The Ad Libs were a black Doo-wop group from Bayonne, NJ. In late 1964 the group released their mega-hit “The Boy From New York City.” The band was formed in the Mid-50’s and was originally named the Arabians, consisting of Hugh Harris, Danny Austin, John Alan, David Watt, Jr., and James Wright. They later changed their name to The Creators and made a few singles under that name. Watts left for the army and was replaced by Chris Coles. In 1964 Watts returned and Norman Donegan and Mary Ann Thomas, who became the lead singer, joined the group. In late 1964 the group released their mega-hit “The Boy From New York City”. After that the band members changed many times over the years and now The Ad Libs are no longer a group.
Other Ad Libs songs include: “I’ll Never Never Do It Again,” “Yeah, He’s Got It,” “I Stayed Home (New Years Ever),” “He Ain’t No Angel,” “Human,” “New York In The Dark,” “Every Boy And Girl,” “Giving Up,” “I Don’t Need A Fortune Teller,” “Johnny Boy,” “Oo Wee, Oo Gee,” “The Slime,” “Ask Anybody,” “Kicked Around,” “Appreciation,” “Johnny My Boy,” “The Dream That Never Came True,” “Nothing’s Worse Than Being Alone,” “You Blew My Mind,” “Bottom Of My Soul,” “Charleston Dolly,” “Ask Anybody,” Oo-Wee Oh Me Oh My,” “Think Of Me,” and “If She Wants Him.”
The band’s early history as the Arabians, and the Creators
The Adlibs were an American R&B, soul and doo-wop group, originating from Bayonne, New Jersey.
The group was originally formed The Arabians during the mid-1950s, and then as The Creators, in 1964. The group members at that time consisted of Hugh Harris, Danny Austin, James Wright, John Alan, and Dave Watt Jr. In 1963-1964 the Creators released their first two singles, both of which was met with little success. David Watt left for the US Army sometime in 1963, and Chris Coles went to replace him.
In 1964 the group re-formed in the nearby city of Newark, with some lineup changes. Wright, Alan and Coles left, and returning member Watt as well as new member Norman Donegan replacing them. In addition to the two new male members, the group also recruited female singler in the person of Mary Ann Thomas. The newly formed group re-named themselves as The Adlibs.
The group’s biggest hit with “The Boy from New York City”
As now The Adlibs, the group released their first single called “The Boy From New York City” in December 1964. The song was written by George Davis and John T. Taylor, and it featured Thomas’ lead vocals with the male backup singing. Released on Blue Cat label, “The Boy From New York City” was fast rising on the charts until it reached its peak position at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1965. But it was to be The Adlibs’ only chart hit. The single also peaked at #6 on the Billboard R&B singles chart.
Other hits and later career
The group next recorded and released another single, the Barry-Greenwich song “He Ain’t No Angel,” in 1965. The song reached at the bottom of the Billboard Hot 100. In 1969, the Adlibs released what could be their final charting single, “Giving Up.” (#34 R&B).
The group changed members, and continued to release records up to the late 1980s but they would never be able to duplicate the success of “The Boy from New York City.” Many of the members, including Mary Ann Thomas, have passed on.