The Orlons were a mixture of school friends and neighbours hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., formed in 1960.
The group comprised of:
Rosetta Hightower (b. 23rd June 1944, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
Shirley Brickley (b. 9th December 1944, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., d. 13th October 1977, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. - murdered by an intruder in her home)
Steve Caldwell (b. 22nd November 1942, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
Marlena Davis (b. Marlena Easley, 4th October 1944, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., d. 27th February 1993, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. - from lung cancer).
Formed in 1960, The Orlons are an R&B group from Philadelphia.
In the groups early incarnation, they went under the name of Audrey and The Teenettes.
In the Fifties, Rosetta, Marlena, Shirley, Jean, and Audrey Brickley, attended junior high school.
When the group played live gigs, which led to Jean and Audrey departing the group, due to their young ages.
The Teenettes became a trio.
Another student at the school, Stephen Caldwell, sang with a version of the group The Romeos.
He joined the girls group, and the group became known as the Orlons.
The singer Len Barry, suggested the group audition for the Cameo-Parkway Records imprint.
The group auditioned a few times, and were signed to the label in 1961.
Rosetta became the group’s lead singer.
The Conservative b/w Don't Hang Up - 1960 / The Wah-Watusi / Holiday Hill - 1962
The Orlons first hit came with the single ‘The Wah-Watusi’ b/w ‘Holiday Hill’.
The song reached number 2 in the U.S. pop chart.
The Orlons also performed background sessions at this time, contributing to Dee Dee Sharp's hits ‘Mashed Potato Time’ and ‘Gravy (for My Mashed Potatoes)’.
the wah-watusi - 1962 / all the hits - 1963 / south street - 1963 / down memory lane - 1964
The group covered Dee Dee’s songs for their own album called ‘The Wah-Watusi’.
A follow up single was released, entitled ’Don't Hang Up’ b/w ‘The Conservative’, which reached number 4 on the pop charts.
A final Top Ten single was released in 1963, entitled ‘South Street’ b/w ‘Those Terrible Boots’, which reached No. 3 on the pop charts.
Marlena Davis left the group in 1963, whilst Stephen Caldwell followed as well in 1964.
Sandy Person replaced Marlena.
Audrey Brickley then joined the group’s ranks.
Although their popularity waned in the U.S. the 1960’s realized some success in the U.K.
The Orlons disbanded in 1968 after Rosetta Hightower decided to remain in England.
Rosetta continued to perform as a session singer, collaborating with Joe Cocker and John Holt amongst others.
Marlena Davis married and worked as a secretary.
Stephen Caldwell became a shop steward of a bus drivers' trade union in Philadelphia.
In 1977, Shirley Brickley was shot to death by an intruder in her home in Philadelphia.
Marlena Davis lost a battle with lung cancer in 1993.
Audrey Brickley died of acute respiratory distress syndrome in 2005.
Stephen Caldwell and Jean Brickley still perform as The Orlons with Albreta Crump and Madeline Morris.
the best of the orlons - 2002
‘The Wah-Watusi’, ‘Don't Hang Up’, and ‘South Street’, all sold over one million copies, and were subsequently awarded gold discs.
The Wah-Watusi (Cameo Parkway Records 1962)
All The Hits (Cameo Parkway Records 1963)
South Street (Cameo Parkway Records 1963)
Not Me (Cameo Parkway Records 1963)
Down Memory Lane (Cameo Parkway Records 1964)