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THE FLAMINGOS

The_Flamingos_-_1957

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

Description: Vocal group, USA

Known For: The Flamingos first single “If I Cant Have You”,

Music Styles: Rock , Easy listening, Doo Wop

Location: Sweden

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BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE
The Flamingos

An American doo wop group from the United States, most popular in the mid to late 1950s.

The quintet began with members that included.

Cousins Jacob Carey, Ezekial Carey,formed the group in Chicago, Illinois, after meeting cousins baritone Paul Wilson and first tenor John E. “Johnny” Carter at a black Messianic Jewish synagogue. Earl Lewis soon joined, and after a series of name changes, (The Swallows, El Flamingos, The Five Flamingos), wound up being known as The Flamingos.

Sollie McElroy soon replaced Lewis who joined the Five Echoes.

The Flamingos’ first single “If I Can’t Have You”, was a moderate local success, as was the follow-up “That’s My Desire”, but it was Johnny Carter’s composition of “Golden Teardrops,” with its complex vocal harmonies and Carter’s soaring falsetto, that cemented their reputation as a top regional act of the day (and for all time among group harmony aficionados and record collectors.

The Flamingos left Chance Records sometime after their December 1953 session and signed with DJ Al Benson’s Parrot Records. Sollie McElroy was on their first Parrot session, but left the group in December 1954, to be replaced by tenor Nate Nelson (who was on their second Parrot session; he’s lead on “I’m Yours,” released in January 1955).

The Flamingos also appeared in the 1956 Alan Freed movie, Rock, Rock, Rock (film) Rock, Rock Rock. Both Zeke Carey and Johnny Carter were drafted that year (Carter was drafted in September).

Another new member, tenor/lead, guitarist, and arranger Terry “Buzzy” Johnson, joined in late December of that year. This group (Nate Nelson, Tommy Hunt, Terry Johnson, Paul Wilson, and Jake Carey) began recording for Decca Records in April 1957.

Zeke Carey returned to the Flamingos in 1958, making the group a sextet.

The group had their first pop chart hit with “Lovers Never Say Goodbye”, written by Terry Johnson, who shared lead chores on the song with Paul Wilson.

The Flamingos would have their biggest seller with another old standard from that LP, on which Nate Nelson handled lead chores. “I Only Have Eyes for You” (1959, originally recorded by Dick Powell in 1934), became their biggest seller, and has been featured in dozens of movies and TV show.

They appeared in the Alan Freed movie, Go, Johnny, Go, singing a frenetic version of “Jump Children”.

The group continued recording into the 1970s. A new album was released in 1972 on Ronze, entitled “The Flamingos Today”.

In 1988, the group was featured at the 1988 Grammy Awards.

The group split up in late 2005 due to money disputes.

Current Flamingos member J.C. Carey, along with Terry Johnson, Tommy Hunt, and descendants of Nate Nelson and Paul Wilson, sued PepsiCo for allegedly using “I Only Have Eyes For You” in a 1998 television commercial without consulting the group. The group was awarded $250,000.

Documented in 2009.

The Flamingos received the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Award in 1996 and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Doo-Wopp Hall of Fame in 2004.

Members include.

J.C. Carey
Doug McClure
Victor Brown
Sidney Hall
Flip Thomas

Terry Johnson’s Flamingos include.

Terry “Buzzy” Johnson
Theresa Trigg
Jeff Calloway
Joseph Mirrion

Former members include.

Ezikial Carey (deceased)
Jacob Carey (deceased)
Johnny Carter (deceased)
Tommy Hunt
Earl Lewis (deceased)
Sollie McElroy (deceased)
Nate Nelson (deceased)
Paul Wilson (deceased)

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