Les Blue Stars

R&B/doo-wop vocal group formed in the mid-1970s, feted by critics.
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Artist Biography

This 70s vocal group quintet featured Louis De Carlo (lead and first tenor), Tony Millone (lead and second tenor), Jack Scandura (lead and second tenor), Bobby Thomas (lead and baritone) and Ken Mewes (lead and bass). Formed in Queens, New York, USA, in 1974, they drew membership from several previous local groups, including Ricky And The Hallmarks (Scandura), the Devotions, Mr. Bassman and Symbols (De Carlo), Jordan And The Fascinations and Boulevards (Thomas) and Fulton Fish Market (Millone). Soon after they started rehearsing their a cappella and doo-wop harmonies, Millone departed to be replaced by Larry Galvin (himself formerly of the Velvet Five). Their first year together produced three singles for the local Arcade Records outlet, cover versions of the Channels’ ‘My Love Will Never Die’, the Flamingos’ ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ and the Heartbeats’ ‘Your Way’. They retired soon afterwards, however, with three of the band going on to the Blendairs. Backing Johnny ‘Ace’ Acuino in this more R&B-orientated vehicle, Galvin, Scandura and Mewes added Eddie Conway to the line-up. By 1976 Mewes had been replaced by Sam Wood (the former Sparrows Quartette bass singer), and the Blendairs readied themselves for recording sessions. Just as they did so, Acuino received the call to rejoin his old working partner Elvin Bishop, but it was too late to stop the release of their ‘Sweet Sue’ single (this time, a Crows cover version). Conway left the group in 1977, but by the following year the members elected to press ahead with a sound that retreated back to their original love of doo-wop and vocal records. Beverly Warren, another former member of Ricky And The Hallmarks, joined at the same time as Al Vieco, who had previously worked with Galvin in side-project Oasis. The first recording with the reshuffled line-up was ‘He’s Gone’ for Story Untold Records in 1978. Two further singles followed, ‘Gee Whiz’ and ‘Don’t Leave Me’, before Wood retired and the Blendairs ground to a halt. However, by 1983 they had been reactivated, but this time they returned to their original title, the Blue Stars. The new members were Jay Ortsman (bass) and Bix Boyle (second tenor), joining Anthony Millone (returning on first tenor), Bobby Thomas (now just baritone) and Jack Scandura (lead). They continued to play concerts in the New York area but with the passing of the years the line-up soon evolved to feature Rick Wakeman (not the UK keyboard player) and Don Raphael with Scandura, Galvin and Millone. They did little recording work, but managed to pay the bills by supporting artists such as Little Caesar and the Medallions on the oldies circuit. However, they broke up once more in 1990, just before the release of their acclaimed Blue Velvet A Cappella collection. Most of the former members continue to be involved in low-key live bands of various kinds, and so further reunions can hardly be ruled out.