The Hilltoppers Biography

This vocal quartet formed at the Western Kentucky College in Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA, comprised lead Jimmy Sacca (Hazard, Kentucky, USA), baritone Billy Vaughn (b. 12 April 1919, Glasgow, Kentucky, USA, d. 26 September 1991, Escondido, California, USA), tenor Seymour Speigelman and bass Don McGuire. Sacca and Vaughn formed the group to record ‘Trying’ in 1952 and named it after their college nickname. Dot Records signed the band, re-recorded ‘Trying’ in the college auditorium, and it reached the US Top 10 (making the UK charts in 1956). Over the next five years the group, who wore college sweaters and beanies on stage, scored a further nine US Top 20 singles, the biggest being ‘P.S. I Love You’ in 1953, ‘Only You’ in 1955 and ‘Marianne’ in 1957. Vaughn left in 1955 and had a very successful career as musical director for Dot and as an orchestra leader. In the UK, where the Platters’ original version of ‘Only You’ was not released until 1956, they reached number 3 with their recording and were in the Top 20 for six months. They were one of the most successful early 50s vocal groups, but like many other acts they could not survive in a rock ‘n’ roll world and disbanded in 1963. Since then Sacca has occasionally played dates with new sets of Hilltoppers.

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

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