VITO AND THE SALUTATIONS–“UNCHAINED MELODY”

Hello,  Vito & The Salutations are a doo-wop group from Brooklyn, New York.  Members included Vito Balsamo-lead vocals, Bob De Pallo, Barry Solomon, and Bobby Mitchell.  The group became know for reviving standards in a way that made them sound totally different from the original versions.  In 1962 they recorded their version of  GLORIA  with  LET’S UNTWIST THE TWIST on the “B” side.  The record was recorded for the Rayna Records label, a small New York label that had very little distribution outside of New York.   The groups record was very popular in the New York area, but did not chart nationally.  Vito & The Salutations became disenchanted with the label and decided to move on.  Group members, De Pallo, Solomon and Mitchell departed.

In 1963 they became recording artists for Al Silver’s, Herald Records, a label that was strong among independent labels.  That line-up included, Vito Balsamo, Randy Silverman, Shelly Buchansky, Lenny Citrin and Frankie Fox.  They decided to rearrange the standard  UNCHAINED MELODY with  HEY HEY BABY as the “B” side.  The single made its Billboard Hot 100 debut on October 26, 1963.  Their uptempo version of  UNCHAINED MELODY became a #66 hit on the Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 6 weeks.  What really happened was that the group became part of doo-wop folk-lore with a song that is a staple in the doo-wop genre.  Vito & The Salutations charted a little higher on the Cash Box music chart at #60 and became a Top 10 hit in many cities across the country.

Vito & The Salutations remained a group from 1961-1965 and had a reunion in 1971.  Following the success of  UNCHAINED MELODY they released a number of single records on various record labels, but none of them charted.  Vito Balsamo also performed with other groups including, the DelVons and The Kelloggs.  The groups doo-wop version of  UNCHAINED MELODY has been included in several movies…including the 1990 film  “Goodfellas”.

An innovative style gave them their trademark sound and even though the group had no major hit records that sound was theirs, one that was hard to duplicate…Their classic version of  UNCHAINED MELODY is pure doo-wop gold and a  unique sound from the “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll”.

Till the next time—Joe

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