Little Anthony and the Imperials, originally, comprised of:
'Little' Anthony Gourdine (tenor - b. 8th January 1940, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.)
Ernest Wright Jnr. (second tenor - b. 24th August 1941, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.)
Clarence Collins (baritone - b. 17th March 1941, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.)
Tracy Lord (tenor)
Glouster 'Nate' Rogers (bass - b. 1940)
Little Anthony and the Imperials were formed in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A., in 1957, and were originally called the Chesters.
The Chesters featured Clarence Collins, Tracy Lord, Nathaniel Rodgers, and Ronald Ross.
'Little' Anthony Gourdine, a former member of The Duponts in 1956, joined as the lead vocalist.
The Duponts had released two singles for the Savoy and Royal Roost labels, which were 'You' b/w 'Must Be Falling In Love' and 'Prove It Tonight' b/w 'Somebody'.
the duponts in 1957
clockwise l to r: William Christopher Delk, Richard Bracey, Edward Dockerty, Jr. and Anthony Gourdine
Within the Chesters, Ernest Wright relaced Ronald Ross, and the group recorded, for a brief period, for Apollo Records, releasing 'Lift Up Your Head' b/w 'The Fires Burn No More' in 1958.
Later that year, the Chesters became the Imperials, and signed for the End Records imprint, shortly afterwards.
The 'Little Anthony' prefix was subsequently added at the suggestion of the disc jockey Alan Freed.
you b/w must be falling in love - 1956 single / tears on my pillow b/w two people world - 1958 single
'Tears On My Pillow' b/w 'Two Kinds Of People', became the first single release in 1958, and became an instant hit.
we are the imperials - 1959 / shades of the 40's - 1961
They followed up the release with 'So Much' in 1959, and 'Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop' in 1960.
'Little' Anthony Gourdine then left the group, in 1961, to pursue a solo career, rejoining the group two years later.
In 1964, The Imperials then became Clarence Collins, Ernest Wright, Sammy Strain (b. 9th December 1940), and George Kerr.
George Kerr was then replaced by Kenny Seymour after a short duration, who was subsequently replaced by Anthony Gourdine.
Probably, the best remembered line up had reached fruition in the form of Little Anthony Gourdine, Ernest Wright, Clarence Collins ,and Sammy Strain.
Under the wing of producer Teddy Randazzo, the Imperials signed with the DCP (Don Costa Productions) label.
i'm on the outside looking in - 1964 / going out of my head - 1965
Here they recorded several hit sides including, 'I'm On The Outside (Looking In)' in 1964, 'Goin' Out Of My Head', the same year, 'Hurt So Bad' (both of which reached the U.S. pop Top 10), 'I Miss You So', 'Take Me Back', all in 1965, 'Hurt' in 1966, and 'Out of Sight, Out Of Mind' in 1969.
The Imperials then relocated to United Artists Records subsidiary Veep Records.
At Veep they recorded 'World Of Darkness', 'You Better Use Your Head', 'Gonna Fix You Good' both released in 1966, 'If I Remember To Forget', 'Yesterday Has Gone', 'Help Me Find A Way (To Say I Love You)'.
The latter song was a Thom Bell production.
payin' our dues - 1967 / reflections - 1967
movie grabbers - 1968 / out of sight, out of mind - 1969
The Imperials released several albums to accompany the 45's, which included 'Reflections', 'Payin' Our Dues', 'Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind', and 'Movie Grabbers'.
The group signed to the Janus imprint for a period, before signing to ATCO in the early seventies.
Ernest Wright left the group in 1971 to join the Platters.
Sammy Strain then replaced William Powell in the O'Jays in 1972.
on a new street - 1973 (front and rear cover)
In 1973 they released 'On A New Street', and reached the R & B charts with the songs 'La La La (At the End)', and 'I'm Falling In Love With You', with half of the album produced by Teddy Randazzo, the second side by Thom Bell.
A second LP for Avco Records entitled 'Hold On' was scheduled for release, but never saw the light of day.
In 1977, Clarence Collins formed his own version of the 'lmperials', touring Britain that year, after signing to the Power Exchange imprint.
who's gonna love me? - 1977 / daylight - 1980
The line up re-recorded 'Better Use Your Head', and released a dance track entitled 'Who's Gonna Love Me', with an album of the same name being released (featuring the popular 'Do What I Gotta Do').
In 1980, Anthony Gourdine released 'Daylight' on the gospel imprint Songbird.
Clarence Collins left in the group in 1988, and was replaced by Sherman James.
By 2002, the group were performing acapella versions of their older material.
The group toured up until Sammy Strain retired in 2004, and Harold Jenkins returned to the fold to take his place.
live: up close and personal - 2003 / you'll never know - 2008
Little Anthony & The Imperials released a new LP in 2008 entitled, 'You'll Never Know'.
The group was announced as inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the 14th of January 2009.
They were inducted on the 4th of April 2009.
as Little Anthony and the Imperials:
We Are Little Anthony And The Imperials (End Records 1959)
Shades Of The 40's (End Records 1961)
I'm On The Outside Looking In (DCP Records 1964)
Going Out Of My Head (DCP Records 1965)
Paying Our Dues (Veep Records 1967)
Reflections (Veep Records 1967)
Movie Grabbers (Veep Records 1968)
Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind (United Artists Records 1969)
On A New Street (Avco Records 1973)
Hold On (Atco Records 1975) unreleased
as the Imperials:
Who's Gonna Love You (Power Exchange Records 1977)
as Little Anthony:
Daylight (Songbird Records 1980)
as Little Anthony and the Imperials:
Pure Acapella (Acme Records 2002)
Little Anthony & The Imperials-Live: Up Close & Personal (Acme Records 2003)
You'll Never Know (Imperials Plus Records 2008)