Los Angeles, CA (PressExposure) September 02, 2008 -- Grant Williams CEO of Memory Lane Concert Cruises today announced. The prestigious Premiers will be among the twelve groups appearing on the legendary West Coast Doo Wop Cruise "The Premiers Blue Mood became the biggest hit Dig Records ever had, even though it tailed to make the national charts.â said Williams.
The Premiers consisted of Sammy Hagan (aka: Little Sammy Yates "Hagan", Donald Frierson, Daniel Fields, and Charles Taggart. Johnny Duo of Dig records released their first release, "Baby" and "New Moon" in March 1956. The former side, a mid tempo rocker with Yates fronting a unison group chant, Yates referred to as a countermelody. Though The Premiers' first release didn't make much noise. Johnny Otis issued a second pairing by the group In June 1956. "My Darling" and "Have a Heart". Hagan still has high regard for "My Darling," one of the more polished ballads to appear on the label. Supported by an able studio band led by saxophonist Jackie Kelso (who shared writers' credits with Yates on both sides of the release). Like the first release, however, "My Darling" didn't go anywhere and neither did the group until Johnny Otis decided they should back new singer Julie Stephens, an 18-year old recent high school graduate from Santa Barbara California.
âJulie and I were like brother and sister, we did allot together," said Hagan. "She was coming around the studio and was sweet on Jackie Kelso at the time. Julie wrote "Blue Mood" and we went in to rehearse it with her, She was in a blue mood when she wrote the song, but when she recorded it, it came out beautiful during the summer of 1958". Hagan recalls "Blue Mood" became the biggest hit Dig Records ever had, even though it tailed to make the national charts. With the flip side rocker "Crazy Bells," Otis subsequently reissued it in 1960. While some of Johnny Otis' performers (including Stephens) had less than, cheerful memories of their time at Dig Records, such was not the case with Hagan. "Johnny Otis heard "Baby" and gave us the break that I thank him so much for." Hagan said, "It was like a dream come true when I later work with him on his television show for well over year. I learned so much from that man. He was a family and everybody wanted the next act to do well, we always worked to outpace each other, and we owe a lot to him".
After backing Stephens again on "Take My Heart" in 1957 it was time for The Premiers to move on. "After we left the Johnny Otis Show we went to Capitol Records and managed by Effie Smith and John Criner", Hagan recalled. "Next I knew Johnny and his show showed up at Capitol. I was glad to see him with Kenneth Head replacing original bass Charles Taggart. Our group now became known as Sammy Hagan & the Viscounts" Hagan recalls. Working with guitarist-arranger Jack Marshall and sax man Plash Johnson, among other backing musicians, the group turned out two outstanding ballads, "Out of Your Heart" and "Don't Cry' in 1957, followed by "Tail Light" in February 1958. The latter, which billboard described as a wistful rock ballad told of a guy who trails a car because he thinks his girl is in it with another guy. The tune has touches of the hit "Silhouettes". Unfortunately, the record buying public passed up "Tail Light," Which proved to be the final release for Hagan arid his group.
In 1960 Nagan recorded for John Criner as Little Sammy on the standout ballad "Can You Love Me" and âPapa Did the Chicken". According to Hagan, the voices heard in the background of "Can You Love Me" belong to Fred Smith and Cliff Goldsmith, the songwriting. Arranging team known for their work with The Olympics. According Hagan the backing musicians included Don & Dewey, while Hagan himself played piano. Sammy later continued to record as Count Yates and the Rhythm Crusaders and in 1994, a previously undiscovered Premiers side. "Can it Be Real," issued on Ace Records.
On April 19 2009, The Premiers will perform on 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.
Memory Lane Concert Cruises is musical theme cruise operator. Offering world-class concerts of performing artists in an array of music styles aboard luxury liners. http://www.mlccruises.com