The Crew-Cuts

The Crew-Cuts are well known for what has become their signature song, a cover of the Chords'Sh-Boom, but they had many other pop hits in the 1950's. They are a Canadian vocal group who stayed together for over a decade.

The group formed in Toronto in 1952 as the Four Tones and later, changed to the Canadaires. The line-up included John Perkins (lead, born 1931), his brother Ray Perkins (bass, born 1932), Pat Barrett (tenor, born 1933), and Rudi Maugeri (baritone, born 1931). They were formed from the St. Michael's Choir School in Toronto, and drew inspiration from another successful group from the same school, The Four Lads (who had hits with Moments To Remember, No, Not Much!, Standing On The Corner and many others). The group performed on Toronto radio and later in clubs. They sang in close harmony, in somewhat of a barbershop quartet style, but they were certainly influenced by R&B music. The combination gave them their distinctive sound.

In 1954 the members of the vocal group got their first big break when they made an appearance on the Gene Carroll television program in Cleveland, Ohio. While in Cleveland they became acquainted with WERE radio personality Bill Randall, who arranged for a recording session with Mercury Records for them. A men's haircut that was popular at the time, the "Chicago Box," featured hair that was close-cropped on the top and longer on the sides. By 1954 it had been replaced by a style known as the crew cut. At the suggestion of listeners to Randall's radio show, the group's name was changed to the Crew-Cuts. They signed with Mercury and a short time later came up with their first top ten hit, in 1954, Crazy 'Bout You Baby. The group then began to record a number of songs that were covers of other songs that had been popular with R&B groups. The original recording of Sh-Boom by the Chords was probably a better one than that by the Crew-Cuts, but both versions went top ten pop that year, with the Crew-Cuts' version going to number one. The group was now well established. A two-sided hit, Earth Angel and Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So), as well as another one Gum Drop, were top ten hits for the Crew-Cuts in 1955. (The original of Earth Angel, by the Penguins, was a #8 pop hit but the Crew-Cuts' version did even better when it went to #3). They also recorded some other songs that were not covers but which, curiously enough, only sold well in Canada, and not in the United States. Other records that did well that year from them include Don't Be Angry, A Story Untold, and another two-sided hit Angels In The Sky and Mostly Martha. The orchestra that backed them on all of their hits was conducted by Dave Carroll. They also recorded several LP's.

The hits continued to come for the Crew-Cuts, including Seven Days and their final top forty hit, Young Love, in 1957. They moved to the RCA label in 1958 and continued on with various labels but without the level of success they had had from 1954 to 1957, when they came up with 11 top forty pop hits. When Ray Maugeri decided against joining them for a tour of Japan in 1963, the group disbanded. By 1982, Maugeri was working on the West Coast as vice president of Radio Arts Syndication. In 1984 the Crew-Cuts were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in Toronto.

The Crew-Cuts left their mark with their #1 hit from 1954, Sh-Boom.

Most Recent Update: October 1, 2010

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