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The Empires

Harlem, NY-based R&B group the Empires created in 1953 — based on Marv Goldberg’s profile within the Dec 1977 problem of Yesterday’s Remembrances, the group was a family group affair, teaming tenor Les Cooper, his nephew Johnny “Friend” Barnes on business lead tenor, and his cousin William Goodman on bass. After relocating to NY using their indigenous Norfolk, VA, they added baritone Bobby Dunn, completing the initial Empires lineup, and after fine-tuning their harmonies at regional churches, night clubs, and colleges, the group authorized to the Harlem label in past due 1954. “My Baby, My Baby” adopted before the year’s end, and was backed by looks at Brooklyn’s Golf club Baby Grand and NY City’s Rockland Palace. For the follow-up, 1955’s “Magic Reflection,” Harlem owner Morty Shad renamed Barnes “Johnny Ace, Jr.” inside a morbid try to capitalize around the latest death from the R&B story. Actually stranger, the Empires’ third solitary, “Someone Changed the Lock,” was acknowledged to Lightning Junior & the Empires — “Lightning Junior” was, actually, blues veteran Champ Jack port Dupree. When Shad folded Harlem in middle-1955, the Empires authorized to Mercury to record “I wish to Know,” released around the label’s Wing subsidiary. Once the follow-up, “Searching for Like,” made an appearance on Mercury appropriate, the group was right now credited because the Prestos — if anything, this change only harm their likelihood of rating that elusive strike, and upon time for Wing in early 1956 with “From the Riverside,” these were once again the Empires. Following the launch of “My First Finding,” Barnes briefly became a member of the Platters instead of the ailing Tony Williams. His lack pressured the Empires into hiatus, where period their Mercury offer expired. They relocated to the fledgling Whirlin’ Disk imprint for “Linda” — amazingly, the 1957 follow-up, a re-recorded “Magic Reflection,” made an appearance with just one more name modification, this time towards the Whirlers. Irrespective of their current billing, the Empires divide immediately after. Cooper afterwards formed the Spirit Rockers, credit scoring a 1962 strike using the instrumental “Wiggle Wobble.”

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