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The Marvelows

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The Marvelows were a Chicago soul group who scored just once, with the upbeat "I Do," a pop Top 40 hit in 1965. The group was formed in Chicago Heights, IL, when Melvin Mason met the recently relocated Paden brothers (Frank who sang bass, and Johnny who sang tenor) in the late '50s. Joined by tenor Willie (Sonny) Stephenson and Mason's wife's cousin Jesse Smith, the quintet became the Marvelows. Smith's mother suggested that he look up a former schoolmate of hers, Johnny Pate. Pate, who had just been given the position of Midwest A&R for ABC/Paramount, secured a deal with the label and recorded four tunes for the group, the doo-wop ballad "A Friend," "My Heart," the solid mid-tempo "Hey Hey Baby," and "I Do." The latter song was only written as a warm-up song, something to sing to prepare their voices, but it hit number seven R&B and number 37 pop in the spring of 1965. Around 1966, Jesse Smith left and was replaced by Andrew Thomas. The Marvelows (now the Mighty Marvelows to avoid confusion with the West Coast group the Marvellos) had their second single (and the only other one to chart) with the ballad "In the Morning" in the spring of 1968. Other Marvelows (or the Mighty Marvelows) singles are "I'm Without a Girl," "Fade Away," "Your Little Sister" "You're Breaking My Heart," and "Wait Be Cool." ABC/Paramount issued The Mighty Marvelows LP in 1968, but the group broke up one year later. A brief reunion in 1974 was their only other time together. ~ Ed Hogan