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The Feathers

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Biography

Los Angeles R&B group the Feathers was founded in the fall of 1954 by lead tenor Johnny Staton following his stint with the Flyboys, a quintet he assembled while serving U.S. Air Force duties in West Palm Beach, FL. After earning his military discharge, Staton returned to his native Southern California and recruited his tenor brother Louis along with another pair of siblings, Sonny (tenor) and Don Harris (baritone), and bass Mitchell Alexander to form the Feathers. According to Marv Goldberg's profile in the July 1995 issue of Discoveries, the fledgling group soon befriended local R&B star Johnny Otis, who arranged an audition with the small Show Time label. Shortly after their debut single, "Johnny Darling," appeared in mid-1954, Otis convinced the Feathers to ankle Show Time in favor of Aladdin, where they cut a second version of the same record. When Aladdin issued its competing version, Show Time co-owner Peter Morgan filed an injunction, although neither label's release generated much attention at radio or retail. The Feathers' second Aladdin effort, "I Need a Girl," followed in early 1955, and when it met a similar fate, the group returned to Show Time for the follow-up, "Why Don't You Write Me." The Harris brothers and Alexander quit the lineup soon after, prompting Staton to enlist siblings Lenora, James, and Isaiah for the Feathers' Show Time swan song, "Love Only You." Upon signing to Hollywood Records in late 1955, Harris completely overhauled the roster, adding tenors Roy Allen and Rene Beard as well as yet another sibling pair, Carl (baritone) and Cleo White (bass): "Lonesome Tonight" appeared in January 1956, trailed a month later by "Betty My Darling." When neither sold, the Feathers split for good, although Staton later reunited with Allen and the White brothers as the Unforgettables, releasing "Daddy Must Be a Man" on Pamela in 1961. After a career as a session vocalist, Staton resurrected the Feathers name in 1989, recording three singles for the Classic Artists label with tenor Dave Antrell, baritone Jewel Aikens, and bass Jimmy Colbert. ~ Jason Ankeny

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