The Jesters Biography

The Jesters were representative of the classic New York style of doo-wop characterized as ‘greasy’, in which the vocal harmony was in a rock ‘n’ roll style, extremely expressive, loaded with exotic flourishes, and usually supporting a falsetto lead. The original members of the Jesters were Lenny McKay (lead), Adam Jackson (10 March 1938, New York City, New York, USA, d. 27 February 1994; lead), Anthony ‘Jimmy’ Smith (second tenor), Leo Vincent (baritone) and Noel Grant (bass). The group came together in 1955, and was signed by Paul Winley for his Winley label in 1957. They were regularly teamed with another local group, the Paragons, in live mock-competitions. Their first release, ‘So Strange’/‘Love No One But You’ (featuring Dave Cortez Clowney’s piano accompaniment) was a double-sided hit in the New York area in the summer of 1957. In the autumn they hit again locally with ‘Please Let Me Love You’. ‘The Plea’, a remake of the Chantels’ hit, made it to number 74 of the Billboard pop chart in 1958, but, like the other records, it mainly sold in New York. ‘I Laughed’/‘Now That You’re Gone’ from the summer of 1958 was the last record to feature the original group. In 1960 a new line-up of Jackson, Smith, Melvin Lewis and Don Lewis recorded the Jesters’ most successful song, ‘The Wind’, a remake of the 1954 Diablos hit. Various line-ups of the Jesters continued to perform throughout later decades, with Adam Jackson’s brother Ronald Jackson joining up in 1974.

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

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