The Arbors were a mid-60’s music era singing quartet made up of two sets of brothers, Tom and Scott Herrick and Ed and Fred Farran. They met while in college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, taking the latter part of the city’s name as the name for their quartet. Sadly the Farran brothers have both passed away, Ed in 2003 and Fred in 2011. The quartet could very well have been big had they been formed 10 years earlier when harmony groups like The Lettermen and The Four Freshmen were very popular. They had a soft rock sound at a time when the rest of the world was crazy for rock and roll. The group did, however, have one Billboard Top 40 hit with Date Records, the soft rock remake of “The Letter”, (#20). It had been a #1 rock and roll hit for The Box Tops a year and half earlier. They had two earlier Billboard Hot 100 hits with “Graduation Day” (#59) and “I Can’t Quit Her” (#67), which transitioned at the end of the song into the chorus of Simon & Garfunkel’s “For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her”. After making only three albums the group disbanded in 1970. They subsequently made a career change and became successful at writing and singing television and radio commercial music. Other Hit Songs by The Arbors: “Just Let It Happen,” “Hey Joe,” “Valley of the Dolls,” “Touch Me,” “Lovin’ Tonight (Maybe Tonight),” “You Are the Music,” “Dreamer Girl,” “A Symphony for Susan,” “Most of All,” “Good Day Sunshine/Gotta Get You Into My Life,” “A Love for All Seasons,” “Endless Summer,” “I Win the Whole Wide World,” “That’s the Way It Is,” “Mas Que Nada,” “When I Fall in Love,” “So Nice,” “My Foolish Heart,” “Open a New Window” & “A Day in the Life of a Fool.”
Short career summary on The Arbors
The Arbors were an American four-piece vocal group formed in 1964, hailing from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their formation consisted of two pairs of brothers: The Herrick brothers, Tom and Scott and the Farran brothers, Ed and Fred. All four men attended the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where they first met. From then on, they started playing local shows in their hometown.
The Arbors as recording artists and making it big with “The Letter”
Moving to New York, The Arbors were signed to Mercury Records and began recording in 1965. Unfortunately, their debut record flopped. The following year, the group issued their sophomore effort with “A Symphony for Susan” which was recorded for another label, Carney. After the song was reissued nationally on Date Records (Columbia subsidiary), it earned a place at the Billboard Hot 100 on #51. Their next charted single was “Graduation Day” which peaked at #59 on the pop charts. An album also titled A Symphony for Susan was released in 1967 and charted at #144 on the Billboard 200.
In 1969, the Arbors did their own version of “The Letter,” which was a #1 Billboard pop hit by The Box Tops two years before. The Arbors’ version reached its peak position at #20 on the Billboard pop chart in 1969. It was followed with an LP which consisted of their interpretations of songs by Bob Dylan, The Doors, Blood, Sweat and Tears and Simon & Garfunkel. The album was released by Columbia Records and was to be also their final recording as well. After that, they focused on writing and playing songs for commercials which they lasted doing for thirty years.
They remained together and were still active into the late 1990s. The Arbors are members of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.