion


The Danleers were formed in Brooklyn, New York in early 1958 and consisted of Jimmy Weston-lead, Nat McCune-baritone, Roosevelt Mays-bass, and tenors Johnny Lee and Will Ephraim. As with countless groups before them, the young Brooklynites honed their sound on the streetcorners, playgrounds, and tenement hallways in the surrounding neighborhoods. Looking for both original material and someone with insiders knowledge of the recording industry, they found both in the person of one Danny Webb. He also provided the name of the group and so they became The Danleers. Within a short time they were in contact with a small New York based label called Amp-3 Records owned by Bill Lasley. They soon recorded two songs written by Webb called "Wheelin' And Dealin' " and "One Summer Night". Soon Amp-3 #2115 hit the streets in May and with it the first timers had an instant classic. The demand for the tune on the radio and in record stores was so intense that Mercury Records the major label that had the distribution rights to Amp-3 picked up the ball and re-released the record on the Mercury label as #71322 in June. Now with the powerful name and distribution behind them The Danleers hit the big time. Mercury put the group at the head of all of its advertising that summer ahead of such pop music stalwarts as The Platters, Diamonds, and Patti Page. By August the group was as hot as an attraction could be and were a natural to be part of Alan Freed's Labor Day extravaganza at the Brooklyn Fox to give the boys a festive homecoming. The show would headline Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and the Everly Brothers.


Closely following the Freed show The Danleers are signed for a big national touring show, and the headliners were a who's who of the rock 'n roll scene in late 1958 : Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, Eddie Cochrane, Connie Francis, Dion & The Belmonts, Jimmy Clanton, Buddy Holly & The Crickets, Clyde McPhatter, The Coasters, Elegants, and Imperials. "One Summer Night" had made it into the top five national pop music best sellers and went over the million mark in sales, quite a heady achievement for an R & B vocal group in 1958 ! About this time the second recording by The Danleers is released on Mercury #71356 - "I Really Love You" and "My Flaming Heart", again both written by Danny Webb. This time the spell was broken as the record failed to garner much support among record buyers or radio djs. By year's end another Mercury recording of "A Picture Of You" and "Prelude To Love" was a no show on the charts and was ignored by the public. One last try for Mercury came in mid March of 1959 with "Your Love" and "I Can't Sleep" on #71441 and the failure cycle remained. As expected Mercury dropped the group as the popularity of the vocal group sound started on its long descent in the face of the teen idols. By this time The Danleers existed in name only as a hybrid of Jimmy Weston and another Danny Webb group named The Webtones recorded a couple of forgettable items for Epic records - "If You Don't Care" and "Half A Block From An Angel" on #9367 and "I'll Always Believe In You" / "Little Lover" on #9421. For all intents and purposes, that was the end of The Danleers. There were two releases for Smash in the mid 60s with a completely revamped lineup, but they really had no connection to the original group.


Despite the short and mostly unsuccessful history of the group, they did manage to become the epitome of the "one hit wonders" with the eternally popular tune "One Summer Night". It remains a timeless classic standard of the music and will be played as long as there is an audience for the musical history of America. And that is one celebrated accomplishment-one that should be cherished for all time.


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