The Gladiolas were formed in Lancaster, South Carolina by piano player/lead singer/songwriter Maurice Williams. They were originally called the Royal Charms. The original members were Maurice Williams, Willie Jones, Earl Gainey, William Massey and Norman Wade. After winning a talent contest in Lancaster they began to perform at various locations along the eastern seaboard.
They changed their name to The Gladiolas and recorded a song in Nashville Tn on Excello label that Maurice Williams had written called "Little Darlin'" and it made the top 50. Soon thereafter a white Canadian group called The Diamonds recorded a cover version and it shot to number two on the charts in early 1957. The gladiolas then changed their name to The Excellos. Little Darlin' is perhaps one of the best R&B, Doo-wop songs of all time and still gets lots of airplay to this day.
They changed their name again in 1959 to the Zodiacs. A year later the group reformed and the new lineup included Maurice Williams, Wiley Bennet, Charlies Thomas, Little Willie Morrow, Albert Hill and Henry Gaston. They then became Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs and and recored a song that Williams had written titled "Stay". It climbed to number one in late 1960 and claiming the title as the shortest recording ever to go to the top.
BOPPER BOB HENNESSEY
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