Rockin' In The Jungle : The Eternals©2006JCMarion


The Eternals were one of those groups that burst upon the scene at the end of the golden age of the R & B vocal groups during the end of the decade of the fifties and into the early sixties. The original members of the group were Charlie Girona, Ernie Sierra, Alex Miranda, Fred Hodge, and Arnie Torres. The origin of the group came during the high school years when they got together and hit some notes and soon had dreams of making it big as a quintet. They were originally called The Gleamers and then changed to The Orbits around the time of the space race between the United States and Russia. With the connections in the New York City music industry by their manager Bill Martin, they were put in touch with radio deejays Murray "The K" and "Cousin" Bruce Morrow and sent to record company head Morty Craft. As they narrowed in on a chance to record, they changed names again this time becoming The Eternals. They signed on with Hollywood Records, a new label from Craft, which despite the name was located in New York City. The group was set to do a recording session for the label in the early spring of 1959. This session produced an original song written by Charlie Girona called "Christmas In The Jungle" which was re-written and recorded as "Rockin' In The Jungle" and released on Hollywood # 68. The flip side was a song called "Rock 'n Roll Cha Cha". The record was released in May of the year and by June it was listed by Cosnat Distributors, one of the biggest record wholesalers on the East Coast, as one of the fastest selling records out.

The Eternals came quick upon the stardom and fame for teenagers in on the music scene of the late fifties. Unfortunately they soon came to know the business side of the business, which meant no royalties for record sales, phantom publishing credits, and percentages taken off their share of appearance fees. Even though they sold well in many parts of the country and made it well into the top one hundred selling pop records of the time, the group saw very little money. They did personal appearances throuhout the East as they contemplated their next move. In November they arranged another session for Hollywood Records and came up with a good followup tune called "Babalu's Wedding Day", which was coupled with "My Girl" and released on # 70. Again Cosnat told the trade press that the new record by The Eternals was a hot selling single and moving copies out at a good clip. Shortly after the record began to get playing time on radio and sales were picking up, Martin entered a lawsuit against Morty Craft and Warwick Records that had a definite negative effect on the fortunes of The Eternals. The only other record by the group that was released was the one that spurred the lawsuit. It was "Blind Date" and "Today" on Warwick # 611. All the songs were originals by the group and they seemed to have a bright career ahead of them. Unforyunately that was not to be.

Disillusioned by the drawn out legal action and the dead end it caused them, The Eternals soon broke up and most left the music business to seek their future elsewhere. One development on local New York radio kept them in the public eye however. A popular radio personality for ABC was Bob Lewis, who had a nightly show that played the pop hits of the day. He sometimes referred to himself as "Bobba-Lew" and it was a natural tie-in to use the chorus from the Eternals record as a theme song. At first Lewis used a remake version by studio musicians, but soon The Eternals said let's do it right - we will do the theme, and so they did. This gave the group exposure for years as they became a familiar part of the New York scene. That was the end of the recording career for The Eternals. However - they got together ten years later for an oldies show in New York and were captured on record with a great live version of "Rockin' In The Jungle". It goes to show that the talent always survives.

The original versions of both the Hollywood hits are available on a number of compilation cds that feature the sound of the vocal groups of the fifties.

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