One of the most popular vocal groups of the mid-twentieth century, the Ames Brothers — born Ed (lead), Vic (first tenor), Gene (second tenor), and Joe (bass) Urick in Malden, Massachusetts, the oldest of nine children, between 1921 and 1927 — began performing as the Amory Brothers, earning rave reviews at local venues such as Boston’s Franklin Field (a semi-pro baseball park!) and The Fox and Hounds nightclub, eventually landing in New York City. They signed to Decca, though a handful of singles they cut for the label were never released, due to the Musician Union bans of 1948. In 1950, now signed to Coral, the brothers released their first #1 single, “Rag Mop”; the follow-up single, “Sentimental Me”, also topped the charts. All told, 49 of their singles reached the U.S. charts, including their biggest hit, 1953’s “You, You, You”. Billboard magazine named them the Best Vocal Group of 1958.
At the peak of their popularity, the brothers performed on several early television shows, including Arthur Godfrey and Friends, Ed Sullivan’s Talk of the Town, and their own The Ames Brothers Show, a fifteen-minute vehicle that was the first syndicated program in television history. The public’s taste for vocal groups waned as the 1950s ended, and the Ames Brothers broke up in 1959, though Ed remained in television and starred as Daniel Boone’s sidekick “Mingo” on the mid-’60s television show Daniel Boone.
The Ames Brothers were deservedly enshrined in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.
(by Stephen Haag)
Published on September 4, 2012