Hello, The Jaguars formed on the campus of Los Angeles’ Freemont High. The school was home to some of the finest doo-wop groups, including the Dootones, Calvanes, Meadowlarks, Medallions and The Penguins. The Jaguars were one of the first integrated vocal groups of the 1950s. Members included, Herman “Sonny” Chaney-lead, Charles Middleton, Valerio “Val” Polluto and Manuel “Manny” Chavez. They were originally called the Miracles, one of the first groups to use that name. In 1955 they changed their name to The Jaguars and recorded some sides for Ardl Records. Although none of the sides charted, WHY DON’T YOU BELIEVE ME from November of 1955 was reviewed by Billboard magazine. The group went back to search for a new song to record that would show off their fine vocals.
The Jaguars found that song from a 1936 Fred Astaire hit THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT. Released in mid-1956, the record received a lot of radio play and was the groups biggest seller. The groups record label Ardl changed its name to R-Dell Records, but lack of good distribution resulted in the single not charting on any of the national charts. The record would be re-released on other labels each time with a slight change in sound. The Lettermen would have a huge hit with this recording in 1961 with their version of THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT on Capitol Records climbing to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1957 The Jaguars moved to Ebb Records and cut the single HOLD ME TIGHT, but it did not chart. In 1959 they moved to Art Laboe’s Original Sound label and recorded THINKING OF YOU, the single did not chart. In 1961 they changed their name to the T-Birds on Chess Records. Their original recording of THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT was getting national recognition as it was part of Art Laboe’s first “Oldies But Goodies” album. The album remained on the charts for over 3 years and The Jaguars were finally getting Top 40 play by the disc jockeys on THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT.
The Jaguars continued to record during the 1960s and then in 1966 after failing to have another hit record, they disbanded. The Jaguars doo-wop hit recording of THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT can be heard on oldies radio stations across the country and their great recording is a reminder of the fabulous music that once filled the air-waves, in the “GOLDEN ERA OF ROCK AND ROLL”.
CLICK THE TITLE BELOW TO LISTEN TO…THE JAGUARS SING THEIR DOO-WOP CLASSIC…”THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT”
Till the next time—Joe