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The Clovers


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There are multiple groups by this name.

The group formed in 1946 at Armstrong High School in Washington, D.C., with members Harold Lucas, Billy Shelton, and Thomas Woods. John “Buddy” Bailey was added soon after, and they began calling themselves the “Four Clovers”, with Bailey on lead. In perfecting their sound, the group pushed Shelton and Woods out in 1948, and brought in Matthew McQuarter and Harold Winley.

Their break came in 1950, when they were introduced to Lou Krefetz, who became their manager. They signed to New York’s Rainbow Records and released two singles, “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby” and “When You Come Back To Me”. Soon after, Krefetz brought them to Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun, and they were signed to Atlantic in 1951. At this point, Bill Harris was added as their guitarist. Their first appearance came in February of that year at the Apollo Theater.

Their very first Atlantic session produced their first big hit, “Don’t You Know I Love You”, which hit #1 on the national charts in June of 1951. “One Mint Julep” (written by Rudy Toombs) and “Fool Fool Fool” also went #1 in September. Bailey was drafted in 1952, and John Phillip was brought in to replace him. He stayed for just a few months, before leaving and being replaced by Charlie White, who had been in the Dominoes and the Checkers.


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