The Four Preps Biography

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Formed in the early 50s in Hollywood, California, USA, the Four Preps were a vocal group consisting of Bruce Belland, Glen Larson, Marvin Inabnett and Ed Cobb (d. 1999, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA). Recording for Capitol Records, they placed 13 singles in the US charts between 1956 and 1964, two of which made the Top 5 in 1958. The quartet began singing together during their high-school years, influenced by the Mills Brothers, Four Aces, and Four Freshmen acts. Impressed by a demo tape the group recorded Mel Shauer, manager of Les Paul And Mary Ford, took the group under his wing and arranged a recording contract with Capitol. Their first session, in late 1956, yielded ‘Dreamy Eyes’, which was a minor hit, but the follow-up, ‘26 Miles (Santa Catalina)’, written by Belland and Larson years earlier, reached number 2, and their next single, ‘Big Man’, made number 3.

Subsequent singles failed to reach the US Top 10 although the group did achieve a Top 10 album, Four Preps On Campus, in 1961 during the height of the folk music revival in the USA. The group’s final charting single, 1964’s ‘A Letter To The Beatles’, parodied Beatlemania but was allegedly withdrawn from distribution by Capitol upon the request of the Beatles’ management. The group continued until 1967. Cobb went on to join the group Piltdown Men, and later to produce such records as the Standells’ ‘Dirty Water’; he also wrote ‘Tainted Love’, a hit for Soft Cell in 1982. In 1988, the Four Preps were back on the road, with two of the original members, Belland and Cobb, being joined by David Somerville, former lead singer of the Diamonds and Jim Pike, founder of the Lettermen.

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

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