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The Dominoes


The Dominoes (also sometimes referred to as Billy Ward & the Dominoes) had among the finest music pedigrees of any R&B vocal band of the 1940s, a minimum of predicated on its founder’s schooling and experience. A whole lot of R&B works came out of the gospel history, and Bo Diddley also studied violin being a youngster, but rare may be the R&B vocal group whose creator was qualified at Juilliard. Billy Ward (given birth to Sept 19, 1921, LA) experienced a minister dad along with a musician mom, and was a musical prodigy as a kid, schooled in traditional music theory and structure in addition to overall performance. Before he was in his teenagers, Ward was sufficient on the body organ to try out at his father’s solutions and he won a structure award at age group 14 from Walter Damrosch, the celebrated NY music educator, composer, and administrator. Pursuing his armed service service during Globe Battle II, Ward researched at the Artwork Institute of Chicago with the Juilliard College of Music in NY, where he afterwards became a tone of voice trainer; he also started focusing on Broadway through the past due ’40s. It had been from the rates of his ex-students that he recruited the initial members from the Dominoes: Clyde McPhatter as business lead vocalist, Charlie Light (tenor), Joe Lamont (baritone), and Expenses Dark brown (bass). The Dominoes received some skill contests, including a competition on the tv screen display Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, which got them a whole lot of engagements and an audition with Ralph Bass, the top from the recently established Federal Information label, section of Syd Nathan’s Ruler Information, during the last a few months of 1950. The Dominoes, with McPhatter’s high tenor lead, acquired a startlingly clean sound and appreciated lots six R&B strike in early 1951 with one tune off their initial session, “TAKE ACTION for me personally.” It had been in May of this season the fact that group broke to the top from the R&B graphs with “Sixty Minute Man,” which also founded them among the leading crossover functions between gospel and blues. Using the influx of demand for his or her shows from that strike — among the 1st great double-entendre information from the ’50s, and an extremely early exemplory case of what will be regarded as a “rock and roll & move” record — the group spent another seven months on the highway, building up a whole lot of open public good will along with a reputation among the best R&B serves from the period. What produced the Dominoes particular, besides the exceptional agreements and McPhatter’s exclusive tone of voice, was their charm beyond the most common racial lines of demarcation. These were huge within the dark community, however they had been also among a relative couple of R&B functions that developed a little but fiercely faithful following among youthful white listeners aswell through the early ’50s, which didn’t matter a whole lot at that time — and, as stuff exercised, was just incidental with their destiny — but helped to place a seed that blossomed in to the full-blown rock and roll & roll growth four years later on. The Dominoes’ celebrity seemed poised and then rise, but there is already trouble inside the lineup as soon as 1951, when Charlie White colored stop and was been successful by Adam Van Loan, accompanied by Costs Brown, who was simply changed by David McNeil, previously of the group the Larks. Light (who later joined up with the Clovers) and Dark brown transferred through a short-lived vocal group known as the Checkers, as the reconstituted Dominoes continuing scoring strikes with “I Am ALONG WITH YOU” and “That’s What You’re Doing if you ask me,” before scaling the very best from the R&B graphs once again with “Possess Mercy Baby,” that was number one for just two . 5 a few months in 1952. Amid these successes, as well as the continuous touring and periodic recording, there is rising dissension inside the rates of the group on the method that Ward acquired it arranged, musically and economically. No one disputed that Ward got the musical teaching to perform the group on that level, and his ruling it with an iron hands where preparations and repertory had been worried was understandable. The issue was that the ticket-buying and record-buying general public was enamored from the performing itself, specifically that of lead tenor Clyde McPhatter, as well as the performers had been seeing hardly any of the amount of money the group was gaining. McPhatter himself had been paid barely more than enough to go on, which was poor enough, but to include salt to the wound, he often discovered himself billed as Clyde Ward to be able to fool enthusiasts into convinced that he was Billy Ward’s sibling. In the springtime of 1953, everything hit the lover simultaneously, as McPhatter exited the lineup in Apr. Beneath the encouragement of Atlantic Information main Ahmet Ertegun, he quickly structured a new band of his personal known as the Drifters. McPhatter’s leave in the Dominoes strike the group’s primary audience inside the dark community like information of the earthquake, so favorite was the business lead vocalist among their supporters. The group as well as the vocalist appreciated the adulation suitable to some pop/R&B outfit, however they also evoked deep passions which were more comparable to those elicited by way of a gospel clothing, and his departure from your Dominoes must have derailed the group. Ward will need to have sensed that there is trouble coming, nevertheless, because through the prior 12 months he had contacted a boxer-turned-singer called Jackie Wilson, who experienced a tone of voice that, if anything, was much better than McPhatter’s. A higher tenor much like McPhatter, he transferred directly into the flip using the latter’s departure as well as the Dominoes selected right up making use of their shows and their agreement at Ruler/Government. Wilson’s singles using the group included “You Can’t Maintain a Good Guy Down” and “Rags to Riches,” which held their demand fairly high for another 12 months. The Dominoes appeared to be on track once again, despite even more lineup shifts, like the departure of David McNeil for armed service service. The brand new Dominoes lineup was Jackie Wilson (lead), Adam Van Mortgage (second tenor), Milton Marle (baritone), and Cliff Givens (bass), with Billy Ward still in control. In 1954, Ward made a decision to forego renewing the group’s agreement at Ruler Information — it appeared as if they seldom saw anything off their function in the studio room, despite having offered so many information that, at one stage, Nathan had place his pressing flower on overtime merely to meet up with the demand for the group’s information. Ward produced his move around in 1954, acquiring the group to Jubilee Information that August, where they lasted through two singles. Finally, in early 1955, the Dominoes relocated to Decca Information, where they appreciated that long-sought nationwide strike with “St. Teresa from the Roses.” The group was struggling to replicate that achievement over the following calendar year, nevertheless, and in past due 1956, Wilson give up to begin with a solo profession that could make him a celebrity. Ward attempted to keep carefully the franchise choosing the addition of ex-Lark Eugene Mumford as business lead vocalist, and got the group a fresh agreement with California-based Liberty Information. The brand new incarnation from the Dominoes all of a sudden discovered themselves with a significant hit by means of “Superstar Dirt,” which rode the pop graphs for 24 weeks and got up to amount 13 nationally. This became their last critical assault over the graphs, however, as well as the group proceeded to go hitless despite singles released within the ABC label in to the past due ’50s. Despite their insufficient chart achievement, the Dominoes continuing to perform in to the 1960s and LPs — mainly exploiting Clyde McPhatter’s and Jackie Wilson’s name and function — did show up regularly. Today the group is especially remembered within the context of the respective professions, though “Sixty Minute Guy” will occupy an exalted put in place its own ideal as a discovery R&B record.

Quick Facts

Full Name Billy Ward and his Dominoes
Music Songs Sixty-Minute Man, The Bells, Do Something for Me, Can't Do Sixty No More, That's What You're Doing to Me, You Can't Keep a Good Man Down, Ringing In A Brand New Year, Star Dust, Have Mercy Baby, Home Is Where You Hang Your Heart, My Baby's 3-D, Give Me You, I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance, That's How You Know You're Growing Old, Have Mercy Mercy, Behave Hula Girl, My Proudest Possession, I Am With You, Take Me Back to Heaven, Above Jacob'S Ladder, Where Now, Little Heart, Love Me Now or Let Me Go, Chicken Blues, To Each His Own, Sweethearts on Parade, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Harbor Lights, Rock Plymouth Rock, I'm Lonely, Come on Snake Let's Crawl, Come To Me Baby, My Fair Weather Friend
Albums Live at the Fillmore, The Layla Sessions: 20th Anniversary Edition, In Concert, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

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1 Members have included Billy Ward, Jackie Wilson, Clyde McPhatter, Charlie White.



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The Ed Sullivan Show 1957 TV Series Themselves
The Colgate Comedy Hour 1955 TV Series Themselves - Singers
Show Case 1954 TV Series Themselves

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