The Five Discs Biography

The Five Discs were one of several doo-wop groups (Carollons, Chips, etc.) to trace their origins to the Bedford-Stuyvesant district of Brooklyn, New York, USA. They were formed in 1954 by Joe Brocco (lead), Joe Barsalona (baritone), Paul Albano (first tenor) and Tony Basile (second tenor). Composed of Italian-descended young men and originally titled the Flames, they subsequently shuffled the pack by adding black singers Mario deAndrade and Andrew Jackson from the Love Notes. This produced a new line-up of deAndrade (lead), Jackson (bass), Albano (first tenor), Basile (second tenor) and Barsalona (baritone), though membership remained fluid over ensuing years. After recording demos at Bell Sound studios in New York the group started to offer these to interested parties. There were no takers until songwriter Billy Martin introduced them to the proprietors of the Emge Records label. They were still titled the Flames when they recorded deAndrade’s song ‘I Remember’, but when it was released they had chosen a new name, the Five Discs. Despite achieving strong popularity in the local New York and Boston markets, the group felt dissatisfied with the label’s promotion of the single, and looked elsewhere. ‘My Chinese Girl’, released on Dwain Records in 1959, failed to improve their standing. Jackson and deAndrade then left, and were replaced by Lenny Hutter of the Chalets on lead and John Russell on bass. ‘Come On Baby’ emerged to little fanfare in 1961, and Hutter left immediately, to be replaced by John Carbone. Calo Records took over the promotion of Carbone’s debut on ‘Adios’, an old deAndrade song. However, the band moved on again, this time to Cher Records, with Russell replaced by Charlie DiBella. ‘Never Let You Go’ was the last single to feature Carbone, as Eddie Parducci of the Delvons took his place. It was their most successful project for some time, but still failed to breach the national charts. As a result the group changed tack to become the Boyfriends, releasing a solitary single on Kapp Records titled ‘Let’s Fall In Love’. Numerous line-up changes ensued before the group became Dawn in 1968 (not of ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree’ fame), their sole release under this guise being a cover version of Sam Cooke’s ‘Bring It On Home To Me’. Ironically, the last Five Discs record would see them return to the Schwarz brothers and Laurie Records for 1972’s ‘Rock & Roll Revival’, though throughout the 70s several archive singles were also released as interest in 50s doo-wop escalated. A typically ad hoc line-up reunited in 1991 for the Doo-wop Society Show.

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

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