Spinning A Web : The Gaylords ©2004JCMarion


Back in the late 1940s in the east side of Detroit, Michigan, three young neighborhood teenagers met and discussed their love of music and their own dreams of someday becoming part of that profession. They got together through their association with a CYO youth group at Our Lady of Sorrows church. After high school they all entered the University of Detroit. The three members were Ron Fredianelli, Burt Bonaldi, and Don Rea. They formalized their trio in 1949 and called themselves The Gay Lords. At one of their very first professional appearances, local advertising for the trio made their name into one word and the three liked the look of that even better, and so from that point on they were known as The Gaylords. By early 1952 they felt that they were ready to put their voices on record and made a private recording of a song that they were working on called "Tell Me You're Mine" which was derived from an Italian tune that they were familiar with ("Per Un Bacio d' Amore"). One of the technicians at the recording studio thought that the tune and the trio had promise, and through his efforts they were put in touch with Chicago based Mercury Records.

In late 1952 Mercury recorded the Gaylords singing their tune "Tell Me You're Mine" / "Cuban Love Song" on #70030, and by December of the year it began to sell in a big way. The record turned out to be a huge hit across the country with a stay on the best seller charts for five and a half months and getting to the number two position on the hit parade held out of the top spot only by Perry Como's "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes". This first recording by the threesome eventually sold more than one million copies earning them a gold record. By the time the spring of 1953 arrived The Gaylords had their second Mercury release out, again accompanied by the "orchestra" of Ronnie Vincent (in reality Fredianelli) - "Ramona" the old romantic standard, and "Spinning A Web" on #70112. Both sides shot into the top fifteen sellers with Ramona getting the most of the sales and remaining on the pop charts for more than two months.

By mid 1953 The Gaylords were a top pop music act on records and many club appearances were now forthcoming. However the next two Mercury records were not successful - "My Heart Is Free Again" / "I Won't Believe It" on #70131, and "Tell Me You Love Me" / "Coquette" on #70170. In December of the year "The Strings of My Heart" ("Mama Papa Polka" on the flip side) was a decent seller for the group. It followed their formula of singing part of the lyrics in Italian which became their signature style. "Strings" was a top twenty hit carrying into 1954. "Sweet Sue" and "Wonderin' " on #70235, and "Stolen Moments" on #70286 did not do well, but it was a song introduced on the Steve Allen television show "Songs For Sale" that proved to be a winner. The song "From The Vine Came The Grape" recorded with the George Annis Orchestra was a solid hit climbing into the top ten and remaining a hit for over three months as The Gaylords continued to make their mark on the pop music scene of the early fifties. At this time there was a change in the trio as Fredianelli entered the U.S. Army and his place was taken by Bill Christ. Fredianelli would soon change his name professionally to Ronnie Gaylord and record for Mercury as a solo artist.

The Gaylords continued on with another hit that spring, scoring once more with a two sided best seller. Mercury #70350 was released containing the songs "Isle of Capri" / "Love I You (You I Love)" that was on the charts for three months. "Capri" was a top fifteen seller and the flip side got into the top twenty five. The trio came right back during the summer with another record that had both sides make the best sellers. "Mecque Mecque" charted briefly, but the other side "The Little Shoemaker" (#70403) was a huge hit nationally, again kept out of the number one spot by one other record - "You You You" by The Ames Brothers. Five months on the best seller list for The Gaylords as they continued to be hit makers. The trio had one more charted record for Mercury late in the year on #70427 - "Veni-Vidi-Vici" was a top thirty seller for the group as the rock 'n roll age was upon the world of pop music. "A Kiss To Call My Own" was on the flip side of the record.

Although they did not make the national pop charts again, The Gaylords continued to record for Mercury. "Pipalina" / "Wonderful Lips" on #70479, "Giuseppe Mandolino" / "By The waters of Minnetonka" on #70495, "Chow Mein" on #70543, and "My Babe" / "Woodpecker Song" on #70586 followed. On Mercury #70589 The Gaylords record two cover songs - Lenny Dee's "Plantation Boogie" and Bill Haley's "Mambo Rock". Now in the mid fifties in the teeth of the rock age The Gaylords continued with "Who's Got The Pain" / "Chee Chee-oo Chee" on #70630, "Happy Time Medley" on #70660, "No Arms Can Ever Hold You" / "Bring Me A Bluebird" on #70706, "Molly-O" / "Vino Vino" on #70778, and "One Night Only" on #70891. Although the tastes of American record buyers had changed greatly by the late 1950s, and now the majority of 45 rpm singles were purchased by teenaged girls, The Gaylords and Mercury Records continued to provide music of their style.

Into the early nineteen sixties the music continued. "Mountain Climber" on #70979, "The Dum-De-Dum Song" / "Open The Letter" on #71051, "Satin Doll" / "Wondering Hearts" on #71186, "Oh Marie" / "The Magic Song" on #71236, "Each Time I Love You More" on #71265, "Buena Sera" on #71337", I'm Longing For Love" / "Flamingo d'Amor" on #71369, and, "How About Me?" / "Again" on #71399 were released. By this time Mercury had also released 45 extended play mini albums (EPs) such as "On The Town" (#3190), "Sing Along With The Gaylords", "The Gaylords Sing By Request" (#3263), and "Italian Memories". In the more popular LP format Mercury presented "Let's Have A Pizza Party" (#20356), "American Favorites In Italian" (#20620), "At The Shamrock" (#20695), "That's Amore" (#20430), and "Italiano Favorites". And the singles continued - "Homing Pigeon" on #71450, "Jesse James" / "The Shovel" on #71503, "The Whip Of The Wind" on #71601, "Born To Be Loved" on #71762, "Oh Lonesome Me" on #71832, and "Two Ton Tessie" on #719970. Now it was the mid sixties and the time had come for the Gaylords to call it a career as a pop music trio. So that was the end of Bonaldi, Rea, and Christ, after thirteen years of music and the steadfast loyalty of Mercury Records. That was not the last chapter of the story of The Gaylords however, as that wonderful and creative trait called re-invention was about to take place and become part two of the story.

Ron Fredianelli had left the trio after being drafted in the army and while in uniform decided to pursue his musical career as a solo performer and for this purpose changed his name professionally to honor the trio and became known as Ronnie Gaylord. Mercury Records followed suit and signed him to the label as a single artist. His first releases were not that successful, including "I Won't Believe You" and "My Heart Is Free" on Mercury #70131, and "Just In case You Change Your Mind" and "Marcheta" on #70212. But in early 1954 with the release of "Cuddle Me" on #70285 recorded with the orchestra of David Carroll, Ronnie had his hit record as a solo singer. The flip side of the record was a song called "Am I Lonely?". His solo effort was a mainstay on the hit charts for four months and charted as high as number thirteen in the nation. It was a nice enough accomplishment for Ronnie Gaylord to highlight his talent even though no other solo efforts would do as well. Other solo efforts by Ronnie for Mercury were "Oh Love Of Mine" / "Wow" on #70378, "Don't You Forget About Me" / "I'm No Gonna Say" on #70425, "Bring My baby Back To Me" on #70471."You" and a cover of Johnny Ace's "Pledging My Love" on #70551, and "Be My Baby Do" / "Prize Of Gold" on #70585. Ronnie Gaylord also had some recordings released on Mercury Records subsidiary label Wing. Some of these are "Che (Que) Sera Sera" and a cover of Fats Domino's "Ain't That A Shame" on Wing #9000, "More And More" / "Gina" on #90018, "Through The Years" / "Don't Ever Change" on #90034, and "To Be Beside You" / "Do You Know Where God Lives" on #90057. There was also a Mercury EP called "Ronnie Gaylord Entertains". Gaylord also recorded for the Kapp Records label with a cover of Billy Myles "The Joker" on #158, and "Down The Road Of Love" and "Signora Fortuna" on #167.

Then in the mid nineteen sixties while the British Invasion, Motown, Phil Spector, and the California Sound ruled pop music, the Gaylords reappeared. Burt Bonaldi had decided to change his name professionally to Burt Holiday and soon after reunited with Ronnie to form a duo they called Gaylord & Holiday, but also appeared billed as The Gaylords. By the nineteen seventies they had moved to Nevada where they became mainstays of the Las Vegas entertainment empire. As the duo they had a minor hit with Julius LaRosa's 1950s Italian novelty "Eh Cumpari" coupled with a remake of "The Little Shoemaker" for Prodigal Records. They also recorded an LP for that label called "Second Generation". The twosome also released LPs for their own Gaylords label - "Mama" in 1977 and "Pieces Of Gold" in 1982. They also recorded LP albums for the Natural Resources label with "Wine Women, and Song" and "Did You Ever". The duo continued to perform regularly into the new millennium. Ronnie Gaylord (Fredianelli) passed away in January of 2004, while Burt Holiday (Bonaldi) still performs as a solo, or sometimes with Ron Jr. as The Gaylords keeping the name alive after fifty five years of performing.

The music of The Gaylords lives on in a number of CDs that are available. The single most important and valuable resource is the Polygram album called "The Gaylords : The Mercury Years". This CD has 25 tracks of their best and most noteworthy songs plus Ronnie's solo hit "Cuddle Me". Other CDs by The Gaylords include "All Time Greatest Hits" for Our Heritage, "Christmas With The Gaylords" and "Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2" both for AEM, and "Famiglia" for Overture. Burt Holiday as a solo performer has "Music Laughter and Songs" for Over Eazy, Ronnie Gaylord as a solo performer has "Greatest Hits" and "Ronnie Gaylord Live" both for Over Eazy in 1997.

And so for more than a half century the music of The Gaylords has been a part of that wonderful time during the late forties and early fifties that we call the Interlude Era. We remember their music and celebrate them as part of the time of our lives.

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