Little Anthony and the Imperials
Performing live April 4, 2011 at Fisher Auditorium, IUP Campus, Indiana PA.
Little Anthony has still got it! As validated by his 2009 recognition in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Little Anthony’s powerful and amazing vocal range, coupled with some of the most ageless songs ever written, transport the audience to a place where timeless music lives on forever. Backed up by the original Imperials, and with Top 40 hits that include “TEARS ON MY PILLOW,” “SHIMMY, SHIMMY KO-KO BOP,” “GOIN’ OUT OF MY HEAD,” “I’M ON THE OUTSIDE (LOOKING IN),” “TAKE ME BACK” and “HURT SO BAD” this is the show that does not quit.
Little Anthony and the Imperials – Anthony Gourdine, Clarence Collins, Ernest Wright, Tracy Lord and Glouster Rogers never dreamed they would eventually become internationally famous when they first got together in Brooklyn, New York while still in their pre-teens.
After high school, Anthony Gourdine, originally with The Duponts, left to join The Chesters, a group founded by Clarence Collins who were looking for a lead voice. In early 1958, Richard Barrett and Lou Gally, A&R and PR men for End Records, spotted the group, signed them to a contract, and re-named them “The Imperials.”
Their first record for End Records was a double-sided ballad smash. The “A” side, “Tears On My Pillow,” instantly launched their career into musical history. This would be one of their biggest-selling hits, and has been one of the most enduring love ballads ever. The flip-side, “Two People In The World” made the single one of the most popular double-sided records in vocal group history.
Once again, DJ Alan Freed enters the scene, announcing “…and here’s a new record that is making a lot of noise – LITTLE ANTHONY and The Imperials…singing “Tears On My Pillow.” The nickname LITTLE ANTHONY stuck, and the new group name was official. The added LITTLE ANTHONY was carved forever in Doo-Wop stone.
‘Tears On My Pillow’ eventually sold more than 4 million copies. In late 1959, the group released “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop,” their third hit, again selling more than one million copies.
In 1963, singer Sammy Strain replaced departing members Tracy Lord and Glouster Rogers. At that time, their manager introduced them to Teddy Randazzo, a producer/composer and long-time admirer, who loved the Imperials’ sound and had the perfect song for them. The result was the smash hit “I’m On the Outside Looking In,” their biggest hit since “Tears On My Pillow.”
The group then signed a new recording contract with DCP Records (Don Costa Productions).
Little Anthony and The Imperials are one of the few groups that successfully maintained a powerful importance through the ’60s Motown sound and British invasion. They enjoyed a great resurgence with more ballads under the tutelage of Randazzo. Two of those chart breakers, “Goin’ Out of My Head” along with ‘Take Me Back’ solidified the group’s superstar status.
History tells it all. 17 pop and R&B hits. “Tears On My Pillow.” “Two People In the World.” “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop.” “I’m On The Outside (Looking In).” “Goin’ Out Of My Head.” “Hurts So Bad.” “Take Me Back.” They have an unmistakable sound that make them a cut above the rest.
They appeared on TV’s Hit Parade, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Dick Clark shows, and performed in every leading nightclub, and at sold-out concert halls throughout the US.
After taking time off as a group to work on solo projects, Little Anthony and The Imperials began to take concert stages by storm once again in 1992. The magic returned instantly and audiences to this day are continuing to show their approval with thunderous and rousing applause, which remains the standard for each of the Imperials’ performances. The successful reunion has already brought the group to sold-out appearances at performance venues throughout the U.S., including Madison Square Garden in New York and the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.
The group was recently honored as recipients of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award, and inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame Museum in Sharon, PA, the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, recognizing their artistry and lifelong contributions to Rhythm and Blues music.
And Little Anthony and The Imperials are about to gain a whole new generation of fans with the anticipated release of their amazing techno dance remix of “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop.”
Sounding better than ever, with amazing style, great dance moves, chart-topping classic hits, and a show that is unparalleled, Little Anthony and The Imperials continue to bring their music to the world.