60s Oldies Music

Introduction to the Ames Brothers — 1950s Hitmakers

Ames Brothers
Publicity photo of the singing quartet the Ames Brothers. One of its members (seen at top) is actor Ed Ames, who was also well-known for his role in the television series Daniel Boone. Ed Ames went into television after the breakup of the group, who were actually brothers. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

 

Short career summary on the Ames Brothers

The Ames Brothers are one of the most commercially successful artists during the 50s music era. The group consisted of Vic, Joe, Gene & Ed Urick. They were the four of nine children born to David and Sarah Urick of Malden, MA. Their parents were not professional musicians but were musically talented. The Urick boys decided to start a singing group while pursing other careers. After they got a job singing with bandleader Art Mooney, they decided to pursue singing full time. The Ames Brothers became the most successful pop singing Quartet of the 1950’s. They were originally named The Amory Brothers, using Vic’s middle name, but their name was soon shortened to The Ames Brothers. Their career took off in 1950 when both of their songs from the single “Rag Mop” & “Sentimental Me” became big hits. They recorded for Decca, Coral and RCA Victor and had 56 songs chart on either Billboard or Cashbox charts. The quartets popularity started to wane in the late 50’s and the group disbanded in 1960. Ed Ames went on to a successful solo career. Vic, Gene & Joe have all passed away. Other Ames Brothers Hit Songs: “You, You, You,” “The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane,” “Undecided,” “Melodie d’Amour,” “Can Anyone Explain?,” “The Man With the Banjo,” “Pussy Cat,” “A Very Precious Love,” “It Only Hurts for a Little While,” “My Bonnie Lassie,” “My Favourite Song,” “String Along,” “The Wang Wang Blues”, “Stars Are the Windows of Heaven,” “I Wanna Love You,” “Hawaiian War Chant,” “My Love, My Life, My Happiness,” “Thirsty for Your Kisses,” “Rockin’ Shoes,” “Hopelessly,” “Red River Rose,” “No One But You,” “Leave It to Your Heart,” “Sentimental Journey,” “Forever Darling,” & “Man, Man, Is for the Woman Made.”

 

The Ames Brothers’ early life and family

The Ames Brothers were a traditional pop vocal quartet. As the name suggests, they consisted of singing siblings. Joe, the eldest, was born in 1921; Gene was born in 1923; Vic was born in 1925; and the youngest Edmund Dantes “Ed,” was born in 1927. They were all born in Malden, Massachusetts.

“Ames” isn’t really their true family name, but actually Urick. Both of the brothers’ parents were Russian Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. The brothers had four other full siblings.

The Uricks were a very musically-inclined family. So how did they become the Ames brothers? We’ll find it out a little later in this hub.

 

The Ames Brothers’ musical journey

The brothers formed a quartet along with a cousin named Lennie, and started entertaining troops at the US Army and Navy bases. They eventually offered a one-week engagement gig at one of the fanciest clubs in Boston, Massachusetts. However, the group’s gig eventually ran into several months as word got around of their appearance.

During that time the brother’s took Vic’s middle name Amory to form the name of their group the Amory Brothers. They were really becoming popular at this point that Joe, who left the group before, decided to join them again. Joe is said to have commented that his brothers were having “too much fun together for him to miss out.”

When the arrived in New York, The Amory Brothers were invited by bandleader Art Mooney to perform alongside him. The brothers then got their first recording deal with Decca and cut a few tracks for the label until the American Federaton of Musicians recording ban on all commercial recording in 1948.

 

 

Becoming hitmakers and in-demand peformers

When the ban was finally lifted, the Amory Brothers got signed to Coral Records. Their name was later shortened to The Ames Brothers, and it seems that they were well on their way. They achieved their first charting signel with “You, You, You Are the One” at #22 in 1949. It was followed by a second Top 40 hit “Cruising Down the River.”

In early 1950 The Ames Brothers enjoyed their first #1 hit with “Rag Mop.” It was shortly followed by another single “Sentimental Me,” which became #1 as well. Once doing radio shows before for the sake of exposure, now The Ames Brothers were now regulars on The Arthur Godfrey Show and His Friends. They were also among the first guests on The Ed Sullivan Show during its debut telecast, when it was still known as The Toast of the Town.

Soon enough The Ames Brothers were in demand performers during the 1950s. They became one of the top paid groups in nightclubs and supperclubs everywhere in the country. They also hosted their own TV show The Ames Brothers Show, which was shown every Friday nights.

 

 

The Ames Brothers’ biggest hits

Most of the brothers’ hits were released on Coral, while many of them were on RCA Victor. Among their most significant hits include:

  • “(Put Another Nickel In) Music! Music! Music!” (#13 pop)
  • “Stars Are the Windows of Heaven” (#17 pop)
  • “Can Anyone Explain? (No, No, No!)” (#5 pop)
  • “Thirsty for Your Kisses’ (#26 pop) “Oh Babe!” (#20 pop)
  • “The Thing” (#29 pop)
  • “Wang Wang Blues” (#16 pop)
  • “Hawaiian War Chant (Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai)” (#21 pop)
  • “I Wanna Love You” (#19 pop)
  • “I’ll Still Love You” (#29 pop)
  • “Aufwiederseh’n Sweetheart” (#13 pop)
  • “String Along” (#18 pop)
  • “My Favorite Song” (#15 pop)
  • “You You You” (#1 pop)
  • “The Man with the Banjo” (#6 pop)
  • “The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane” (#3 pop)
  • “My Bonnie Lassie” (#11 pop)
  • “Forever Darling” (#35 pop)
  • “It Only Hurts for a Little While” (#11 pop)
  • “Tammy” (#5 pop)
  • “Mélodie d’amour (Melody of Love)” (#5 pop)
  • “A Very Precious Love” (#23 pop)
  • “Pussy Cat” (#17 pop)

 

Disbandment

After the peak of their career, the group disbanded in the early 1960s. Ed Ames went on to become a successful solo singer and actor. He became famous in his own right by playing Daniel Boone’s sidekick Mingo on the popular Daniel BooneTV series from the early 1960s to the 1970s. Ed Ames also had hits such as the adult contemporary and pop hit “My Cup Runneth Over.”

Ed Ames is the only surviving member of the group. His brothers have all passed away: Vic in 1978 (aged 52), Gene in 1997 (aged 74) and Joe in 2007 (aged 86).

The Ames Brothers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.

 

Related links