Hi, The Orlons were one of the premier vocal group of the early 1960′s. The R&B vocal group is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Members included, Rosetta Hightower-lead vocals, Marlena Davis, Steve Caldwell and Shirley Brickley. Davis and Caldwell left in 1964 they were replaced by Audrey Brickley. Before they became The Orlons, they were an all-girl quintet called Audrey and the Teenettes. In high school, they found fellow student Stephen Caldwell, he was lead singer of a local group called the Romeos. They invited him to join the group and changed their name to The Orlons.
Before hitting it big on their own the group provided back-up vocals for Dee Dee Sharp’s hits “Mashed Potato Time” and “Gravy”. On June 9, 1962 they charted their first Billboard Hot 100 hit, “THE WAH WATUSI” on Cameo Records. Their hit record peaked at #2 and remained at #2 for two weeks. Their first hit record was also the groups first million seller and was awarded a “Gold Record”. Their follow-up record entered the chart on October 13, 1962, “DON’T HANG UP” was a huge success on climbed the Hot 100 to #4 and became the groups second million seller. The Orlons first record of 1963 was “SOUTH STREET”, charting in February it became the #3 record in the nation and the third million seller for the group.
In June of 1963 another hit record by The Orlons was on the Hot 100. “NOT ME” just missed the Top 10, reaching #12. In September another Top 20 hit, “CROSS FIRE!” began its run up the chart to #19. The group would continue to put records on the Hot 100 through February of 1965 but would not have another Top 40 hit. There were changes in the line up in 1963 and 1964. The Orlons continued to perform into the late 1960′s. They disbanded in 1968. Rosetta Hightower still has a successful career as a soloist.
Shirley Brickley was shot to death in 1977 at the age of 32. Marlena Davis died after a battle with lung cancer in 1993 at the age of 48. Audrey Brickley died in 2005 at the age of 58. Steve Caldwell and Jean Brickley still perform as The Orlons. In three years The Orlons placed 9 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. They were one of the big acts on Cameo/Parkway Records and one very good group from the “Golden Era of Rock and Roll”.
Till the next time—Joe