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Biography

There are currently at least three bands charting as The Crows (none of which are to be confused with Crows or Crowes):

1) The Crows were an American , group who achieved commercial success in the 1950s. The group's first single and only major hit, "Gee", released in June 1953, has been credited with being the first rock n’ roll hit by a rock and roll group. It peaked at position #14 and #2, respectively, on the Billboard magazine pop and rhythm-and-blues charts in 1954.

When The Crows started out in 1951, practicing sidewalk harmonies, the original members were Daniel "Sonny" Norton (lead), William "Bill" Davis (baritone), Harold Major (tenor), Jerry Wittick (tenor), and Gerald Hamilton (bass). In 1952, Wittick left the group and was replaced by Mark Jackson (tenor and guitarist).

They were discovered at Apollo Theater's Wednesday night talent show by talent agent Cliff Martinez and brought to independent producer George Goldner who had just set up the tiny new Rama Records label. The Crows were the first group signed and the first to record. The first songs they recorded were as backup to singer Viola Watkins. The song "Gee" was the third song recorded during their first recording session, on February 10, 1953. It was put together in a few minutes by group member William Davis, with Watkins also being credited as cowriter.
The song was first released as the B-side of a ballad, "I Love You So". However, radio stations began turning it over and playing "Gee," first in Philadelphia and later in New York and Los Angeles. By January 1954 it had sold 100,000 copies, and by April it entered the national R&B and pop charts, rising to #2 R&B and #14 pop. The song was a huge hit a year after it was recorded.

The Crows were a one-hit wonder. While "Gee" was on the charts, the record company released a number of other singles by the group, including "Heartbreaker," "Baby," and "Miss You," but none were successful. Their failures and the inability to perform regularly to support their recordings led to the breakup of the group a few months after "Gee" dropped off the Hit Parade. They maintained the original line up for the entire career of the group, with no hope for a reunion following the deaths of Gerald Hamilton in the 1960s and Daniel Norton in 1972.

2) The Crows were a short lived band that released one LP (The Crows) on the highly influential (in noise rock circles) Amphetamine Reptile Records label in 1994. In keeping with that label's other products, the Crows can be loosely classified as a noise rock band. Their own particular sound, however, tended not be an unorganized mass of noise, but was instead more succinct and twangy in a way that calls to mind a rockabilly band testing the boundaries of their genre. They liked to create space in their songs, and were rarely in a hurry. Their singer had a tendency to growl his lyrics, but not in the manner of singers of hardcore bands. These growls were more akin to the guttural noises one would expect from a 300 lbs., bearded lumberjack sitting down for a steak dinner with a red and white checkered napkin tucked into his collar. "mmmmmMMMMMM!" Tom Waits comes to mind in particular.

3) The Crows was an obscure band from Belgium lead by frontman 'Zip Wookee'. The four-piece band produced their long single, "Don't Play Around" (b-side: "Irina"), in 1980.

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