The Duprees Biography

A rock ‘n’ roll vocal group from Jersey City, New Jersey, USA. One of the most pop-sounding of the Italian-American groups that were in abundance during the late 50s and early 60s, the Duprees specialized in recording updated versions of old pop hits in a smooth style with a slight rock ‘n’ roll feel. The group was formed as the Parisiens in 1960 from the remnants of two Jersey City-based groups, the Utopians and the Elgins. The original line-up featured lead vocalist Joey Vann (Joseph Canzano, 3 April 1943, USA, d. 28 February 1984), Mike Arnone (b. Michael Arnone, 19 September 1942, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, d. 27 October 2005, Brick, New Jersey, USA), John Salvato (b. 19 July 1940, USA), Tom Bialoglow (b. 5 November 1940, USA) and Joe Santollo (b. Joseph Santollo, 23 July 1943, USA, d. 4 June 1981). They recorded several demos between 1960 and 1962, although Vann was temporarily replaced by Michael Kelly (b. 19 April 1943, USA) during this period. After adopting their new name the group signed with Coed in 1962, who with their other acts, notably the Rivieras, revived old pop hits using teenage vocal harmony groups to convey them to the new rock ‘n’ roll audience. The Duprees’ biggest hit was their 1962 remake of the old Jo Stafford hit, ‘You Belong To Me’ (number 7 pop). The best of their other seven chart entries were ‘My Own True Love’ (number 13 pop, a vocal version of ‘Tara’s Theme’ from Gone With The Wind), and ‘Have You Heard’ (number 18 pop). Tom Bialoglow left the group during the recording of their second album.

Vann was replaced by the returning Michael Kelly in 1964 and the following year the Duprees signed a two-year recording contract with Columbia Records. They explored a new upbeat sound on ‘Around The Corner’, their last national hit record in 1965. Recording for Jerry Ross’ Heritage/Colossus label complex during 1968/9, the Duprees failed to chart with the same formula of updating old pop hits, such as Bobby Helms’ ‘My Special Angel’ and Don Rondo’s ‘Two Different Worlds’. The group’s last major recording was ‘Delicious’, a disco hit for RCA Records in 1975 featuring Jesus Alvarez standing in for Kelly. Larry Cassanova replaced Salvato in the mid-70s and Tommy Petillo took over as lead singer in 1978. Santollo died in 1981 but remnants of the Duprees subsequently built a successful career playing the oldies doo-wop circuit in the New York and New Jersey area. A line-up of the group led by Petillo but featuring no original members released a number of studio and live albums in the new millennium.

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