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Biography

The Hilltoppers were an American popular music singing group with a series of hits; "Tryin", "PS I Love You", "I'd Rather Die Young", "To Be Alone", "Love Walked In", "From the Vine Came the Grape" and "Till Then", all top 10s, making The Hilltoppers one of the top US vocal groups of the 1950s.

Originally the group was a trio formed at Western Kentucky State College (now Western Kentucky University), Bowling Green, Kentucky. The original members were three students; Jimmy Sacca (born July 26, 1929, Lockport, New York, died March 7, 2015, in Lexington, Kentucky); Donald McGuire (born October 7, 1931, Hazard, Kentucky, died September 7, 2018, in Lexington, Kentucky); and Seymour Spiegelman (October 1, 1930 – February 13, 1987). Spiegelman was born in Seneca Falls, New York. They took their name from the nickname of the Western Kentucky athletic teams.

They later added a pianist, Billy Vaughn (April 12, 1919 – September 26, 1991). Vaughn was born in Glasgow, Kentucky. Vaughn was eventually to become famous in his own right as an orchestra leader.

In 1952 they recorded a song, "Trying", written by Vaughn. A local disc jockey sent a copy to Randy Wood at Dot, and he agreed to distribute the record. It became a Top 10 hit single. They went on to record a number of additional hits until their break-up. Their 1953 release, "P.S. I Love You," sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

Spiegelman died in New York City, NY. Vaughn died in Escondido, California. Sacca and McGuire both died in Lexington, Kentucky.

Hit records
Year Title Chart positions US CB UK
1952 "Trying" 7 5 —
1953 "Must I Cry Again" 15 22 —
"I Keep Telling Myself" 26 39 —
"If I Were King" 22 26 —
"I'd Rather Die Young (Than Grow Old without You)" 8 12 —
"P.S. I Love You" 4 5 —
"Love Walked In" 8 11 —
"To Be Alone" 8 14 —
1954 "'Till Then" 10 7 —
"Alone"(Jimmy Sacca, solo) — 28 —
"From the Vine Came the Grape" 8 3 —
"Time Will Tell" 27 38 —
"Poor Butterfly" 12 14 —
"Wrapped Up In a Dream" — 37 —
"Sweetheart (Will You Remember" 24 25 —
"If I Didn't Care" 17 18 —
"Time Waits for No One" 25 26 —
1955 "D-A-R-L-I-N'" — 16 —
"The Door Is Still Open to My Heart" — 22 —
"The Kentuckian Song" 20 22 —
"Only You (And You Alone)" 8 3 3
"Searching" 81 43 —
"My Treasure" 31 37 —
1956 "Ka-Ding-Dong" 38 17 —
"Tryin'" — — 30
1957 "Marianne" 3 2 20
"I Love My Girl" 75 45 —
"I'm Serious" 74 — —
"A Fallen Star" 58 24 —
"The Joker (That's What They Call Me)" 22 20 —

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