Who was/is Lee McBee & The Passions ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
The Passions; Arranged and Conducted By Paul Swain
Just To Be With You
The Passions were the result of another of the mergers so common to New York doo-woppers. First tenor Tony Armato, second tenor Albie Galione, and baritone Vinny Acierno sang with an Italian-American group from Brooklyn called The Sinceres, while Irish-American lead tenor Jimmy Gallagher was with a rival outfit from the same borough, The Runarounds (named after The Three Chuckles hit). The threesome lured Gallagher away in the spring of 1958, spawning The Passions.
Jim Gribble, manager for The Fiestas and Mystics, took on the young pop quartet's representation and dug up a demo of a sweet ballad, Just To Be With You, sung by then-unknowns Paul Simon and Carole King. Sol Winkler pacted The Passions to his fledgling Audicon imprint, issuing their tender reading of the Marvin Kalfin-penned Just To Be With You and its sprightly flip, Oh Melancholy Me, in August of '59. That fall, Just To Be With You climbed to #69 pop, spurred by the handsome lads' appearances on 'American Bandstand' and Alan Freed's 'Big Beat' TV program. A cover version by Rudy West of the Five Keys on King went nowhere.
The Passions encored in early 1960 with the attractively upbeat violin-enriched I Only Want You, which only managed 'bubbling under' pop status on Audicon (This Is My Love sat on the flip). Acierno was replaced by Lou Rotondo, another Brooklyn denizen, for the quintet's next Audicon offering late that year, a faithful revival of The Cadillacs' spine-tingling ballad Gloria that came attached to the atmospheric Jungle Drums. Beautiful Dreamer b/w One Look Is All It Took didn't reverse their downward chart spiral either. The '61 coupling Made For Lovers b/w You Don't Love Me Anymore possessed real promise but failed to break as well.
The Passions' next two singles came out on other imprints: a muscular Lonely Road b/w One Look Is All It Took emerged on Jubilee, while Aphrodite and the rocking I Gotta Know, both penned by Stan Vincent, were paired on the tiny Octavia imprint. Even though Gallagher had enlisted in the Navy, he returned to front The Empty Seat and its flip The Bully for ABC-Paramount in 1963. That same year, The Passions bowed out with a reworking of The Crests' 16 Candles on the Diamond logo.
Various - Street Corner Symphonies Vol.11, 1959 The Complete Story Of Doo Wop
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