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The Cavaliers Biography

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The Cavaliers In-depth Biography

The Cavaliers} were one of perhaps thousands of doo-wop} groups singing at schools, dances, and on street corners in the Bronx during the mid-'50s; they were distinguished from their rivals principally by the fact that they made excellent and enduring music, and got to record some of it, and got those records released on a major label. The group, originally known as the Satellites}, first got together in the Sedgwick Community Center at the Sedgwick Housing Projects in the Bronx in 1956. Lead singer Scott Stevens} (real name Steve Glaser}), who also wrote most of the group's repertory, and first tenor Lloyd Needleman} both attended William Howard Taft High School; while original bass vocalist Junie Smith} was a school dropout, and John Duff} was a student at Cardinal Hayes High School. The group, which functioned as a quartet and a quintet at various times, reportedly made it onto Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour, where they ended up getting bounced from the competition for sounding too professional. With their sound, which freely mixed black and white harmony vocal influences, they were popular locally, and by 1957 events seemed to be moving the Cavaliers}' way again.

Following a show at the Sunnyside Ballroom} in Queens, NY, they were approached by producer Ed Portnoy}, who invited them to an audition. They were signed to his Ivy Records} label, and they made their recording debut in early 1958. Portnoy} was probably attracted to the group by the quality and the range of their work, which encompassed R&B}-harmony ballads} and "rhythm" numbers, all with a surprising degree of sophistication. "Dance, Dance, Dance"} seemed to have the potential to be another "At the Hop"} with some more inventive singing and an even more rousing beat, and Portnoy} sold that recording to ABC Paramount} (the home of Danny & the Juniors}), who issued it on their APT Records} imprint. It never charted nationally but it sold well in cities up and down the East Coast, and reportedly got the group a scheduled appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand} (an appearance that was canceled, according to Glaser}, over the group's mixed-race makeup). They did make it on to Alan Freed}'s television show on the strength of their single "Why, Why, Why,"} which seemed to hold a lot of promise, and Scott Stevens} was interviewed by Freed}.

The group's history was cut short in 1958 by Stevens}' decision to go solo, which led the rest of the Cavaliers} to disband. Stevens}' solo sides were more pop}-oriented than the Cavaliers}' records had been; he was staking out the same territory that Dion} would later succeed with, but without the quality of songs or arrangements necessary to pull it off. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

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