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The Solitaires

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Biography

Best remembered for their hit "Walking Along," Harlem doo wop group the Solitaires was formed in 1953 by ex-Vocaleer Herman Curtis in tandem with tenor Buzzy Willis and bass Pat Gaston, who together previously teamed in the Crows. Three former members of the Mello-Moods -- tenor Monte Owens, baritone Bobby Baylor, and pianist Bobby Williams -- completed the founding lineup, which soon signed with the Old Town label to issue a series of lushly atmospheric local hits including "Wonder Why," "Blue Valentine," and a cover of Bing Crosby's "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You." With Curtis' 1955 exit, new lead Milton Love (formerly of the Concords) steered the Solitaires to greater success with "The Wedding," followed in 1956 by the lovely "The Angels Sang"; a year later "Walking Along" became the group's biggest hit. Personnel changes consistently plagued the Solitaires in the years to follow, however, and over time the group's uniquely romantic approach was supplanted by a sound clearly influenced by the Coasters; in the wake of their final recordings from 1961, the current roster disbanded, with Willis later working for labels including RCA and MGM. Various Solitaires lineups toured the oldies circuit in the decades to come. ~ Jason Ankeny

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