Doo wop combo the Four Palms formed on grounds of Camp Pendleton in Twentynine Palms, California in early 1957 -- according to Marv Goldberg's profile on his R&B Notebooks website -- lead Hasker Nelson, tenor Louis Faison, baritone James Jackson, and bass Nate Thomas formed the group to enter a U.S. Navy talent contest, winning top honors and representing their military division at the Worldwide All-Navy Talent Contest in New York City. When the Four Palms claimed victory in the international showcase, they were the first African-American act to win the event, as well as the first doo wop group; the top prize was an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, and in the months to follow the quartet headlined a series of military showcases and related celebrations. In March 1958 the Four Palms signed to Aladdin Records and cut their debut single "Jeanie, Joanie, Shirley, Toni," promoting its release with a return engagement on Ed Sullivan. The record fared poorly, however, and by early 1959 all four members earned their military discharge, settling into civilian life. Without the military concert circuit to sustain them, the Four Palms faltered. "Maybe It's Wrong," a 1959 single for the World Pacific label, was credited to the Rainbeaus to avoid contractual conflicts with Aladdin, but few radio outlets or retailers knew of the switch and the disc quickly disappeared. The Four Palms split in early 1960.
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