Los Angeles, CA (PressExposure) September 03, 2008 -- Grant Williams CEO of Memory Lane Concert Cruises today announced. The prestigious Little Caesar and the Romans will be among the twelve groups appearing on the legendary West Coast Doo Wop Cruise. Songwriter Paul Politi originally wrote and intended vocalist Sonny Knight to released Those Oldies But Goodies. said Williams.
Little Caesar and the Romans where first called the Cubans. Featuring David Caesar Johnson, Leroy Sanders, Johnny O' Simmons and Early Harris. The group first recorded in 1959 but when Cuba underwent a political revolution that same year the group changed their name to the Upfronts. Carl Burnett than a close friend of Johnsonâs recalls his days at Virgil Junior High and later at Los Angeles Fremont High. I also had a group of my own, singing with the Donald and Dwayne Haddegs and a good friend of ours whose last name was Stokes, we called him Stokeabean." (said Burnett }The group performed mostly past R&B hits like "Over the Mountain" "A Thousand Miles Away" and "In the Still of the Night."
Although they never recorded another Fremont High student, Cad Coates, and his group The Marathons gave Burnett and Johnson encouragement watching them performing at the schoolâs track meets. While still in high school, Burnett and his friend David Johnson attended a party at the home of songwriter Paul Politi who wrote "Those Oldies But Goodies." Who was trying everybody out to record it but just could not come up with anyone he wanted yet. I knew David also loved singing Doo Wop and I said to Politi let my friend try it with me also. Although David was talking to a girl and appeared vary involved at the time. I finally managed to drug him over to the microphone to sing the song with me. When we started everyone started clapping". (said Burnett). Politi went to the studio the next day, and a week later, they invited Carl and David and some of the girls from the party to do that song and called our background group The Romans.â (The "Little Caesarâ part would be a later addition).
Paul Politi originally wrote and intended vocalist Sonny Knight to released âThose Oldies But Goodies who Politi admired. A friend mentioned to Politi the song would be great for Art Laboe. Who was a deejay who was then airing many tunes which were originally popular on the West Coast between 1953 and 1957 who would refer to them as his "oldies but goodies. A year or two passed by before the party at Polite 5 house, which again brought Poiiti with Carl Burnett together again. Eventually resulted in the first auditions of the tune for Laboe. But there were a couple of key changes in the song, according to Poiiti. "I recorded the first demo with the feel of in the "Still of the Night". But it didnât have the bridge or talking part I like it, but I donât like the group." (Said Laboe) and than requested Politi to try to get Sonny Knight. While Laboe procrastinating, Politi instead took the song to Lew Bedell of Dare Records. He, too, liked the song but thought it sounded too much like "Dedicated to the One I Love,"
They finally brought the song to Del-Fl label owner Bob Keane, who "went crazy over it," recalled Carl Burnett, Who by this time had been with ex-Cubans David Johnson, Simmons and Saunders. They rushed into the studio that evening to record the number. The backup musicians assembled and laid down their track separately. With Bruce Johnston arranging, the band included Charles Wright on piano and overdubbed bass guitar and Paul Politi on drums. Barry White was to be on piano, but he did not show up for the session. The songs release was in the early spring of 1961, and it took off like a rocket. One of the first deejays to plug it was Dick "Huggy Boy" whose radio show then emanated from the Flash Record Shop on L.Aâs East Vernon Avenue. Fittingly, it had had been Flashâs owner, Charlie Reynolds, who had first recorded The Cubans in 1959. In the east, Pittsburgh deejay Porky Chedwick was instrumental in breaking the record nationally. It reached number 9 on Billboardâs national chart.
Little Caesar and the Romans shortly after charting again to number 54 with "Hully Gully Again." But it was to be their last fling at fame before the group disbanding in 1962. Except for an LP by the group entitled "Memories of Those Oldies But Goodies", produced by Fred Smith. The album featured the groupâs two hits and a series of remakes of songs made famous by other artists including "Work With Me Annie," "I Need You So, "CC. Rider" and "Little Star". By this time, however, frequent quarrels between Johnson and Burnett over who should take the name of âLittle Caesar" ended in the groupâs breakup. (Johnson thought he merited the name because of his spoken bridges in various songs, though Burnett was the groupâs main lead singer.) In 1975, Johnson put together a new Little Caesar And The Romans and recorded a single called "Disco Hully Gully". For a while, they toured as Marvin Gaye's opening act and in the late 70s, one of the backing singers for the group was Rickie Lee Jones. Carl and David are now performing again as Little Caesar and the Romans.
On April 19 2009, Little Caesar and the Romans will perform on Memory Lane Carnival cruise lines newest and most innovative ship in the world the Splendor. Sailing from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera on a 7-day cruise. There has never been a Doo Wop event this spectacular on the West Coast in over fifty years.