Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Neil Levenson)

Rust 5059

No. 10    August 24, 1963




Initially the 12 year-old Safuto brothers, Dominick (lead) and Frank (first tenor), along with cousin Eddie

Scalia and Rosalie Calindo, were The Dialtones, responsible for the collectible cut, “Till I Hear It From

You,” issued on George Goldner’s Goldisc.    Later, while attending classes at Grover Cleveland High, the

Safuto brothers, Dominick and Frank met the Zero brothers, Mike (baritone) and Sal (second tenor), and

their singing buddy Ken Arcipowski (bass).    In 1962, with the addition of the Safuto’s, the fivesome from

the Maspeth section of Queens became Junior & The Counts.


After six months of practice, they secured Fran Carrarie as their manager.       Fran was friends with Neil

Levenson, an aspiring songwriter who gave Randy (Dominick) & The Rainbows one of his tunes–Denise”

and hooked them up with Bright Tunes productions, the creative front for the Tokens, known world-wide

for  “The lion sleeps Tonight,” who produced the track and approached the Scwartz brothers, Bob and

Gene, owners of Laurie/Rust Records.


“I don’t know how it happened, but the Tokens came back to us and said you guys are now Randy & The

Rainbows,” said Mike Zero in an exclusive interview.  “We hated the name.  We were kids…  They insisted.”

The rest is history–and unfortunately for vocal-group fans, so was the group of excited 16 year-olds; as a

chartmaking act.    The Hullaballoos, Jay & the Americans, Jerry Lee Lewis recorded future songs by

Levenson; though none charted.   And try as they did, Randy & The Rainbows could never again equal

the phenomenal success of their debut single.


The follow-up was “Why Do Kids Grow Up?.”     “There was confusion,” said Zero.   “A lot of things were

going on.    We rehearsed it a certain way and it never seemed to come off right.    It took too long to get it

out.   ‘Denise’ was already coming off the charts; and it wasn’t ready yet.   It came out just before President

Kennedy was killed.    That and the change in music.    The Beatles were starting to happen.”


“There was foot-dragging,”  added Vinnie Corella, a later member of the Rainbows.   “The record company

was at odds with the Tokens [the acts producers].     As a follow-up, the company was looking for something

different.    It took a while for the company, the producers and the group to get in sync.   Too much time



“Initial record sales were such that, for a moment, it looked like it was going to be a bigger hit than

‘Denise,”‘ said  Zero.


“By the first of the year [1964], Neil [Levenson] was presenting us with tunes that had that British flavor,”

added Corello.    “Except for the Beach Boys, Four Seasons and Motown acts, it was getting really hard for

any American act to get a break.”


“Happy Teenager,” a retake on THE ELEGANTS’ “Little Star”  and “Joy Ride” followed–none gave in to the

sound of the future.     “These were, for the time, high tech records,” said  Zero.     “We didn’t lean towards

the Beatie sound, but the sound wasn’t dated.   They were fat-sounding, dense records.     It wasn’t doo-wop

either that we were doing.     We were on the cusp of a sound that could have happened.”


The Rainbows  remained active and continued to record sporadically for Eddie Matthews’ Mike label–

“Lovely Lies” and  “Bonnie’s Part Of Town”–and in 1967 the entack group recorded “I’ll Be Seeing You” for

the Tokens’ B. T. Puppy company.


Kenny left the Rainbows in 1968; Sal in ’69.    Thereafter, the Safuto brothers and Mike Zero with the

addition of Vinny Corella–who had recorded a pair of platters with his group Triangle for Paramount,

in 1972–performed continuously as Randy & the Rainbows and as Madison Street.     Under the latter

moniker, they recorded a pair of 45s–“Minstrel Man” and “Simple Love Song”–for Millenium by 1978.

“In retrospect,” said Zero, “we should have remained with the Rainbow name, rather than Madison Street.

Both of those disks made Billboard’s “Adult Contemporary” charts.    It was the Rainbows who recorded

them and there are people who want to get everything that we made that don’t know that Madison Street

is us.”

In a continuing effort to contemporize and make their music acceptable to a mass audience, Mike and the

Safuto brothers worked the clubs as the hard rock outfit Them and Us.   In 1978, the group Blondie had its

first British chart success with “Denis,” a sex-changed remake of “Denise.”    When the Rainbows played

New york’s Mudd Club later that year, Harry appeared asking for an autograph from the group.


In 1979, for Infinity, still as Madison Street, they recorded a disco thing, “Hey, Look Whose Dancin”‘–as

a 45 and 12″-­-with Horace Hart, producer for the Village People; John Benitez,  “JELLYBEAN,” as “disco



With the formation of Marty Pekar’s Ambient Sound Records in 1982, Mike, Vinnie and the Safuto

brothers returned to the studios as Randy & The Rainbows.       Prior to the release of their first-ever LP,

as merely “the Rainbows,” the group had a Four Seasons medley disk issued by Fox-Moor. C’Mon Lets

Go, a brand new album of   greased neo-doo-wop, with “Try The Impossible,” was issued by Ambient

Sound, followed two years later by “Remember (Walking In The Sand)” and yet another package of

harmony heaven, Remember.


“We played in Washington D.C., the Inaugural Balls for Reagan and Bush, the Bottom Line, Little Darlin’s,

the Copa Cabana, the Rock’n’ Roll Palace, Meadowlands…     We didn’t just disappear,” Zero said.    “And

we haven’t been just sittin’ on our hands, all these years.     We’re talking about something we love, as

much as life.”


Rainbow  Records issued Silver And Gold in 1994, complete with new recordings produced by KOKOMO,

Jimmy Wisner.


In the spring of 1990, group dissension split the act into two contingents, reportedly both are claiming

the name Randy & The Rainbows.

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