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The Flamingos

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The Flamingos are a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted doo wop group from the United States, most popular in the mid to late 1950s and best known for their 1959 cover version of “I Only Have Eyes for You”. Billboard magazine wrote The Flamingos are universally hailed as one of the finest and most influential vocal groups in pop music history; their music being defined as elegant and sophisticated.

Jacob Carey (Jake) and Ezekial Carey (Zeke), bass and 2nd tenor, respectively, formed the group in Chicago, Illinois, after meeting cousins baritone Paul Wilson and first tenor John E. “Johnny” Carter at a Hebrew Israelite congregation. Earl Lewis (not the Channels lead) soon joined, and after a series of name changes, (The Swallows, El Flamingos, The Five Flamingos), wound up being known as The Flamingos. Sollie McElroy soon replaced Lewis (who joined The Five Echoes). The Flamingos’ first single (for Chance Records), “If I Can’t Have You”, was a moderate local success, as was the follow-up “That’s My Desire”, but it was Johnny Carter’s composition of “Golden Teardrops,” with its complex vocal harmonies and Carter’s soaring falsetto, that cemented their reputation as a top regional act of the day.
The Flamingos left Chance Records sometime after their December 1953 session and signed with DJ Al Benson’s Parrot Records.

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