Hello,  The Excellents were a doo-wop group from Brooklyn, New York.  They should not have been a one-hit wonder, they were that good.  The group started out as the Premiers in 1960.  Members included John Kuse-lead, Denis Kestenbaum, George Kuse (John’s brother), Phil Sanchez, Joel Feldman and Chuck Epstein.  So many people commented on their excellent sound that the group decided to use the compliment on themselves, and they became “The Excellents”.

In April of 1962 the group began getting air-play for their current record “YOU BABY YOU” on Blast Records.  The attention to “You Baby You” soon died off.  New York disc jockeys began playing the “B” side “CONEY ISLAND BABY” as their were bathing suit contests being held at the famous amusement park, Coney Island.  In the fall of 1962 “Coney Island Baby” started getting strong national airplay.  On November 24, 1962 the record entered the Billboard Hot 100 climbing the chart to #51 and staying in the Hot 100 for 9 weeks.

During the records peaking weeks The Excellents were to appear on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” in Philadelphia.  They were expected to take care of their financial arrangements, that would have been OK, but they had no finances at that point.  The group complained and they were quickly replaced by a different Excellents group.  This action by their label hurt the group and their career.

The group continued to perform into the 1990’s but their were no hit records.  Their recording of “Coney Island Baby” is not only a great record its a doo-wop classic, and this excellent group should have had a page full of hits, it just didn’t happen.  If their record label would have backed them, who knows.  What I do know is “The Excellents” did live up to their name.  Give “Coney Island Baby” a spin and hear for yourself, a great “one-hit wonder”.

Till the next time—Joe

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