Little Anthony and the Imperials was a group from New York City that recorded in different decades, with different personnel, for different labels, but always came up with a good sound and some good songs.
Anthony Gourdine was born in New York City in 1940. At age fifteen he joined a doowop group called the Duponts, but it folded a short time later. He then founded his own group with Clarence Collins, Ernest Wright, Jr., Glouster "Nat" Rogers and Tracy Lourd; they called themselves the Chesters. They made one record, performed at the Apollo, and then changed the name of the group at the suggestion of DJ Alan Freed -- to the Imperials.
Little Anthony and the Imperials then proceeded to sign a record deal with End Records. Their first single on that label -- which proved to be their biggest song ever -- was Tears On My Pillow in 1958. Two years later they had another top forty song for End with Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop. Then the group split up.
In 1964 the group re-formed with a slightly different line-up. This time it was Anthony, Wright, Collins and Sammy Strain. They signed with the DCP label and came up with a string of hits in 1964 and 1965: I'm On The Outside [Lookin' In], Goin' Out Of My Head, Hurt So Bad, and others. From 1958 to 1974, Little Anthony and the Imperials placed ten songs in the top 100, but only one on the British charts [Better Use Your Head in 1966]. They recorded for a variety of labels over the years.
Sammy Strain left in 1975 and joined the O'Jays; he was replaced by Kenny Seymour. Anthony finally left the group to go on his own and became a born-again Christian. In 1980 his inspirational album Daylight was produced by B. J. Thomas. The Imperials on their own managed to put one song on the British charts in the 70's. Some compilations have been put together by Liberty.
Little Anthony is still active in the music business. He is a link to the glory days of rock-and-roll.
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