Introduction to the Cheers
The Cheers were a short-lived American rock and roll vocal combo, one of the white rock ‘n roll groups to emerge in the 1950s. They consisted of the late Bert Convy (who would later be known as the host of Tattletales, Super Password and Win, Lose or Draw), Sue Allen and Gil Garfield. The Cheers achieved a couple of hits: “(Bazoom’) I Need Your Lovin’” and “Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots,” both written by the famed songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
The formation of the Cheers
The Cheers, however short-lived their career span was, made some distinction as one of the first white rock and roll groups ever existed in the 1950s.
The group consisted of Bert Convy (Born Bernard Whalen Convy in St. Louis, Missouri on July 23, 1933; he and his family moved to California when he was a child), Sue Allen and Gil Garfield (born in 1933). All of the members were from Los Angeles, California. Each of them was struggling as solo artists and so they joined to form a trio, the Cheers. Their two-man-one-woman lineup was quite a novelty in that era, so Capitol Records took a chance on them.
“(Bazoom) I Need Your Lovin'”
The Cheers recorded demos for the legendary songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who in turn wrote a song that would give the group their first hit. That song was titled “(Bazoom) I Need Your Lovin’.”
During the recording and production of the “(Bazzom) I Need Your Lovin’,” the track was arranged by neophyte orechestra leader Buddy Bregman (who went on to collaborate with jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald). But the result still of rock and roll.
“(Bazoom) I Need Your Lovin'” climbed to the Billboard Hot 100, eventually peaking at #15 in 1954. Before this achievement by Leiber and Stoller, they had yet to score a hit song outside the black community. The songwriting duo’s earliest hits had been sung by R&B singer Charles Brown and Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (Thornton had a hit with the original version of “Hound Dog” before Elvis Presley made it much more famous).
“(Bazoom) I Need Your Lovin'” was the first Leiber-Stoller song to be turned into a hit by an all-white act. Also, the Cheers were just one of the first white rock and rollers of that era, after the Crew Cuts and Bill Haley and the Comets.
“Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots”
After about a couple of failed singles (such as the Leiber-Stoller-penned “Whadaya Want?”), Capitol decided to shift some gears so to speak. The label replaced Bregman with the more experienced conductor/arranger Les Baxter, who had already provided Capitol a string of his own hits. Allen, who had sung lead in those failed singles, was relegated again to being a backup vocalist.
Result was their highest chart hit, “Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots” which was also written by Leiber and Stoller. It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1956.
Individual members’ post-Cheers career
After Capitol, the Cheers moved to Mercury Records and recorded a couple more singles before they dissolved in the mid-1950s.
After the Cheers, Garfield ventured into songwriting (often collaborating with Perry Botkin Jr.) before leaving showbusiness to work in real estate. Sue Allen continued her singing career, working with Ray Conniff and Mel Torme. Bert Convy had the most illustrious post-Cheers career. He went on to acting on television dramas and sitcoms but his most popular stint was being a host of several game shows such asTattletales, Super Password, Win Lose or Draw and 3rd Degree.
Convy died in Los Angeles, California in 1991, due to brain tumor. Twenty years after Convy’s death, Gil Garfield passed away, also in Los Angeles.