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Blue Moon is the debut studio album by the doo-wop group The Marcels. It was released in 1961 on Colpix Records and included 12 songs. The album was available in mono, catalogue number CP-416. Blue Moon was produced and arranged by Stu Phillips and was recorded in New York at RCA Studios. Blue Moon features a cover version of the Judy Garland hit "Over The Rainbow". Four decades after the group's debut album was released, The Marcels were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
|France EP 1961|
Although the album Blue Moon failed to chart on the Billboard albums chart, the first single "Blue Moon" did well. The single charted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, charted at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, sold one million copies and the group was awarded a gold disc.
The Marcels were an American doo-wop group known for turning popular music songs into rock and roll. The group formed in 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and signed to Colpix Records, with lead Cornelius Harp, bass Fred Johnson, Gene Bricker, Ron Mundy, and Richard Knauss. The group was named after a popular hair style of the day, the marcel wave, by Fred Johnson's younger sister Priscilla.
In 1961 many were surprised to hear a new version of the ballad "Blue Moon", that began with the bass singer saying, "bomp-baba-bomp" and "dip-da-dip." The record sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. It is featured in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
The disc went to number one in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and UK Singles Chart. In the U.S., additional revivals in the same vein as "Blue Moon" – "Heartaches" and "Melancholy Baby" – were less successful, although "Heartaches" peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually sold over one million copies worldwide.
In August 1961, due to problems encountered in the Deep South while touring because of the group being bi-racial, the white members, Knauss and Bricker left and were replaced by Allen Johnson (brother of Fred) and Walt Maddox. Mundy left soon after, leaving the group a quartet. In 1962, Harp and Allen Johnson left, and were replaced by Richard Harris and William Herndon. There was a brief reunion of the original members in 1973.
This Pittsburgh ensemble deserved a much better fate than being known primarily for a novelty-tinged cover of "Blue Moon." Baritone vocalist Richard F. Knauss teamed with Fred Johnson, Gene J. Bricker, Ron Mundy, and lead vocalist Cornelius Harp to form an integrated ensemble. They named themselves after Harp's hairstyle, the marcel. The group did a string of covers as demo tapes that were sent to Colpix.
The label's A&R director had them cut several oldies at RCA's New York studios in 1961, one of them being "Blue Moon." They used the bass intro arrangement from the Cadillacs' "Zoom" and the result was a huge hit. It eventually topped both the pop and R&B charts, and also was an international smash. The group eventually appeared in the film Twist Around the Clock with Dion and Chubby Checker, and recorded an 18-cut LP for Colpix. Alan Johnson and Walt Maddox later replaced Knauss and Gene Bricker, making the Marcels an all-black unit. The group did score another Top Ten pop single with "Heartaches," another cover of a pre-rock single. This peaked at number seven pop and number 19 R&B in 1961. They continued recording on Kyra, Queen Bee, St. Clair, Rocky, and Monogram with varying lineups, but never again equaled their past success.
01. "Blue Moon" 2:17
02. "Goodbye To Love" 2:35
03. "Sweet Was The Wine" 2:10
04. "Peace Of Mind" 2:34
05. "A Fallen Tear" 2:39
06. "Over The Rainbow" 2:40
07. "I'll Be Forever Loving You" 2:21
08. "Two People In The World" 2:22
09. "Most Of All" 2:12
10. "Teeter Totter Love" 2:02
11. "Sunday Kind Of Love" 2:22
12. "Crazy Bells" 2:21