Home

 

Classic Urban Harmony, LLC

"We Take You Back In The Day"

 

 

 

   HOME

    What's New?

Mills Brothers Society

    Our Events
          Calendar

  Bookshelf &  DVD's

       Our
        Presentations

Past
Presentation and Event Photo Album

    Charlie's Bio

    Pam's Bio

    Mailbox

    Responses to
    our Presentations

    Articles & Press
    About Us

   Our Brochure

    Articles by Us

[New!]Satan & the Angels - Blue Eyed Soul

Tony Talent & the Coalitions

Golden Bells & Contessas

Sweet Delights

Sammy Strain & the Imperials, 1964 -, Part 4 in the series

Sammy Strain & the Imperials, 1961 - 1963 Part 3

Sammy Strain & the Fantastics Part 2

Sammy Strain & the Chips Part 1

Asbury Park Vocal Groups Pt. 2

Asbury Park Vocal Groups, Pt.1

Philly's Original Capris

Little Jimmy & The Tops

Teddy & Twilights, Deckers

Groups from Philly's Francisville - Belltones, Joe Cook's Thrillers, Royal Demons, Madison Brothers

Sensations - Part 1

Sensations - Part 2

Johnny Maestro, the Crests & Brooklyn Bridge

Johnny Stiles & the Medallions on Essex

The Plurals

The Vic Donna Story

Orioles' Deborah Chessler

Tyrone & the Nu-Ports

Windy City Harmony: Calvaes, Blenders & Accents

        The Del Larks

Richard Barrett Part 1: The Valentines

Richard Barrett
Part 2:
Frankie Lymon & Teenagers

Richard Barrett
Part 3: The Chantels, Clickettes,
Fashions Veneers

Richard Barrett
Part 4:

Little Anthony & Imperials

Richard Barrett
Part 5: Lewis Lymon
&
Teenchords Jimmy Castor & Juniors

Richard Barrett
Part 6: The Channels,
Isley Bros, Del Knights

Richard Barrett Part 7: The 3 Degrees, Showmen

    Visit Our
    Archives

Our Photo Gallery:
Our Musical Family

Our Photo Gallery:
CUH Archives

Renovations to the Classic Urban Harmony Library

    Concert Reviews,
    Photos & Events

bullet [New!]2014 Philly Doo Wop Festival
 
bulletTNT with Vic Donna Group & Charlie Horner
 
bulletAsbury Angels 2014, Bobby Thomas
 
bulletRichard Nader Doo Wop Concert XXV
 
bullet2014 Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert
 
bullet Billy Vera Big Band at the Cutting Room NYC
 
bullet VGHA Extravaganza III
 
bullet Asbury Park Gospel Explosion

African American
Museum Philadelphia
Gospel Awards Ceremony

 
bullet Ray Goodman & Brown in Plainfield
 
bulletRe-MemberThen
at NJ Doo Wop Singers Club 2013

 
bulletEncounters at Somerset Run
 
bulletRichard Nader's Doo Wop Celebration XXVI
bullet
2013 Asbury Angels Plaque Dedications
 
bullet VGHA Acappella Extravaganza II
 
bullet2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
 
bullet Time Capsule Show 50th Anniversary
bullet
2013 Portsmouth, VA Gospel Concert
 
bulletRe-MemberThen
at Manchester, NJ

 
bulletRe-MemberThen
at New Providence Library

 
bulletJohn Moore's Middle Room Records Closes
 
bulletLittle Isidore in Fair Lawn, NJ
 
bulletNJ Doo Wop Singers Club Jan 2013
 
bulletCelebrating Asbury Park's West Side Harmony
 
bulletDoo Wop Singers Club 4th Anniversary
 
bulletChuck Berry Honored by the R&R Hall of Fame
 
bulletQuiet Storm at Somerset Run
 
bulletAsbury Angels 2012 Induction Ceremony
 
bullet2012 Philly Doo Wop Festival
 
bullet2012 Lead East
 
bulletTNT R&B and Doo Wop Party, Aug 2012
 
bulletPam Nardella's Frankie Lymon Tombstone BBQ
 
bullet Classic Urban Harmony Celebrates Vocal Harmony & the Masqueraders 50th Anniversary
Multi-Part
 
bulletFrankie Lymon Tombstone Finds a New Home
 
bulletStormin Norman Seldin & Return of Ray & Darchaes in Monmouth Beach NJ
 
bullet2012 Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert
 
bulletTNT North Jersey R&B and Doo Wop Party - 2nd Anniversary
 
bulletAcappella Extravaganza at Molloy College 2011
 
bulletDoo Wop Singers Club (NJ) Third Anniversary
 
bulletSoul of Asbury Park Concert
 
bulletMasqueraders Silver Star Competition
 
bullet6th Annual Philly Doo Wop Festival
 
bulletSouth Philly String Band Club After Party to 6th Philly Doo Wop Festival
 
bulletTymes' Norman & Peggy Burnett BBQ 2011
 
bullet2011 Lead East
 
bullet Morris Museum Acappella & Doo Wop Concert # Two
 
bullet Morris Museum Acappella Concert # One
 
bulletClassic Urban Harmony Presentation NJ Doo Wop Groups Part 2
 
bulletClassic Urban Harmony Presentation NJ Doo Wop Groups Part 1
 
bulletMorris Museum LaBamba & Quiet Storm Concert
 
bulletMorris Museum Jersey Rocks Exhibit Opening
 
bulletMorris Museum Jersey Rocks Launch Party
 
bulletEvening With Vocal Group Legends Concert
 
bulletRe-memberThen Finds Its Echo
 
bulletSteve Applebaum Tribute Concert
 
bulletWFDU Fundraiser, Teaneck, NJ March 2011
 
bullet Four J's Jimmy Testa Tribute & Benefit Concert
 
bulletVic Donna Group Rehearsal at CUH Headquarters
 
bulletPam & Charlie's 5th Anniversary Celebration - Multi Parts
 
bullet2010 Philly Doo Wop Festival
 
bullet"Doll Face" Musical Comedy
 
bulletNJ Doo Wop & Street Corner Harmony Association
 
bulletNick @ Nite Open Mic Night
 
bulletLeins Wedding
 
bullet"Fun-Raiser" at South Philly String Band Club
 
bulletRichard Naderís Summer Doowop Reunion XXI
 
bulletPhilly Doo Wop Diner Mural
 
bulletMaking Crossroads 2
 
bulletCornerstone CD Release Party
 
bulletVirginia Legends of Gospel Concert
 
bulletS. Philly Stringband Club Jan 13, 2010
 
bulletRemembering Ronnie I. Concert Nov 2009
 
bulletPGHA's Heavenly Harmony XII Concert
 
bulletS. Philly Stringband
Club
Testimonial
 
bulletFilming a Documentary
on Acappella
 
bulletAcappella Group Soul'D
Out on
Celebrity
Solstice
Oct 2009
 
bulletBattleship New Jersey Dance & Concert
 
bulletWVLT Cruisin' 92.1 Concert
 
bulletTymes' Norman & Peggy Burnett 2009 BBQ
 
bullet2009 Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival
 
bulletAcappella Group Choice at Franklin Township Public Library
 
bullet American Bandstand Studio Fundraiser
 
bulletAcappella at the South Philly String Band Club Revisited
 
bulletFour Man Trio at At Dover NJ's Attilio's Tavern
 
bulletNicky Addeo at Asbury Park's Wonder Bar
 
bulletASAP's First Acappella Concert
 
bulletAcappella at the South Philly String Band Club
 
bulletVisiting Radio's Past & Present at WDVR-FM
 
bullet Chicago SoulTrip USA
 
bulletR&R Hall
of Fame
Interview with
Orioles' Deborah
Chessler

 
bulletSilhouettes' John Wilson Visits CUH World Headquarters
 
bulletNJ Doowop Group Harmony Club, 2009.
 
bullet New Years Eve 2008 with Nicky Addeo & Nite Owls
 
bullet 2008 European Road Trip: Deep River Quartet & Golden Gate Quartet
 
bullet 2008 Black Swan Burlington Concert
 
bullet 2008 Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival
 
bullet Mills Bros,
Ink Spots
Beach Haven

 
bulletPhilly Doo Wop
Festival 2008

 
bullet Philly Doo Wop
Festival 2006

    PROFILES IN
    HARMONY

    In Tribute

bullet [New!]Dick Rietveld, Deep River Quartet
 
bullet Robert Murphy, Neighbors Complaint
 
bullet Walter McNeil, Gospel Nobleaires
 
bullet Jewel Akens, 4 Dots
 
bulletVirgil Johnson, Velvets
 
bulletCleotha Staples, Staple Singers
 
bulletDarlene McCrae, Cookies, Raeletts
 
bulletGregory Carroll, Four Buddies, Orioles, Dappers, Ink Spots
 
bulletJerome Ramos, Velours
 
bulletMickey "Guitar" Baker
 
bulletEarl Speedo Carroll, Cadillacs
 
bulletMajor Harris, Delfonics, Nat Turner Rebellion, R&B Soloist
 
bulletBilly Scott, Prophets
 
bulletCleve Duncan, Penguins
 
bulletDeborah Chessler, Songwriter,Mentor to the Orioles
 
bulletWilla Ward, Ward Singers, Gay Charmers
 
bulletBobby Thomas, Vibranaires, Vibes, V-Eights, Orioles
 
bulletJohn Jones, Moments Pleasure, Norristones, Copians
 
bulletChester Brown. The Counts
 
bulletJimmy Ellis, Trammps, Cordells, Exceptions
 
bulletJimmy Castor
 
bulletJack Scandura
 
bullet Cadillacs' Bobby Phillips
 
bulletBobby Robinson
 
bulletRobins' Grady Chapman
 
bullet Blue Notes' Roosevelt Brodie
 
bullet Moonglows' Harvey Fuqua
 
bulletCrests' & Brooklyn Bridge's Johnny Maestro
 
bulletDelroys' Reggie Walker
 
bulletSolitaires' & Vocaleers' Herman Dunham
 
bulletValentines' & Del-Knights' Eddie Edgehill
 
bulletChris Bartley
 
bulletSilhouettes' John Wilson
 
bulletLes Paul
 
bullet Castelles' Billy Taylor

    1950's R&B &
    Doo Wop
    Groups

bullet

The Academics 

bullet

The Avalons

bullet

The Avons

bullet

The Blue Notes (original)

bullet

Claude Robinson & Creations

bullet

The 5 Embers

bullet

The Juveniles/ Twilights/ Embers

bullet

The Silhouettes

    1960's Soul
    Groups

bulletThe Ad-Libs
 
bullet Jackson Five (Pre-Motown & Other Rarities)

    Carolina Beach Music

bullet The Poor Souls

    Modern Era
    Doo Wop Groups

bullet40 Years of Group Harmony: Ray Block's Photos of Vintage, Ad-Libs, Reunion, Bon-Aires, East River Drive
 
bulletYounger Dayz

    Gospel Groups

bulletThe
Angelic Gospel
Singers

 
bulletClaude Jeter & the Swan Silvertones

    Early Black
    Vocal Groups
    1870 -1930

bullet

The American
Jubilee Singers

 

bullet

The Dinwiddie Quartet

   History of
   Recording

bullet

The 60th Anniversary of the Vinyl 45 RPM Single

    Rare Record
    Labels

bulletHico Label

   Holiday Harmony

bullet Vocalaries' White Christmas
 
bulletPenguins' A Christmas Prayer
 
bulletDominoes' Christmas In Heaven
 
bulletCameos' Merry Christmas
 
bulletDrifters' White Christmas
 
bulletOrioles'
Lonely Christmas

    Hometown
    Harmony

bullet Philadelphia Area Doo Wop & Acappella Groups
 
bulletBermuda Vocal Groups

    Ongoing
    Research

Unknown Vocal Groups

     Great LINKS

 

 

 

Holiday Harmony Sides

In keeping with the holidays, Classic Urban Harmony once again turns the spotlight on a legendary harmony "Sound of the Season".

 

The Drifters - "White Christmas"

"White Christmas" by the Drifters is indeed unique.  We'd be hard pressed to name another record by an R&B vocal group that returns to such popularity year after year, fifty-five years after it was first recorded.  One of the top selling holiday records of all time, the Drifters' "White Christmas" has become a chart record in at least five different years.  It has also been included in the sound tracks of the movies Home Alone, The Santa Claus and Mixed Nuts.  By resurfacing every year, "White Christmas" has gradually become the best selling of all the Drifters' records.

The song "White Christmas" was of course written by Irving Berlin and introduced in the 1942 film Holiday Inn by Bing Crosby.  Indeed the Drifters were not the first vocal group to record "White Christmas."  The Sentimentalists (soon to become the Four Tunes) recorded it in 1946 and the ravens recorded it in 1948.  In fact the Ravens' arrangement of "White Christmas" with the magnificent bass voice of Jimmy Ricks served as inspiration for the Drifters version.

After a stint with the Dominoes, Clyde McPhatter formed the Drifters in 1953.  By February 1954, when they recorded "White Christmas," the Drifters personnel included Clyde McPhatter (tenor lead), Gerhardt Thrasher (tenor), Andrew Thrasher (baritone), Bill Pinkney (bass) and Jimmy Oliver (guitar).


The Drifters, ca. 1953
Left to right: Bill Pinkney, Willie Ferbee, Clyde McPhatter,
Andrew Thrasher, Gerhardt Thrasher
By the time the Drifters recorded "White Christmas," Ferbee had left the group.


Until that point, most Drifters records featured the soaring tenor lead of Clyde McPhatter.  "White Christmas," on the other hand, featured the bass lead of Bill Pinkney with Clyde taking the lead on the bridge.   "We wanted to do something different with 'White Christmas'," Bill Pinkney said in his autobiography, Drifters 1.  "We did it in a ballad-with-a-beat version that became a big hit.  Atlantic [Records] wondered what composer Irving Berlin would think.  He surprized everyone when he gave our version his blessings.  He really liked it and he contacted Atlantic with a letter of congratulations."


Bill Pinkney's biography
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

The Drifters' "White Christmas" was first released in November 1954 on Atlantic #1048.  Within a few weeks it was #2 on the R&B Charts.

First press (1954) 45 RPM of "White Christmas" on yellow Atlantic label
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


 78 RPM of "White Christmas"
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


1954 Ad for Drifters' "White Christmas"


During the 1955 Christmas Season, Atlantic Records reissued the Drifters' "White Christmas."  It again reached the R&B Charts Top-10, settling in at #5.  It also reached #80 on the Pop Charts.


1955 Ad for Drifters' "White Christmas"


In the 1956 Holiday Season, Atlantic released the Drifters' "White Christmas" for the third year in a row and for the third time it broke into the R&B Charts Top-15, reaching #12.  By 1956, Atlantic had changed the label color on its 45 RPM singles from yellow to red.  Thus, even though the Drifters' "White Christmas" was issued as a 45 RPM single on Atlantic #1048 almost every year between 1954 and 1980, only copies pressed in 1954 and 1955 have yellow Atlantic labels.
 


1956 Ad for Drifters' "White Christmas"


Throughout the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's the Drifters' "White Christmas" was released as a single every year.  In 1960 and 1962, the record reached the bottom of the Pop Top-40 Charts.


Rare Promotional (DJ) copy of Drifters "White Christmas" ca. late 1950's.
Note the Christmas Ivy on the right side of the label.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 


Drifters "White Christmas" ca. 1960's.
Note the swirl (fan) now on the left side of the label.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

 

Promotional (DJ) single of Drifters "White Christmas" ca. 1970's.
Note "Warner Communications" on bottom of label.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

 

Around 2002, an animated cartoon of Santa and his Reindeer lip-syncing to the Drifters' "White Christmas" began going around the Internet.  It is usually credited to cartoonist Joshua Held.  Even if you've seen this a hundred times it's still worth a play.  We never get tired of it so we've embedded the Youtube here for you to watch.


 

This year there's a new twist on the Santa & his Reindeers singing the Drifters' "White Christmas."  Here's a YouTube of a video of the famous cartoon up in holiday lights, complete with music.  The person posting this YouTube has the display on their house.  It uses 4000 lights and requires 10 computer channels to control the lights.


 

As 2009 comes to an end, the Drifters' "White Christmas" is as popular as ever, a credit to the group that recorded it.

For last year's Holiday Harmony spotlighted record, click Orioles' Lonely Christmas.