The Royal Teens Biography

Formed in 1956 in Bergen County, New Jersey, USA, the Royal Teens are remembered primarily for the 1958 rock ‘n’ roll novelty number ‘Short Shorts’. Originally a quartet called the Royal Tones, the line-up included pianist Bob Gaudio (Robert John Gaudio, 17 November 1942, the Bronx, New York City, New York, USA), saxophonist Bill Crandall, bass player Billy Dalton and drummer Tom Austin. Influenced by black music, they worked as back-up band to travelling R&B artists. Gaudio and Austin had written an instrumental dance song as a warm-up for their stage show. Adding the lyrics, ‘Who wears short shorts? We wear short shorts’, the song was heard by an executive of ABC-Paramount Records, who signed them to the label; the single hit number 3 in the USA. At that time Crandle was replaced by Larry Qualiano and Dalton also left, to be replaced by Al Kooper. Joe Francovilla, formerly of the doo-wop outfit the Three Friends, was added as vocalist, making the band a quintet. They scored one further chart single for ABC and one for Capitol Records before starting to disintegrate in 1960. Although some members continued with the unit until 1965, recording for such labels as Mighty, All New, Jubilee, Blue Jay and Swan, there was no further success. Gaudio went on to become a member of the highly successful 4 Seasons and a top producer. Kooper later formed the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat And Tears. The original line-up of the Royal Teens never recorded an album, although there have been subsequent releases by completely different personnel using the name.

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

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