Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Orioles were an American R&B and doo-wop group, one of the earliest such vocal bands. Sonny Til formed the band in Baltimore with Alexander Sharp , George Nelson , Johnny Reed and Tommy Gaither and called the group The Vibra-Naires. A local shopgirl and songwriter named Deborah Chessler became the manager for the Vibra-Naires. They soon signed to It's a Natural Records and released "It's Too Soon to Know" (1948), which became a huge R&B hit and was one of the first "race" songs to cross over into mainstream markets.
1949 saw a series of singles by the Orioles, as they had become known, including "Tell Me So", "Forgive and Forget" and "(It's Gonna Be A) Lonely Christmas". Gaither died and Nelson and Reed were severely injured in a 1950 accident. Gaither was replaced by Ralph Williams and Charlie Harris joined as pianist. George Nelson left in 1953, to be replaced by Gregory Carroll , formerly of the 4 Buddies. This new line-up had several hits in the mid to late 1950s, including "Crying in the Chapel" and their final big hit, "In the Mission of St. Augustine". By 1954, Sharp and Reed had left to join The Ink Spots and Til continued performing and recording until he died in 1981. The Orioles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
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