The Mello Kings Biography

The Mello-Kings were responsible for one of the most durable doo-wop hits of the 50s. Despite the fact that their only hit, ‘Tonite Tonite’, never climbed higher than number 77 in the US charts, the single is still considered one of the most popular group harmony recordings of the era, more than three decades after its initial release. The group comprised brothers Jerry and Bob Scholl, Eddie Quinn, Neil Arena and Larry Esposito. The quintet was formed in 1956 at a high school in Mount Vernon, New York, USA, under the guidance of manager Dick Levister. Originally named the Mellotones, the group was signed to the Herald label. ‘Tonite Tonite’ was written by Billy Myles, a staff composer for the label. The group was forced to change its name after the single’s release, as another group had already claimed Mellotones. The record lasted only 10 weeks in the US charts, and the group was never able to repeat this success, although ‘Tonite Tonite’ returned in 1961, reaching number 95, due to a resurgence of interest in the doo-wop sound, and has been consistently voted among the top five doo-wop records of all time in radio polls, particularly in the New York area. A new Mello-Kings led by Jerry Scholl, whose brother Bob died on 27 August 1975, was still touring the rock ‘n’ roll revival circuit in the early 90s.

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

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