I Remember : The Five Discs©2008JCMarion


A Brooklyn based vocal group began their history as The Flames in the mid fifties. After a number of style and personnel changes the group changed their name to The Five Discs and began to make their name and reputation in the neighborhood . The members of the group were Mario deAndrade lead singer, Paul Albano, Tony Basile, Joe Barsalona, and Andrew Jackson. After much practice the group felt they were ready with an original song written by the group called "I Remember". They headed for the Brill Building and other locations of independent record companies to try and get a chance on a recording session. Through a contact with song writer Billy Martin, who also ran Metropolitan Recording Studios, they were put in touch with Murray Singer and the Schwartz brothers (Bob and Gene) who had started a new label called Emge Records. They liked a few demos the group had recorded and so "I Remember" was done at their first session.

In March of 1958 "I Remember" backed with "The World Is A Beautiful Place" was released on Emge # 1004. The record was a typical late fifties tune that had a definite East Coast "feel" to it and became a radio favorite in the Northeast and received decent airplay on local radio. However problems with record promotion and distribution plagued the record. First the Schwartz Brothers with Allen Sussel were now involved with Laurie Records and their new Bronx sensation Dion & The Belmonts who were becoming big time recording stars. Little time and finances were left for the Five Discs. The group got Emge to lease the side to the RCA subsidiary label Vik Records which did nothing for the group or the song. In 1959 The Five Discs recorded two songs for Billy Martin's label Dwain Records in April of 1959 - "My Chinese Girl" and "Roses", which were released on # 6072. Nothing happened with that record and so Martin and The Five Discs tried again with the same two songs - this time as by Mario & The Five Discs and issued on Dwain # 803 in September of the year.

The fun and games continued for the group when in the spring of 1960, Rust Records which was a subsidiary label of Laurie Records, re-released "I Remember" and "The World Is A Beautiful Place" on # 5027. At this time Mario and Andrew had enough of the business and left the group. Various personnel changes now occurred often as the Five Discs remained on the scene. Martin recorded the group for the Yale label with "When Love Comes Knocking" and "Go-Go" on # 240, and "I Don't Know" and "Come On Baby" on # 243. Next stop for the quintet was Calo Records with John Carbone on lead vocal. The songs were "Adios" and "My Baby Loves Me", both written by Mario deAndrade. When that record failed to chart it was on to Cheer Records in May of 1962 with "That Was The Time" and "Never Let You Go" on # 1000. Despite having a good sendoff on local radio this record too, failed to ignite popularity among record buyers. Two years later another re-release of "My Chinese Girl" and "Roses" was presented to the public, this time on MelloMood # 1002.

The group tried a change of name to see if they could jump start their stalled career and so The Five Discs became The Boy Friends on "Lana" and "Let's Fall in Love" on Kapp # 569. Another forgotten record spelled the end for the group as they had been known. Some sporadic recordings and personal appearances over the years under the name The Five Discs have kept the name alive and remain a tribute to Joe Barsalona who has remained a part of the legacy of the group for more than four decades. So the story of The Five Discs remains but another of rock 'n roll's one hit wonders, but one that has resulted in many pleasant memories for many of us that were there to listen, and now to remember.

Two cds by the Five Discs have been released. "The Best Of . . . . " on Emge # 1000 has twenty tracks containing most of the output by the group that was released commercially, and "The A Capella Album" on Emge # 1001 is a later studio effort also with twenty tracks.

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