Who are the Duprees?
The Duprees are an Italian-American doo-wop vocal group best known for their hit cover version of Jo Stafford’s “You Belong To Me” which was also their first single. Their arrangements in many of their covers were given a big-band treatment. George Paxton, who was once a big band leader, signed the Dupress to his Coed Records label. The group scored many Top 40 hits, in addition to “You Belong To Me:” “My Own True Love” (their second charting single), “Why Don’t You Believe Me” and “Have You Heard.” Personnel changes occurred within the band. With music styles and preferences having changed, and with some member having passed away, the Duprees soldiered on.
The initial lineup of the Duprees; their tenure at Coed Records
The Duprees were an Italian-American doo-wop vocal group formed in Jersey City, New Jersey in the early 1960s. The group initially consisted of lead singer Joey Canzano (who would be later known as Joey Vann), Michael Arnone, Joe Santollo, John Salvato and Tom Bialoglow, who were all high school mates.
Former big band leader George Paxton signed the Duprees to his Coed Records label, where the group would stay for the next two years, where they were at their peak. During their tenure in Coed, their songs had sophisticated big band arrangements done by Paxton.
The Duprees hits
Among The Duprees’ hits on Coed label include: “You Belong to Me” (#7 pop) which was the group’s rendition of a 1952 Jo Stafford hit (and also covered by Patti Page, Dean Martin and Joni James); “My Own True Love” (#13 pop, #2 adult contemporary) which was their vocal version of “Tara’s Theme”; “Why Don’t You Believe Me” (#37 pop, #10 adult contemporary); and “Have You Heard” (#18 pop, #8 adult contemporary).
The Duprees through the years
In 1963 Bialoglow left the band, the following year Joey Vann quit too. By 1964 the Duprees as well as their peers were practically engulfed by the British Invasion in America. Despite this, they continued to record for few more labels such as Columbia and Heritage.
At one time the Duprees recorded and released an album under the alias “The Italian Asphalt and Paving Co.” The Duprees bravely carried on despite the changes of the musical climate. In fact, during the 1980s the Duprees re-generated itself into two groups. But the current touring lineup consists mostly old newer members: Tony Testa (the group’s guitarist since 1964), Phil Granito, Jimmy Spinelli, and Tommy Petillo
Many of the Duprees’ original members passed away: Santollo in 1981, Vann (or Joey Canzano) in 1984, Arnone in 2005, and Mike Kelly (who replaced Vann in 1964) in 2012.