Introduction to The Earls
The Earls are an American white doo-wop vocal group formed in The Bronx, New York in the early 60s music era. The nucleus of the group was (and still is) the group’s founder Larry Chance, and the original members consisted of Bob Del Din, Eddie Harder, Larry Palombo (who later died in 1959 in an skydiving accident while he was in the US Army) and John Wray. The group achieved their biggest hit with “Remember Then” in 1963, and they also had minor hits like “Life Is But a Dream,” “Never” and “I Believe.” Even when their peak was now behind them many years later, the Earls still became popular performers especially in the oldies circuit. Larry Chance remains the leader of the group in their latest incarnation, with newer members Bobby Tribuzzio, Bobby Coleman and Chuck Mearizo.
The Earls’ early years
Best remembered for their 1963 hit “Remember Then,” The Earls was American white doo-wop group from Bronx, New York formed in 1961. Their musical journey started on the street corners of New York’s subway station where they were later discovered. Spearheaded by Larry Chance (born Larry Figueiredo on October 19, 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), they were sometimes billed as Larry Chance and The Earls. Chance hailed from Pennsylvania and later relocated to Bronx with his parents in 1957.
At the Tecumsa Social Club, Chance formed a group called the Hi-Hatters which consisted of Bob Del Din, Eddie Harder, Larry Palombo, John Wray and Chance. Shortly thereafter, Palombo died when his parachute failed to open during an army sky diving exercise in 1959.
The Earls’ recordings and their smash hit “Remember Then”
The Earls had their first record in 1961 on Rome 101 imprint, “Life is But a Dream” b/w “First Love.” It was followed by another 45 with “Looking For My Baby” b/w “Cross My Heart.” Also in that year, they performed on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand along with rock n roll impresario and disc jockey Murray the K.
Getting signed on Old Town Records in 1962, The Earls collaborated with Stan Vincent and recorded the song “Remember Then” b/w “Let’s Waddle.” It became a hit single, peaking at #24 on the Billboard pop chart in 1963. The following single “Never” b/w “I Keep A-Tellin You” was co-written by Chance but it did not to well. However, The Earls had a minor hit with “Eyes” b/w “Look My Way in 1963.
Chance also went solo for a while, releasing the single “Let Them Talk.” But still, he found himself returning to The Earls afterwards along with the new recruits Bob Morico and Ronnie Calabrese. That was also the time they began playing with instruments. The “new” Earls issued singles like “If I Could Do It Over” b/w “Papa” and “It’s Been a Long Time Coming b/w “In My Lonely Room.” With their formation, they continued to perform during the 1970’s and released a disco version of The Velvets’ original “Tonight (Could Be Night)”
The Earls from the 1980’s up to present
The Earls had several personnel changes during the 1980’s. By 1983, the group composed of Chance, Ronnie Calabrese, Colon Rello, Bobby Tribuzio and Tony Obert. They issued an album called Larry Chance and the Earls — Today.
By 1989, Still with Chance and Tribbuzio, some of the members were replaced by Bob Coleman, Art Loria (formerly from The Belmonts) and T.J. Barbella. Aside from being active both on stage and studio, they also had a theater stint in the original production of A Bronx Tale. They contributed to the play’s music, including the theme song “Streets of the Bronx.” They released a couple of albums as well (Larry Chance and the Earls” (Live!) and Earl Change, and a single “Elvis: He’s Alive.” The said single received a BMI Award of Recognition of a Musical Work. This roster lasted until 1993 when Loria and Barbella left the group.
The remaining Earls — Chance, Tribuzio and Coleman continued to perform up to this day on. Being considered as the one of the pioneers of doo-wop, they were inducted on the Bronx Walk of Fame in 2008.
Art Loria, who had been in the group for 8 years in the late 80’s, died on October 23, 2010. Loria co-wrote the song “He’s Alive” which was included on Chance’s new album Larry Chance Sings Country.
The Earls’ influence on the doo-wop sound of the late 1950s and early 1960s cannot be disputed; it is part of their legacy. Their distinctive vocal harmonies and driving tempo set them apart from other doo-wop bands of the day. Their music incorporated rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and vocal harmony.
In addition to peaking at number one on the Billboard R&B chart and number two on the pop chart, one of The Earls’ biggest successes, “Get a Job,” also became a rallying cry for the young people searching for work in the 1960s during a difficult economic time. The song became a timeless classic that music lovers still appreciate today because of its entrancing melody and relevant lyrics.
It is impossible to overestimate the Earls’ impact on the doo-wop style and popular music in general. Numerous musicians have covered their songs throughout the years, and numerous doo-wop groups who came after them modeled their sound after them.
Over the years, the group has been given several accolades, including admission into the Doo-Wop Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Their presence in popular culture has been further cemented by the inclusion of their music in films, TV shows, and advertisements.
The Earls have left behind a lasting musical legacy that continues to be cherished by their audience today. Their fusion of many musical styles and distinctive sound contributed to the definition of the doo-wop genre and had a lasting impression on popular music.
Song Highlights of The Earls
- Remember Then
Tony Powers / Beverly “Ruby” Ross / Stan Vincent
- Life Is But a Dream
Raoul Cita / Hy Weiss
- My Heart’s Desire
- It’s You
- Lookin’ for My Baby
- Cross My Heart
Greg Guidry / Sonny Boy Williamson II
- Ask Anybody
- Lookin for My Baby
- Remember Me Baby
- Barry Mann / Cynthia Weil
- Little Boy and Girl
Bobby Braddock / Stan Vincent
- Don’t Forget
Shelley Dobbins / Michele Galdieri / Gino Redi
- All Through Our Teens
- I Believe
Jimmy Shirl / Al Stillman
- Ol’ Man River
Oscar Hammerstein II / Jerome Kern
- Out in the Cold Again
Bobby Bloom / Rube Bloom / Ted Koehler
- Zippity Zippity Zoom