OTIS WILLIAMS & THE CHARMS–“HEARTS OF STONE”–THE CLASSIC HITS

Hello,  Otis Williams and The Charms are a doo-wop group from Cincinnati, Ohio.  Members included, Otis Williams, Richard Parker, Donald Peak, Joe Penn and Rolland Bradley.  They first recorded in 1953 for Rockin’ Records a subsidiary label of King Records.  There first single was “HEAVEN ONLY KNOWS”, but it failed to chart.  In 1954 the group charted their first hit record on the DeLuxe Records label.

On October 30, 1954 The Charms first hit made its Billboard R&B chart debut.  “HEARTS OF STONE” became not only the groups first hit but a #1 R&B hit, holding the #1 spot for 9 weeks and remaining on the top R&B singles chart for 19 weeks.  The success of the single was not just on the R&B chart but “Hearts Of Stone” crossed over to the Billboard Top 100 on November 27, 1954 and became a #15 hit, remaining on the Top 100 for 15 weeks.  The single sold over one million copies and was awarded a “Gold Record”.

In January of 1955 The Charms second hit reached the charts.  “LING, TING, TONG” became a #5 R&B hit and crossed over to the pop chart where it charted at #26.  The “B” side of the single was “BAZOOM (I Need Your Lovin’)” it did not chart on the pop chart but did become a #15 R&B hit.  In March of 1955 “TWO HEARTS” entered the R&B chart and became a Top 10 hit, climbing to #8, but it did not chart on the Top 100 pop chart.  A guy by the name of Pat Boone put his cover on the Top 100 in April, it was his first hit record, charting at #16 on the Dot Records label.

The Charms toured with The Clovers, Big Joe Turner and others in 1955.  In late 1955 the group split and The Charms left Otis Williams to join Henry Stone’s new Chart Records label.  Otis Williams continued to record on DeLuxe Records, as Otis Williams and His New Group.  Their first hit entered the R&B and the Top 100 chart on the same day, January 28, 1956.  “THAT’S YOUR MISTAKE” became a #14 R&B hit and a #48 pop hit.

The next hit, had a new name on the record, the group was now called Otis Williams and His Charms.  “IVORY TOWER”-1956, became a big hit on both the R&B and the Top 100 charts.  On the R&B chart it reached #5 and on the Top 100 it was a #11 hit, remaining on the Top 100 for 21 weeks, the longest of any of the groups hits.  “Ivory Tower” became a million seller for the group and was awarded another “Gold Record”.  The song was covered by two female pop singers also in 1956.  Gale Storm had a #6 hit on Dot Records and Cathy Carr charted a #2 hit on Fraternity Records.  There would be one more R&B hit, that would be in June of 1957.  “UNITED” became a #5 hit, but did not chart on the pop chart.

Otis continued to record for DeLuxe in to the late 1950’s, but with little success.  He worked with Hank Ballard on the original version of “THE TWIST” and helped arrange “FEVER” for Little Willie John.  He was drafted in 1960 and recorded when he had Army leave.  In 1961 Otis had two Billboard Hot 100 records, “LITTLE TURTLE DOVE” charted at #95, the final Hot 100 “PANIC”, charting at #99.  He was discharged in 1962 and retired in 1963.  In 1965 he returned, recording soul music for Okeh Records, but did not chart a hit.  In the 1990’s Otis returned, touring with a new Charms group.  In 2001 Otis Williams was inducted into the United in Group Harmony Association Hall of Fame.  His music is a special part of that magic period of time we call the “Golden Era of Rock and Roll”.

Till the next time—Joe

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