Johnny Simmons

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Tenor vocalist Johnny Simmons worked in a series of sometimes overlapping doo wop groups in the '50s and '60s. As a member of Little Caeser & the Romans, Simmons was featured on Del Fi singles such as…
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Tenor vocalist Johnny Simmons worked in a series of sometimes overlapping doo wop groups in the '50s and '60s. As a member of Little Caeser & the Romans, Simmons was featured on Del Fi singles such as "Those Oldies and Goodies Remind Me of You" and "10 Commandments of Love." Prior to that he was in the Cufflinx, an enterprise that is baffling even by the freewheeling, in this case even corrupt standards of the doo wop scene. Aficionados of this style such as Marv Goldberg report that there were three simultaneous versions of the latter group, all involving different spellings. There was the original Cuff Links, followed by the Kuf-Linx featuring John Jennings as lead singer and responsible for three sides on a Hollywood label owned by cowboy star Gene Autry, as if he would have any experience with cuff links. Finally, the producer of the first version of this group formed an alternate band known as the Cufflinx with Simmons taking top tenor position and Henry Houston in the lead.

Other members of this ensemble included second tenor Ray Durden, baritone Moe Walker, and bass Elroy Coleman. All members were East Coast lads and had met in the military. Simmons went on to the Cubans once the Cufflinx came undone, recording four songs for the bright Flash label in 1959 including the inquisitive "Tell Me." Vocalist Carl Burnett, nicknamed "Little Caeser," utilized the Cubans as a backup vocal group for a song written by his friend Paul Politi, "Those Oldies But Goodies (Remind Me of You)." This combination clicked but required a name change, Little Caeser & the Romans sounding more sensible than "Little Caeser & the Cubans." Nostalgic oldies material filled in much of the repertoire this group performed over the next two years, resulting in five singles and an album. On-stage and even on an American Bandstand appearance, Simmons and associates wore togas, a style of dress free from cuff links which one bandmember described as "a bummer." As an apparent finale to his singing career, Simmons sang in a touring version of the original sleeve-fastening group, this time spelled correctly as the Cuff Links.