The Music Of The 60s

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(Dallas Frazier)

Madison 130

No. 15    July 4, 1960




Dante & The Evergreens’ cover  version of  a number originally created by  THE  HOLLYWOOD

ARGYLES was the most sanitized of the three chartings of the tune–the least successful version was by

the Dyna­sores; a studio group containing H.B. BARNUM and Jimmy Norman, the later of  “I Don’t

Need You No More”  note.   Production was handled by a studio musician and an insurance  salesman,

Herb Alpert and Lou Adler respectively–both were just starting their careers in the music business,

managing and producing JAN & ARNIE.

“We used to sing in the johns with Jan And Dean,” said Dante Drowty to Gary Myers, author of Do You

Hear The Beat.  “We all grew up together.  Actually, we got our break from Jan and Dean.  Dean

Torrence introduced us to Herb Alpert and Lou Adler.  At the time they were managing Sam Cooke and

producing records for him and this great group, the Untouchables [reportedly, then with BILLY

STORM as a member].


Lead vocalist Dante Drowty’ s (b. Donald Drowty, Oct. 5, 1939, Chesterton, Indiana) family had moved

to Santa Monica, CA in 1956.  It was while attending University High and later Santa Monica High that

he met the rest of the Evergreens–first tenor Tony Joe Moon (b. September 21, 1941, New York City),

bass Frank “Frankie” Rosenthal (b. November 12, 1941, Flushing, NY), and second tenor Bill Young (b.

May 25, 1942, Santa Monica, CA).


No one is denying the existence of the LA Evergreens, but Alpert has claimed that the “group” heard on

“Alley Oop”–though none of the follow up recordings–is not Dante and peers, but himself, Adler and

some out of work studio singers.   Adler  has proudly proclaimed that “Alley Oop” was cut in one day,

pressed the next and received airplay on “American Bandstand” the following.


Dante concurs with the latter boast.  “Herb and Lou called us on a Tuesday night and wanted to know

if we wanted to make a record the next night,” said Drowty. “We made ‘Alley Oop’ ona Wednesday and

were on the ‘Dick Clark Show’ in eight or nine days.”


No one could of figured it, but largely due to this one-off creation the phenomenially successfulA&M

Records was born.  Alpert and  Moss, the label’s co-founders–joined forces for the first timewhen as the

Diddley Oops they recorded  “Hooray For The Big Slow Train,”  a blatant effort toJump on the short-

lived “Alley Oop” fad.


Dante & The Evergreens toured frantically–with stops  on the “Buddy Deane Show,” hops forWINK

MARTINDALE, even the Apollo Theatre.  “We came back from our first tour so broke,”said Drowty.

“Herb [Alpert] sold me his ’52 Pontiac for $50…”


A few–way  too few-equally fine or better 45s followed “AIIey-Oop” in 1960–Howard Greenfiledand

BARRY MANN’s “Time Machine” (#73) and “What Are You Doing New  Year’s Eve?” b/w”Yeah Baby”

stirred some  interest;  “Da Doo” was put out without notice, as Madison Records

shutdown it’s operation.   By years end–and the release of   one highly sought-after LP–Dante & the

Evergreens call it quits.


For the next few years, Dante continued to record [[at a feverish pace, cutting singles forImperial,

Mercury, Decca, and Tide.]] some sides  for  Imperial.  Some  of these featuredhis own name, and some

were credited to “Dante &  His Friends.”  In 1965, Dante Drowtyrecorded a single as the Emerald City

Bandits;  returning the following  year to Herb Alpertand A & M Records to wail his final outing, a

remake of the Cadillacs’ foo-wop classic “Speedo.”


In the   mid’60s, Tony Joe Moon went on to work as lead guitarist and conductor for Brenda Lee’s band;

writing such tunes as “The Water’s Too Rough Tonight” and “More Than A BedroomThing.”


Drowty went on to become a teacher in Japan, New Mertico, Arizona and is involved in charitywork for

abused and disabled children through his American Music Project.  A two-record EP, with eight cuts,

had been available through the Don Drowty Youth Foundation, PO Box: 878, Paradise, CA 95969.

Proceeds will go to help visually disable  children.


“It was kind of a Cinderella story.   I had no idea how to  save money.  But when I tell someoneI sang

‘Alley Oop,”‘ said Drowty, “it gets me through the door…and I get to help children.”