Biography
Rhythm and blues vocal group the Continentals formed in Brooklyn, New York in 1955. Lead tenor Herman Montgomery, second tenor Neville Buddy Payne, baritone James Gripper, and bass James Vincent Vinny Cooper were already performing as the Condors when they lured first tenor Danny Hicks away from rival combo the Romancers -- to distinguish the new lineup from the myriad bird-named units across Brooklyn, the Condors began searching for a new moniker, finally settling on the Continentals in honor of a then-popular television series about a notorious lady killer. After building a devoted local following, the group signed to Bobby Robinson's Whirlin' Disc label in 1956, but around that same time Payne impulsively joined the Marine Corps, forcing the remaining Continentals to quickly find a replacement -- in new tenor John Peanut Jones, who previously appeared alongside Hicks in the Romancers; the revised lineup soon cut Dear Lord. Featuring Montgomery on lead and cut with an extraordinary studio group including saxophonist King Curtis, guitarist Mickey Baker, and drummer Philly Joe Jones, the single finally appeared in October of 1956 and was above all a showcase for the Continentals' remarkable harmonies -- still, despite their local popularity, Dear Lord failed to catch on, and after just one more session, 1957's Picture of Love, their recording career ground to an abrupt halt. Later that year Gripper joined the U.S. Air Force, and another erstwhile Romancer, baritone Willie Keels, took his place; the group soldiered on until early 1959, when Cooper -- the Continentals' musical director and a scholarship student at the Julliard School of Music -- suffered a massive heart attack and died at the age of just 21. Only Hicks continued his musical career, later performing with the Keynoters, the Paragons and the Fantastics. Montgomery passed away in 1999, but on June 25, 2004 a lineup consisting of Hicks, Gripper, Jones, Payne, and Payne's younger brother Ronnie reunited to performed at Howard University, in honor of the "Doo-Wop in D.C." event , marking the Continentals' first live appearance in close to a half century. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi



 
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The Continentals
Continentals 25th Anniversary Finale
The Continentals - I'm Gone
YOUNG Continentals 2017
The Continentals - Cathouse Blues
The Continentals - And there was Light - 1980
Continentals - sick and tired
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