Hello, The Velvets are a doo-wop group from Odessa, Texas. The group was formed in 1959 by Virgin Johnson, a high school teacher, with four of his students, Will Solomon, Mark Prince, Clarence Rigsby and Bob Thursby. The legendary Roy Orbison heard the group perform, they were signed to Monument Records in 1960. Their first record was THAT LUCKY OLD SUN, but it did not chart on any of the national record charts.
On May 29, 1961 The Velvets charted their biggest hit, TONIGHT (COULD BE THE NIGHT). The single climbed the Billboard Hot 100, to #26 and remained on the chart for 9 weeks. Virgil Johnson is the lead singer, he also wrote the lyrics. Their follow-up record charted on October 9, 1961 but did not have the success of TONIGHT (COULD BE THE NIGHT). LAUGH charted at #90 and was on the Hot 100 for just 1 week. It would be The Velvets last Hot 100 hit record.
THAT LUCKY OLD SUN charted at #46 and TONIGHT (COULD BE THE NIGHT) charted at #50 on the UK Singles chart in 1961. The Velvets only other charting record was in August of 1962. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL did not reach the Hot 100 but did chart on the Bubbling Under The Hot 100, at #102. After their other singles failed to chart the group disbanded in 1966.
Clarence Rigsby died in a car accident in 1978 at the age of 31. Virgil Johnson sometimes appears in oldies concerts. The Velvets wonderful recording of TONIGHT (COULD BE THE NIGHT) is a favorite on oldies and doo-wop radio stations. Its big sound and a great vocal performance by The Velvets sound as good today as when it was a big hit in the “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll”
Till the next time—Joe