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The Stereos

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Not only was Steubenville, OH, Dean Martin's stomping grounds, the city situated on the Ohio River also spawned the Stereos, a quintet consisting of Bruce Robinson (lead), Nathaniel Hicks (first tenor), Ronnie Collins (bass), Sam Profit (second tenor), and George Otis (baritone). The group's roots began in the mid-'50s when Robinson and Collins formed the Buckeyes (Ohio's nickname) who released two singles on Cincinnati's Deluxe Records in 1957: "Since I Fell for You" b/w "Be Only You" and "Dottie Baby" b/w "Begging You, Please." The Stereos first recorded in 1959 with Leroy Swearingen (first tenor and ex-Buckeye) joining Robinson, Collins, Profit, and Otis for their Gibraltar debut, "A Love for Only You" b/w "Sweetpea's in Love." Its failure caused Swearingen to leave and be replaced by Hicks. The revised lineup had three singles on Cub Records from 1961-1962, with ex-member Swearingen penning their most successful record "I Really Love You" (15 R&B/29 pop); two follow-ups floundered. Two 1962 Robins Nest's singles: "My Heart" and "Don't Cry Darling" also didn't do diddly. A World Artists' single "Mumbling Word" surfaced in 1963, trailed by "Life" as the Sterios (sic) on Ideal Records (1964) and "Don't Let It Happen to You" in 1965 for Val 2 Records. Good records, but the Stereos were a transition group with ingrained doo-wop roots and never fully forsake the sound for full-blown '60s harmonies, but Robinson's gospel-inspired leads made them interesting. They resurfaced on Hyde Records in 1967 as a self-contained outfit adding Stanley Brown, Solomon Huffman, Don Walters, and Ronnie Parris. Profit and Otis left. The revamped Stereos made enough noise with "Stereo Freeze Parts 1 & 2" that Cadet Records plucked it for mass distribution; but "I Can't Stop These Tears" b/w "I Feel Soul A'Coming" pulled up lame in 1968; a third Cadet single, "Your Memory," never got started, forcing permanent disbandment and the end of the Stereo's chase for that elusive royalty check. ~ Andrew Hamilton

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