Soul And / Or Related Artists
the cadillacs

The Cadillacs

The Cadillacs were initially called the Carnations and were formed in 1953 in Harlem, New York, U.S.A.

The group, at various times, consisted of:

Earl Carroll (b. 2nd November 1937, New York, U.S.A. d. 25th November 2012, New York City, New York, U.S.A.)

LaVerne Drake

Bobby Phillips (d. 6th March 2011, U.S.A.)

Johnny 'Gus' Willingham

James 'Poppa' Clark

Earl Wade

Charles Brooks

J. R. Bailey (b. James Ralph Bailey, 26th February 1934, South Carolina, U.S.A., d. January 1980, New York, U.S.A.)

Roland Martinez

Bobby Spencer

Kirk Davis

Ronny Bright

Milton Love

Reggie Barnes

Curtis Williams

Ray Brewster

Irving Lee Gail

Leroy Binns

Steven Brown


James Clark

When the Cadillacs began recording, James 'Poppa' Clark was added to the original quartet of Earl Carroll (lead vocalist), Bobby Phillips, Lavern Drake (bass vocalist), and Gus Willingham.


gloria - 1954 / speedoo - 1956

They released their initial single in July 1954, for the Josie Records imprint, entitled 'Gloria' b/w 'Wonder Why'.

In 1955, Johnny Willingham and James Clark left the group and were replaced by Earl Wade and Charles Brooks.

The Fabulous CadillacsThe Crazy Cadillacs

the fabulous cadillacs - 1957 / the crazy cadillacs - 1959

Managed at the time by Esther Navarro, they released their biggest hit, 'Speedoo', (which was Earl Carroll's nickname), a song which was to feature on their debut album 'The Fabulous Cadillacs' on Jubilee Records in 1957.

Lavern Drake left the group a year earlier, and was replaced by J. R. Bailey.

In 1957, the Cadillacs fragmented into The Four Cadillacs, (with current bass J. R. Bailey, former bass Lavern Drake, and new members Roland Martinez and Bobby Spencer, who wrote the song 'My Boy Lollipop' for the artist Millie), and Earl Carroll and the Cadillacs (featuring Carroll, Wade, Brooks, and Phillips).

J.R. Bailey's version of the group featured the saxophonist Jesse 'Tex' Powell, and recorded in early 1958 as Jesse Powell and the Caddys.

Both groups recorded for the Josie Records imprint.

In 1958 the groups re-merged again.

Later in 1958, the groups combined back into one.

The Cadillacs

the cadillacs in 1959

In 1959, the Cadillacs are also featured in the movie 'Go Johnny, Go'.

By 1960 the group featured Earl Carroll, Roland Martinez, Kirk Davis, and the bass vocalist Ronnie Bright.

Twistin With The CadillacsThe Best Of

twisting with the cadillacs - 1962 / the best of the cadillacs - 1990

The Cadillacs released the album 'Twisting With The Cadillacs in 1962, and in 1963 they ended the group's collaboration with Josie Records.

The group separated later that year, with J.R. Bailey joining the Jive Five, but reformed in 1970 with J. R. Bailey, Bobby Spencer, original member Bobby Phillips and new member Leroy Binns.

For a while, the late Teddy Pendergrass performed as the groups drummer.

After the group separated again, some members joined Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, including Teddy Pendergrass as drummer.

In 1979, Earl Carroll, Earl Wade, Bobby Phillips, and Johnny Brown came together for a television commercial.

Earl Carroll later reformed the Cadillacs with Bobby Phillips, Steven Brown, Gary K. Lewis, and musical director Eddie Jones.

Steven Brown left the line-up in 2003.

Bobby Phillips died in March 2011.

Earl Carroll passed away in New York City in November 2012.

Real Player


The Fabulous Cadillacs (Jubilee Records 1957)

The Crazy Cadillacs (Jubilee Records 50's)

Twisting With The Cadillacs (Jubilee Records 1962)

The Best Of The Cadillacs (Rhino Records 1990)

top of the page

SoulwalkingStart HereThe ArtistsListen Out ForThe ChartBeen MissedRespectReal AudioOpinionNetworkJazz & FusionLinksMotown