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The Turbans


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There two bands with the name The Turbans.

1) An African American doo-wop group, who were formed in Philadelphia in 1953.
2) An international musical collective bringing together music from traditional near-eastern and eastern-European styles and their own compositions.

The Turbans were an African American doo-wop group, who were formed in Philadelphia in 1953. The original members were: Al Banks (lead tenor), Matthew Platt (second tenor), Charlie Williams (baritone), and Andrew “Chet” Jones (bass) and they came from Downtown Philadelphia (around Bainbridge and South Street). Herman Gillespie was their first manager.

Around Christmas 1954, they won first prize in a talent contest singing their rendition of Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters’ “White Christmas”. This created interest among the local record companies and in the late spring of 1955, they cut a demo record. Herman Gillespie took it to Al Silver and Jack Angel at Herald Records in New York. They signed a contract in July 1955, but gained a new manager, Allen Best, who worked for Shaw Artists Corporation.

In July 1955, The Turbans had their first Herald recording session and later that month their first record, pairing “Let Me Show You (Around My Heart)”, as the “A” side with “When You Dance” as the flip side was released. Although “Let Me Show You” became a regional hit in Atlanta, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Boston, and New Orleans, interest began to grow in “When You Dance”. At first it started to break in New York, Philadelphia, D.C. and Baltimore, until finally, in November, it hit the national R&B and Pop charts. “Dance” reached #3 on R&B chart and remained there for about two months.


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