The Danleers, from Brooklyn, New York, had one of the biggest hits of 1958. More than 50 years later, "One Summer Night" is still one of the most requested oldies.
Jimmy Weston (lead) and Johnny Lee (first tenor) worked together, went to high school together, and dreamed of forming a singing group together. Finally, in 1957, they got three of their friends and started a street corner group: Charles "Nat" McCune (baritone), Willie Ephriam (second tenor), and Roosevelt Mays (bass). The average age of the guys was about 17.
When they felt they were ready, the as-yet-unnamed group turned to Danny Webb as their manager. He liked what he heard and promptly named them after himself: the "Danleers." (Shortly thereafter, he'd also manage the Webtones on MGM, another group he named after himself.)
Webb knew Bill Lasley, owner of the AMP-3 label, and that's where the Danleers ended up. On April 1, 1958 they recorded two songs that Webb had written: "One Summer Night" and "Wheelin' And A-Dealin'." (Needless to say, Jimmy Weston later claimed that he had written both songs and Webb had merely put his name to them.) Their recording session was shared with Pearl Galloway (backed up by a group that wasn't the Danleers); she got most of the session time.
Tragedy: when "One Summer Night" was released in May, the "Danleers" had magically transformed into the "Dandleers" on the label. The name had been given to someone at AMP-3 over the telephone and things had gotten a little garbled. This would lead to speculation, years later, that there was some connection between the Danleers and Chicago's Danderliers.
Since AMP-3 was distributed by Mercury, when "One Summer Night" started to break, Mercury bought the Danleers' contract and reissued the record. Although they managed to get the group's name right on the label, it was still listed in the Mercury master book as the "Dandleers."
The disc was reviewed the week of June 16, 1958 (both sides "good"). Other entries that week were: the Sophomores' "Checkers," Fats Domino's "Little Mary," Bo Diddley's "Hush Your Mouth," the Kodoks' "Oh Gee, Oh Gosh," Robert & Johnny's "I Believe In You," the Clovers' "The Gossip Wheel," the Preludes' "Vanishing Angel," Tony Allan's "Call My Name," the Raindrops' "Dim Those Lights," and the Nite Caps' "Jelly Bean." On July 7, it was listed as a Tip in New York and when the chart action was finally over, "One Summer Night" had peaked at #4 on the national R&B charts and #7 Pop.
The record took off so fast in New York that on June 20 (a month before it hit the national R&B charts), the Danleers were booked into the Apollo Theater. Others on the show were Little Willie John, the Fidelitys, the Kalin Twins, Sonny Til, the Upsetters, and Etta James.
On the strength of "One Summer Night," the Danleers also got a spot on Dick Clark's relatively new Saturday night Dick Clark Show (broadcast from the Little Theater in Manhattan at 7:30 on ABC-TV).
On August 14, 1958 under the direction of Bobby Shad, the Danleers recorded their next offering, this time at the Mercury studios: "I Really Love You"/"My Flaming Heart" (quick, the Maalox!). Released a week later and reviewed on September 15, both sides received "excellent" ratings. Other reviews that week went to Eugene Church's "Pretty Girls Everywhere," Clyde McPhatter's "A Lover's Question," the Robins' "A Quarter To Twelve," the Charms' "Don't Wake Up The Kids," and the Sedates' "I Found."
The Danleers then became part of Alan Freed's Labor Day show at the Brooklyn Fox, which ran from August 29 to September 7, 1958. The other acts were Bill Haley & the Comets, the Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Frankie Avalon, the Elegants, Larry Williams, Jimmy Clanton, the Kalin Twins, the Poni Tails, Bobby Freeman, the Cleftones, Jack Scott, Duane Eddy, Teddy Randazzo, the Royal Teens, Ed Townsend, Jo Ann Campbell, Gino & Gina, Bobby Hamilton, the Olympics, and Andy Wilson. This was not exactly an R&B spectacular! (One service the Danleers performed during the run of the show was to lend their uniforms to the Elegants for a photo session.)
Then, it was straight into the Apollo for the week beginning September 19. This time, they shared the stage with the Coasters, the Olympics, the Quintones, Bobby Long, Bobby Hendricks, Claudia Swann, and Sil Austin.
From there, the Danleers became part of an Irvin Feld package tour, booked by General Artists Corporation: The Biggest Show Of Stars For 1958. Kicking off on October 3, it starred Bobby Darin and Frankie Avalon, with Clyde McPhatter, the Coasters, Jack Scott, the Elegants, Bobby Freeman, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Connie Francis, the Olympics, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Jimmy Clanton, Eddie Cochran, Dion and the Belmonts, Sil Austin, and MC Harold Cromer.
The Danleers' next record was "A Picture Of You," backed with the Platters-sounding "Prelude To Love," released in December 1958. It was reviewed (both sides "excellent") on January 12, 1959. Other reviews that week went to the Monotones' "Legend Of Sleepy Hollow," the 4 Dots' "Don't Wake Up The Kids," and the Gay Charmers' "What Can I Do."
The last Mercury outing for the Danleers was "I Can't Sleep"/"Your Love," issued in March 1959. Both sides were rated "good" on May 4, along with the Coasters' "Along Came Jones," Bobby Freeman's "Mary Ann Thomas," the Shields' "Play The Game Fair," the Jayhawks' "Start The Fire," the Flamingos' "I Only Have Eyes For You," and the Drifters' "There Goes My Baby." Even though "I Can't Sleep" was only rated "good," it still did better than "There Goes My Baby," which only ranked "fair" (I guess that's why we never heard from it again).
Although "One Summer Night" was one of the biggest hits of 1958, and is still played by many DJs as a prelude to summer, the Danleers couldn't come up with another hit and fell apart in mid-1959. Danny Webb agreed with the Penguins' Cleve Duncan in saying that Mercury was not good about promoting records.
After the Mercury group broke up, Webb put Jimmy Weston together with three members of his other group, the Webtones, to form a new Danleers group: first tenor Louis Williams, baritone Terry Wilson, and bass Frankie Clemens. An occasional fifth member was second tenor Doug Ebron, Jimmy Weston's brother-in-law and brother of another of the Webtones, Duke Ebron. (The fifth member of the Webtones had been Bruce Cooke.)
In one of those tantalizing trade paper tidbits, it was reported, in the September 11, 1959 edition of Billboard, that the Danleers had signed a long-term contract with Memo Records (another of Bill Lasley's labels). I guess it didn't involve recording, since there were never any Danleers releases on Memo.
Webb then proceeded to get the reorganized Danleers a contract with Columbia's Epic subsidiary. Epic released "If You Don't Care"/"(I Live) Half A Block From An Angel" in March 1960.
Their second, and last, Epic release was "I'll Always Believe In You"/"Little Lover," issued in October 1960. After this, they again felt that they weren't getting sufficient promotion and left for Harry Belock's Everest label, based in Bayside, New York.
They didn't make much of a showing on Everest. There was only a single record, "Foolish"/"I'm Looking Around," released in July 1961.
During the time between recordings, they did a lot of touring, appearing all over the country. This kept them going for two and a half years. Then it was back to Mercury, where they had a single session (November 15, 1963). This resulted in a release on Mercury's Smash subsidiary in January 1964: "If"/"Were You There." A second Smash release was "Where Is Love"/"The Angels Sent You," which came out in June 1964. A second Smash release (with masters from the 1963 session) was "Where Is Love"/"The Angels Sent You," which came out in June 1964.
Then it was over to LeMans, which finished out 1964 with "The Truth Hurts"/"Baby You've Got It," issued in October. The final Danleers record was issued on LeMans in 1965: "This Thing Called Love"/"I'm Sorry It Happened This Way."
With no hits since 1958, the Danleers were history by the mid-60s. However, in April 1972, they had re-formed and consisted of Jimmy Weston (lead), Doug Ebron (second tenor), Nat McCune (baritone), and Bill Carey (bass, formerly of the 4 Fellows/Victorians). They were still being managed by Danny Webb. While their singing was great, when I caught their act the only Danleers song they sang was "One Summer Night".
While they only lasted about two years, they got back together again in 1988 (this time without Danny Webb). Doug Ebron had passed away by that time, and original member John Lee returned to join Jimmy Weston, Nat McCune, and Bill Carey. This group remained together until Jimmy Weston's death in June 1993.
Since 2012, "Bill Carey's Danleers" have consisted of Robert Mirra, Richard Green, Joe Hayes, and Bill Carey (with Jimmy Smith as musical arranger).
"One Summer Night" was a great record. But with all the other great tunes that the Danleers recorded, it's a shame that they're only regarded as "one-hit wonders."
AMP 3 (label mistakenly read "Dandleers")
2115 One Summer Night/Wheelin' And A-dealin' - 5/58
A counterfeit record from the 60s used the number "1005."
71322 One Summer Night/Wheelin' And A-dealin' - 6/58
(Re-released as C-30115 - 10/63) 71356 I Really Love You/My Flaming Heart - 8/58
71401 A Picture Of You/Prelude To Love - 12/58
71441 I Can't Sleep/Your Love - 3/59
MERCURY "SHORTIES" (EPs with one-minute clips of new songs for DJs)
MEP-46 - ca. 6/58
It's Been A Long Time - Gino & Gina
Pony Tail - Voxpoppers
One Summer Night - Danleers
Bright Lights Of Brussels - Eddie Layton
MEP-55 - ca. 8/58
Fibbin' - Patty Page
Walking Along - Diamonds
I Really Love You - Danleers
It's Raining Outside - Platters
Love, You Better Leave Me Alone
Just Look Around
Whole Mess Of Trouble
I Really Love You
5-9367 If You Don't Care/(I Live) Half A Block From An Angel - 3/60
5-9421 I'll Always Believe In You/Little Lover - 10/60
I'll Be Forever Yours
The Light Of Love
19412 Foolish/I'm Looking Around - 7/61
S-1872 If/Were You There - 1/64
S-1895 Where Is Love/The Angels Sent You - 6/64
005 The Truth Hurts/Baby You've Got It - 10/64
008 This Thing Called Love/I'm Sorry It Happened This Way - 65
K12724 My Lost Love/ Walk, Talk And Kiss - 10/58