Jimmy CharlesView in iTunes
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Jimmy Charles, the singer with the crying style, was born in Patterson, NJ, in 1942. Before he sang professionally, he built up quite a local reputation wailing at churches and community functions. When Charles was 16, his uncle accompanied him to New York to try his luck at the amateur talent shows held at the Apollo. Lo and behold, Charles won the renowned contest for four consecutive weeks. Charles' uncle then hooked up his warbling kin with Phil Medley, a jack-of-all-trades who was an accomplished singer, songwriter, producer, and arranger. Impressed by the lad's delivery, Medley cut a demo with Charles singing a song Medley had been trying to place entitled "A Million to One." He got the ear of Bill Lashley, a honcho at Promo Records, and played it for him. Promo liked the demo and signed the youngster to a recording contract. They redid Medley's song with the Revellettes backing the singer. The dreamy ballad ascended to number five on Billboard's Top 100 in September of 1960. Sadly, his career ended as quickly as it started. "The Age of Love," Charles' next release, stalled at the 47th position, 42 slots lower than "A Million to One." Subsequent releases failed to attract much attention or airplay and his career was quickly over. ~ Andrew Hamilton