The Channels

While never having a run of hits, the Channels were among the most popular East Coast doo wop ensembles. Larry Hampden, Billy Morris, and Edward Doulphin were charter members of the Channels, who formed in 1955. They started with two part-time members, but then absorbed lead vocalist Earl Michael Lewis and Clifton Wright from the Lotharios. Lewis became their principal songwriter and he penned their best-known hit, "The Closer You Are." The Channels also brought a fresh style to doo wop singing with their practice of opening a verse in five-part harmony, then having Lewis sing lead in the bridge. Later releases like "The Gleam in Your Eye" and "I Really Love You" were superbly performed, but never got the push needed for national recognition. They later recorded for a variety of labels (including Gone, Fury, Port, Hit, Enjoy, and Groove) with numerous personnel changes. ~ Ron Wynn

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