Marvels

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The Marvels emerged from the fertile Washington, D.C. doo wop scene of the 1950s. According to Marv Goldberg's profile in the December 1976 issue of Yesterday's Memories, lead Sam Gilbert, second tenor…
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The Marvels emerged from the fertile Washington, D.C. doo wop scene of the 1950s. According to Marv Goldberg's profile in the December 1976 issue of Yesterday's Memories, lead Sam Gilbert, second tenor James "Junior" Isom, baritone Ronald Boyd and bass James Mitchell co-founded the group in 1954 -- after honing their harmonies on local street corners, the Marvels achieved sufficient notoriety to appear on the popular local television show Milt Grant's Record Hop, but did not actively seek a record deal until 1958, traveling to New York City to audition for the Laurie label. Laurie immediately offered a deal, and that July issued the Isom-led "I Shed So Many Tears" -- when the single went nowhere, the label terminated their contract and the Marvels returned to the Washington club circuit, waiting three years for their chance to cut a follow-up. The Winn label issued "For Sentimental Reasons" in the fall of 1961, and when it too failed to generate much attention, the Marvels -- now facing competition from hitmakers like the Marvellos and the Marvelettes -- decided a fresh start was in order, renaming themselves the Senators in honor of the local major league baseball franchise. Winn released the Gilbert-led "Wedding Bells" in the spring of 1962, but it too fared poorly and the group soon dissolved -- Isom later resurfaced in the Gales before signing on with the Satisfactions, who in 1970 scored the R&B Top 40 hits "This Bitter Earth" and "One Light, Two Lights."