The Kirby Stone Four Biography

This vocal quartet comprised Kirby Stone (27 April 1918, New York, USA), Eddie Hall, Larry Foster and Mike Gardner. They had a hip brand of humour and a distinctive, upbeat, swinging style. Originally an instrumental quintet, the group became a vocal foursome before making a name for themselves in nightclubs and local television shows. They came to prominence in 1958 with an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, which led to a contract with Columbia Records, and the release of Man, I Flipped... When I Heard The Kirby Stone Four. It was a mixture of standards, such as ‘S’Wonderful’ and ‘It Could Happen To You’, and special material written by Stone and Gardner. Their programme included ‘Juke Box Dream’, a vehicle for Foster’s uncanny vocal impressions. In the same year they also had a Top 30 single with their extremely original version of ‘Baubles, Bangles And Beads’, from the 1953 Broadway musical Kismet. The accompanying album reached the US Top 20. Among their other album releases, 1962’s Guys And Dolls (Like Today) included a ‘liberetto-ture’ (a combination of libretto and overture) by Kirby Stone and the group’s frequent arranger and conductor, Dick Hyman, as an attempt to present the Abe Burrows /Jo Swerling/ Frank Loesser masterpiece as a ‘show for the ear alone’. Stone added some extra lyrics for his ‘guys’, who were augmented by the ‘dolls’ - a female vocal chorus - plus a 25-piece orchestra that included such luminaries as Alvino Rey, Shelly Manne and Al Klink. Subsequently, the Kirby Stone Four continued to flourish, and went forward, armed with this common credo: ‘A pox on all harmonica players, nightclub owners named Rocky, and juveniles who win contests by playing ‘Lady Of Spain’ on white accordions.’

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

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