Jackie And The Starlites were perhaps the most extreme example of overt emotionalism in doo-wop, in which lead Jackie Rue would scream out the lyrics in the most anguished, heartbreaking voice, and in the middle of the songs break down sobbing. The members, besides Rue, were Alton Thomas, John Felix and Billy Montgomery. Rue began singing with the Five Wings, a group in Harlem, New York, in 1955, and made two haunting singles for the King Records label, most notably Teardrops Are Falling (a stunning remake appeared in the 1990 John Waters movie Cry Baby). In 1960 Rue surfaced again with the Starlites and signed with Bobby Robinsons Fury label. Their first record was Valerie, and it quickly became something of a phenomenon on the east coast. Their best follow-up, I Found Out Too Late, made the national charts in 1962, but later records for Robinson failed to find favour. The Starlites recorded unsuccessfully for the Hull label during 1962-63 before breaking up. With a scruffy and rough image, Rue and his group were not destined to attain middle-class respectability. In 1961 two members of the group killed a man in an armed robbery and received extensive jail sentences. Rue died of a drug overdose some time in the late 60s or early 70s.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.