The Crew Cuts Biography

Formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1952, the Crew-Cuts were a white vocal quartet that had success in the early 50s by covering black R&B songs. Their version of ‘Sh-Boom’, originally a number 2 R&B hit for the Chords in 1954, became a number 1 pop hit for the Crew-Cuts, staying in that position for nine weeks and helping to usher in the rock ‘n’ roll era. The group was comprised of Rudi Maugeri (27 January 1931, USA, d. 7 May 2004, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; baritone), Pat Barrett (b. 15 September 1931; tenor), John Perkins (b. 28 August 1931; lead) and his brother Ray Perkins (b. 28 November 1932; bass), all born in Toronto. The group met at Toronto’s Cathedral School, where they all sang in the choir, and decided to form a barber shop-style group. Initially called the Canadaires, the group received its first break in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, where they appeared on Gene Carroll’s television programme. After that show they were introduced to the influential local disc jockey Bill Randle, who suggested the name change (after a popular short-cropped hairstyle). Randle introduced the group to Mercury Records, who signed them. Their first recording, an original composition called ‘Crazy ’Bout Ya Baby’, made the Top 10 in the US charts. Mercury suggested covering ‘Sh-Boom’ and its massive success led to further cover versions of R&B records by the group, including the Penguins’ ‘Earth Angel’, Nappy Brown’s ‘Don’t Be Angry’ and the Nutmegs’ ‘Story Untold’. The success of the Crew-Cuts and other white cover artists helped pave the way for recognition and acceptance of the black originators. In addition to ‘Sh-Boom’, other Top 10 placings were ‘Earth Angel’ (1955), ‘Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)’ (1955) and ‘Gum Drop’ (1955). The Crew-Cuts had further chart singles before moving to RCA Records in 1958. They disbanded in 1963.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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