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Clio Express: Talking Music - The Moonglows

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The Moonglows were among the most important R&B groups of the 1950s, despite the fact that they only had a handful of hits among fewer than 50 recorded songs, in a history that lasted just six years, in sharp contrast to such acts as the Orioles and the Drifters, who were together across decades and recorded huge bodies of work.

Chicago-born Harvey Fuqua (born July 27, 1928) was part of a musical family virtually from birth, as the nephew of Ink Spots guitarist Charlie Fuqua, and before he was in his teens was aiming for a career of his own in music. He grew up in Louisville, KY, where he learned the piano and also began singing with his high school classmate Bobby Lister (born January 13, 1930; died October 15, 1980) at dances. They formed a professional duo in Louisville during 1949, after both finished brief periods of serving in the military, and were soon working with saxman and bandleader Ed Wiley, and it was in his group that they started singing jump and blues. Eventually a lack of earnings led them to split up, with Fuqua moving to Cleveland, where he crossed paths with an army buddy, Danny Coggins, and a neighbor of his, Printiss Barnes (born April 25, 1925), who'd previously been a gospel singer, and formed a trio.

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