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Episode #694 – Five Keys, Pt. 2 – 1954-57

Air Week: August 21-27, 2023

Five Keys, Pt. 2 – 1954-57

The Five Keys were undoubtedly one of the finest vocal groups of both the R&B and Rock n’ Roll eras. They didn’t score as many hits as say the Dominoes or the Clovers, but like The Orioles and The Ravens before them, they were highly influential to other vocal groups of the day. This week, in part 2 of our 2 part feature, we’ll focus on the 2nd half of the Five Keys’ career. They signed with Capitol Records at the end of 1954 and had a smash hit right out of the gate with “Ling Ting Tong,” which was also their first crossover into the pop market. More Keys’ classics followed with “Close Your Eyes,” “The Verdict,” “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind,” “Wisdom Of A Fool” and many more. The Capitol Recordings still feature tenors Rudy West and Maryland Pierce, but the musical arrangements are much fuller, refined and pop oriented as was the material. As the ’50s progressed, The Five Keys stopped scoring R&B hits and began to only chart in the lower regions of the Pop Lists. By mid-1957, the hits had stopped and the group was falling a part, but up to that point, The Five Keys proved that they could sing in many styles and succeed in all. Matt The Cat digs up some very familiar and some unfamiliar Five Keys records as we close down our double feature on this fantastic vocal group, on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”


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