Colorradio.com - The Aquatones
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In the Spring of 1958, an awesome ballad called "You" was blasting out on radios all throughout the US. and abroad. The Aquatones,from Long Island New York, had a smash hit on their first try. The original line up included Dave Goddard, Larry Vannata, and Gene McCarthy. Lynne Nixon was added originally to just sing the background vocals. Bob Boden played the drums, but was not with the group when they recorded for Fargo. And, they only recorded on Fargo records, owned by Lou Fargo, with one exception. They backed up Bob E. Lee on the first Wells record issue, #1, "Anna Mae." Wells was a Fargo subsidiary. The Aquatones had many releases in their career, including 78's and records pressed all over the world. Most had promotional copies, and they all had that great Aquatones sound. Also shown are some later reissue releases on various labels, and of course, several label variations. Dave Goddard is one of the rare people that saved and recorded a lot of vintage material. Some of that shows up on a history of the Aquatones CD shown near the end of this page. Also, Here is an interview
I did with Dave Goddard in 2002.
This is the first release on the promo Fargo label, #1000. "I wrote A Poem" has the Aquatones singing backup for Vinnie Monte, in January 1958. The flip side of the first Fargo label release, "Naught Naughty Baby", did not include backing by the Aquatones.
A stock copy was also issued, and is a bit tougher to find. One thing Lou Fargo seemed to be consistent about, was issuing distinct promos and stock copies.
In June of 1958, Bob E Lee (No relation) cut a record on the Wells label. It was associated with Lou Fargo, and had some other great artists that would record for him on this label including Vito and the Salutations. "Anna Mae" featured the Aquatones on back-up. "Darling I Love You" did not have the Aquatones involvement. The promotional copy is shown.
This is the stock copy on the black Wells label. This was the very first release on Wells, and used Chris Towns as conductor/arranger. He would also be credited on the Aquatones recordings.
This is the Aquatones very first recording on Fargo, "You." It was intended as the "B" side, but became the hit side. This is the promo version from 1958. The flip side of "You" called "She's The One For Me,was to be the hit. It had very good airplay in many markets before "You" was picked to be the hit.
This is the original stock first pressing of "You." Notice that the Fargo logo is clean with no distribution listed. The flip side of the first pressing is also shown. All original presses had Thick, thin, thin, thick as the line pattern in the record center.
Here is the second pressing of "You." Notice the "Distributed By Am-Par Record Corp." shown underneath the Fargo Logo. The flip side of "You" has the same characteristics mentioned to the left. Fargo didn't have the ability to distribute the record so he called in the big boys.
Of all the Aquatones records, I believe the 78's are the scarcest. The LP may show a book value that is high, but try finding the Fargo or London 78's! I don't believe Lou Fargo had any intention of releasing 78's. He didn't with Fargo 1000 and Vinnie Monte. And since the record label shows "Distributed by AM-Par Record Company", it must have been decided after the distribution deal was struck, to issue a small quantity of 78's. In 1958, the production of 78's was on the extreme downhill run. Certainly some were currently pressed then. Groups like the Crescendos, Coasters, Everly Brothers, etc were still releasing 78RPM's of their current hits. In fact 78's in the USA actually continued to be manufactured into 1960. The demand from the public was minimal, but I believe there were still a bunch of jukeboxes, especially in the south, that still required them. With all that, this is the only Fargo 78 to be released. It has it's similarities to the previously pictured 45's, but does not list 78 RPM anywhere on the label! And, there are no black lines.
This is a legitimate dark blue pressing. It is at least a second press, but I'm not sure of the complete story behind it. Could it be they ran out of the aqua blue paper? The flip side of the dark blue press, which of course, is actually the "A" side, is similar. The paper used on this press did not hold up too well, as most copies end up looking like this, or worse.
The Canadian 78 release on Sparton. Sparton was a "Shadow" label that released most of ABC's records in Canada. They only released vinyl records, they had no bands or artists. 78's were issued on Fargo, Sparton and London, but only for this first recording.
The Sparton 45 is shown. All the information is pretty much the same. Notice the reference to Fargo records in the mid left of the label. The record sold fairly well in Canada.
This is the UK 78 for "You" and "She's The One For Me." Issued on the London American series, it uses the same record number as the UK 45. Fargo is given credit just like the 45 does. Since the record was not a bonified hit in the UK, there were a small amount of 45's issued and a very limited quantity of 78's that saw the light of day.
This is the UK London label issue of the Aquatones big hit. Overseas, It did not actually chart, but it did sell enough records to make an impact. And, It was also pressed on 78.
Here is a slightly different pressing with small label variances. The Aquatones are listed with a "Vocal" Fargo is now in big capital letters, etc.
This is the black and gold Australian pressing of "You." The issue number is 1360, and includes much of the same info that the UK London issue has, but different placements. Notice that the center is intact and as many Australian pressings, it used the small hole if it didn't get punched out.
This is an interesting press. It is not the same as the boot pictured below. It appears to be a legitimate release, probably from the early 60's. Some of the later Fargo issues had the squiggly lines like the Chord R Notes, also shown below on this page. The dead wax numbers are good, and the type print on the label is consistent with what it should be. Maybe Fargo pressed up a bunch of these to coincide with the LP release? Maybe it is one of several late pressing runs that were ordered while Fargo was still in business. Either way, this is from store stock of an old record store that went out of business and came with the original Fargo sleeve.
A 1970's issue of "You." Note the squiggly lines instead of the four line pattern of the original Fargo pressings. The flip side again is the same. The printing is a different style than the originals. It might be a boot, but I'm not positive on this.
The Aquatones second release,"Say You'll be mine." A great follow up recording for the group. The distribution deal with ABC-Paramount continued on this 1958 recording. "So Fine" is the flip side of Fargo 1002. As you will notice, the Aquatones were heard on the first four out of the first five Fargo releases.
Here is the stock copy of "Say You'll Be Mine." Notice the lines pattern stays the same with this release. The song writing team of Goddard, McCarthy, and Vannata writes again! The flip of this two sider is called "So Fine." In spite of the quality and heavy distribution, it didn't sell like their previous hit "You." Too bad, because it's a great song.
Besides "You", this is the only other Aquatones original issue that I have seen in the dark blue label variation. It uses the same lower quality paper that tends to fleck away and rub or wear off. You can see more signs of that wear on my previous dark blue label of "You." The best I can tell, there were substantially less of these dark blue releases than "You." What I don't know for sure is why they used it. I thought with the Aquatones hit, they might have run out of paper and used the next available stock, ala the Penguins with Earth Angel. I think they geared up for a huge run and didn't sell as many as they thought.
Here is the Canadian Sparton release of "Say You'll Be Mine." Notice the silver half moon at the bottom of the label with ABC-Paramount listed. "So Fine" was on the flip of the Sparton release. I don't believe the silver moon at the bottom was ever on the Sparton "You" release.
This is the promo version of "The Drive In." Notice the High Fidelity notation on the middle left. Only two of their releases included it. The flip side is "Our First Kiss." The line pattern thick, thin, thin, thick continues on 1005, it skips 1015 and 1016. It returns on 1022.
"The Drive-in" was an up tempo recording, and a lot of fun. This was release number three, from 1958. "Our First Kiss" was the flip side, it is another fine ballad by the group.
This is the promo copy of the Aquatones next release, "My Treasure." Original lead Lynne Nixon, now gets label credit. The flip, "My One Desire", was another fine showing from the group in 1959. The High Fidelity continues on this release.
Here is the regular stock copy of "My Treasure" and "My One Desire." As pictured, there are absolutely no changes from the promo, except for no "sample copy" letters, and it's aqua blue,not white. This one was formerly owned by Joe, and he liked the flip side. This is the last release with "The" before Aquatones printed on label.
Record number five had a very different release number of 1111. The promo version is shown and was released in about April of 1960. "My Darling" was another nice Ballad. The flip side is a male vocal with Lynne Nixon prominent in the background. "For You, For You."
True to form, the record was issued as a stock copy to compliment the promo. When Lou Fargo "Learned the record business", he definitely followed the rules with promos and stock copies. The Light blue label is used for the next to the last time for Aquatones releases.
"There's A Long Long Trail" was release number six on Fargo by the Aquatones, from 1961. The "B" side "Every Time" rounded out a nice effort for the group. No mention of Lynne Nixon on the label this time. Shown is the first black Fargo label for the Aquatones. I have not seen a promo for this release.
Shown above is release number seven, the Heartbeats standard "Crazy For You." One of the best records issued by the Aquatones."Wanted A Solid Gold Cadillac" was the flip. Despite the misspelling of the car name, it's a fine up tempo song. Oddly, the promo version was issued on an orange label. This may have been to be more visible to the stations it was sent to. Often, the boring white promo records with black lettering, could get lost in the shuffle.
Here is the black stock copy, just like the previous 1015 issue. Both sides on this record and 1015 were arranged by Larry Vannata in 1961.
The last release was done after the fact in 1962. "Say You'll Be Mine" was originally released in 1958 on Fargo 1002. The flip of their last release "My Treasure", was originally released on Fargo 1005, in 1959. I still have not seen a promo of this release.
The Chord'R Notes include Dave Goddard on vocals and organ. The group was formed while Dave was attending college in Albany-Troy, New York. Dave called on his old friend Lou Fargo, and in 1964, he agreed to release this lone single by the group. "How Still The Night" was the "A" side flipped with the car song "Livin The Life."
This is the only Aquatones sleeve I have seen. It appears to have been issued with the 1970's pressing of "You" that is pictured earlier, which is the label with the squiggly lines. The question for me remains, "were these issued as a boot in the early 70's, or were they issued by Lou Fargo to try and cash in on the oldies revival of the time?" Most boots that were issued at that time, were of fairly rare and hard to get group and rockabilly records. It seems odd that a huge seller like "You" would need to be booted. But, that did happen on some major hit records. Both sides of the sleeve are the same.
Here is a release from Dick Plotkin's Debra Records Label. The label has issued CD's and vinyl, to a degree. The label is based in Scranton, PA, and this is release 1009. The recordings are newly released, featuring Colette Delaney. Colette does an awesome job with lead vocals on "You" and "Crazy For You." Click to view a bigger image of "You" and "Crazy For You ." This was released in 2002.
This release is on Sweet Beat records from Spain. Tracks include "She's The One For Me" (An Unreleased 1957 acetate), "For You, For You" (An Unreleased 1958 rehearsal tape), "Crazy Eyes" (1991) and "A Dreamer" (1991). Sweet Beat records is a label based in Spain, and has released several EP's and 45's of vocal group harmony. This EP by the Aquatones was issued with black or blue vinyl. The cover pictures the Aquatones singing at a wedding in 1958.
Label shots of both sides of the Sweet beat Record release.
This is the only original Aquatones LP released, and at that, was issued in 1964, somewhat after all the music had been made. A fine selection of 12 songs culled from their singles. It was not a huge seller, but Lou Fargo must have seen value in creating it and making it available. Click on the album cover for an image of the back of the album.
Above are pictures of the LP labels. The first thing you notice, is the label re-design with the lettering and the addition of the "Wells Fargo Like" carriages.
This LP was released in the 1980's by the Hackensack NJ. based Relic records. Relic was known for their great quality and comprehensive and accurate liner notes. The LP includes both sides of the early demo by the Teen Kings, and several alternate takes. Extensive liner notes are on the back side of the LP. The blue cover was the first pressing. The green cover was the second pressing for the LP. The cover is a mild greenish color, but most everything else appears to be the same. The red lettering is really the only difference. I'd love to say that the red lettering indicated red vinyl, but I also have that cover with a black vinyl issue.
These are the labels used for the LP's. Relic Records also issued the LP on red vinyl as a limited edition collectors piece. They actually pressed many of their Relic label LP's using colored vinyl, as it is a popular way to sell records!
Relic got into the CD business in the 90's. The CD on the left was issued in 1993. All the released records, alternate takes including a version of "You" and another record the Aquatones sang back-up on by Bob E Lee, are all included. On the right is the Aquatones next CD released by Debra records out of Scranton, PA. This features original member Dave Goddard. Colette Delaney sings many of the lead parts, replacing the late Aquatone lead vocalist, Lynne Nixon. For more information visit the Aquatones web site
Here are the next two CD releases from the Aquatones. The first is an amazing concept album, and has the vintage material to back it up. Basically, Dave Goddard saved many of his wonderful moments with the Aquatones on a reel to reel tape. It actually starts with material that is pre-Aquatones from their High School play in 1957. He has home recordings, demos, vintage radio interviews and more. I don't know of another group from the later 50's that has this much documentation on audio tape then Dave Goddard. The CD on the right is the official Christmas CD. They have had a couple of earlier attempts at releasing it, but this is the final mix and has the colorful booklet. They sing traditional songs as well as originals written by Dave. Many of the songs would fit in well on your local Christmas radio station playlist.
Updates: All the Aquatones 45 rpm's are shown. However,I'm attempting to collect all of the promotional and stock copies. Promos needed include 1015, 1022 if they exist. The London Australian 78 of "you" is needed, as well as a 78 of the Sparton release "Say You'll Be Mine", also if they exist.
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