Billy And The Essentials
Billy And The Essentials
@billy-and-the-essentials
 

Billy and the Essentials started when Pete Torres heard a singer he thought sounded like Frankie Lymon in the schoolyard of Shaw Junior High School in Philadelphia.  Torres recalled, “I stood and listened in awe. Later on when he was alone, I asked him to join my group, and he did.” That was the beginning of Billy and the Essentials.

Billy and the Essentials consisted of Billy Carlucci, backed by Pete Torres (falsetto), Phil D’Anonio (baritone), Mike Lenihan (first tenor), and Johnny Caulfield (second tenor). They were originally Billy and the Crystals, but realized there were too many Crystals out there already. Billy perused the dictionary until he came across the adjective that became a noun for Billy and the Essentials.

Billy first met his eventual producer Johnny Madara at the ice-skating rink, the Arena, next to the American Bandstand studio at 46th and Market Streets in West Philadelphia. Billy recalled, “Actually I wanted to be a professional figure skater. I was skating at the old Philadelphia Arena and one day there were a bunch of guys singing in the bathroom. I joined in. One of the guys was John Madara who we knew wrote and produced for Danny & the Juniors. Madara liked my voice and encouraged me to stick around.”

Billy and the Essentials had their first session at Bell Sound in New York on January 4, 1962. Their first single, “The Dance is Over” b/w “Steady Girl” (Landa 691) was released on June 6, 1962. They was first billed as Little Billy and the Essentials and graduated to Billy & the Essentials for the Jamie release (Jamie 1239) later that year, of “Maybe You’ll Be There” b/w “Over the Weekend.” That was cut on October 19, 1962, again in New York, and came out on October 29, 1962. Madara and his partner Dave White cut Billy and the Essentials as the first group they worked with after Danny & the Juniors as staff producers for Jamie Records. After Jamie Records, Billy and the Essentials recorded for Smash, Mercury and SS International Records.

 

 

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