The Monotones Biography

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Formed in 1955 in Newark, New Jersey, USA, the Monotones recorded one of the most memorable doo-wop novelty songs of the 50s, ‘Book Of Love’. The group was a sextet, Warren Davis, George Malone (5 January 1940, Newark, New Jersey, USA, d. 5 October 2007, Avondale, Arizona, USA), Charles Patrick, Frank Smith, John Ryanes, and Warren Ryanes. They had sung in the same church choir as Dionne Warwick and Cissy Houston before forming their own group. In 1956, they appeared on the Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour television programme, singing the Cadillacs’ ‘Zoom’. They won first prize and began to think more seriously about a career in music. Inspired by a television commercial for toothpaste (‘You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent’), Patrick, Malone and Davis wrote ‘Book Of Love’ to a similar melody. They recorded it at Bell Studio in New York and it was released on the small Mascot label, a subsidiary of Hull Records. It was then picked up by Argo Records for national distribution and ultimately reached number 5 in the USA. The group was touring when their record entered the charts, and months passed before they had a chance to record a follow-up. A single called ‘Tom Foolery’ was released but failed to chart; the third, ‘The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow’, was a fine record and is still played on doo-wop radio programmes today, but it also failed to chart in its own time. After a few more singles, the Monotones gave up, although some of the original members performed under that name in the 90s. John Ryanes died on 30 May 1972.

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

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