Daddy Cool : The Rays©2006JCMarion
The Rays were a Brooklyn based group formed when The Four Fellows (who hit with "Soldier Boy", "Angels Say", and "I Sit In My Window")broke up and Dave Jones of that group joined up with Walter Ford, Harry James, and former member of The Toppers, Hal Miller to form a new group called The Rays. The manager of the group Jimmy Duggan then got the group together with Philadelphia producers Bob Crewe and Frank Slay. In January of 1956 The Rays recorded for Chess Records of Chicago with "Tippety Top" and "Moo Goo Gai Pan" on # 1613. "Tippety Top" got some immediate airplay in Chicago and generated enough interest to be the subject of pop cover versions by bandleader Buddy Morrow and "Your Hit Parade" veteran vocalist Snooky Lanson. Nothing substantial happened with the record, and the group pondered their next move.
Crewe and Slay then moved to get The Rays fortunes moving forward with their own XYZ label. "My Steady Girl" and "Nobody Loves You Like I Do" was released in May on # 100. In August of 1957 "Silhouettes" and "Daddy Cool" both written by Crewe and Slay were recorded for XYZ and released on #102. The record took off immediately in Philadelphia and was highlighted by Dick Clark on his newly national television show called "American Bandstand". Within a few days this was the hottest record in the country. As the demand for the record went national, Cameo Records also in Philadelphia took over the record and put it out on # 117 for national distribution. The Rays start finding themselves in heavy demand for in person appearances and head for New York to do a show for dj's Hal Jackson and Jack Walker at the Hunt's Point Palace in the Bronx. In November attempting to cash in on the success of "Silhouettes", Chess Records released a side by The Rays that they had on the shelf - "How Long Must I Wait" and "Second Fiddle" on # 1678.
The Rays are part of a record breaking week at the New York Paramount in the holiday week show put together by Alan Freed. The show was headed by Fats Domino and featuring Buddy Holly & The Crickets,Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others. In early January of 1958 The Rays sign on for a big package tour to cross the country for a number of dates in the first part of the year. The headliners will be The Everly Brothers, and will feature Paul Anka, The Tune Weavers, Eddie Cochrane, Jimmy Rodgers, Danny & The Juniors, and other acts. During the first half of 1958 The Rays have three records for Cameo - "Crazy Girl" / "Dressing Up" is on # 127, "Triangle" / "Rendezvous" on # 128, and in April Cameo released "Rags To Riches" and "The Man Above" on # 133. None of these subsequent sides gained any popularity for the group.
In August United Artists signs with Crewe and Slay to reactivate their XYZ label, and The Rays are in the studios recording for their former label. "Elevator Operator" and "Souvenirs Of Summertime" is the result on XYZ # 2001. "Souvenirs" gets the cover record treatment by Sal Mineo for Epic, but does not do much for The Rays. In May of 1959 The Rays record "Zimba Lulu" and "Why Do You Look The Other Way?" on # 600. In November XYZ issues "Mediterranean Moon" and "It's A Crying Shame" on # 605. This time "Moon" does get on the best seller charts (if only briefly at the bottom) but it is a positive sign. The next release in late 1960 again with a "moon" theme is on # 607 - "Magic Moon" and "Louis Hoo Hoo". "Magic" makes it into the top fifty pop sellers, but that was the last charter for the group.
In the early sixties the group now listed as Hal Miller & The Rays recorded for two other record labels run by Crewe - "Hope Faith And Dreams" and "An Angel Cried" on Topix # 6003, and "Are You Happy Now?" and "Bright Brown Eyes" on Perri # 1004. That put an end to The Rays even though Hal Miller led a number of different groups under that name for a number of years. The Rays had a short recording history but they hit the pot of gold with one of the top selling songs of the late fifties. "Silhouettes" will always be played whenever the sounds of the fifties are celebrated, and The Rays will always stand tall because of it.
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