The Neons

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An obscure blue-eyed doo-wop quartet from the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, NY, the Neons' influences included the Harptones, Cadillacs, Moonglows, Spaniels, and the Flamingos. The quartet formed…
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An obscure blue-eyed doo-wop quartet from the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, NY, the Neons' influences included the Harptones, Cadillacs, Moonglows, Spaniels, and the Flamingos. The quartet formed in 1954 with a line-up of Jeff Pearl (lead), Ron Darin (baritone), Norm Isacoff (bass), and Frank Vignari (first tenor). They befriended Raoul Cita, the Harptones' musical arranger, who tightened their harmony and presentation, something he did for many other New York groups. Cita introduced them to Monty Bruce, the owner of Bruce Records and the guy who recorded the Harptones. Bruce formed a new label, Tetra Records, for the Neons' releases.

Their Tetra debut dropped in the fall of 1956. "Angel Face" broke out in the New York/Philadelphia area and received some national attention. The members wrote the song and its flip "Kiss Me Quickly." When it took off, the gigs came. Many were surprised to see four white guys doo-wopping, but it worked. Tetra issued a second single early in 1957, "Road Of Romance" b/w "My Chickadee," initially duplicated its predecessor, then fell from contention when Bruce abruptly quit the record business, causing the single to nosedive off the charts.

Like thousands of other hopefuls, they never saw a royalty check for their performance as artists or as writers. Heck, they never even signed contracts, which made any legal redress moot. And who could afford a lawyer anyway? Nonpayment of royalties is a situation that some take better than others; obviously, the Brooklyn natives didn't cotton to ripoffs and refused to be exploited further. "Angel Face" b/w "Golden Dream" was reissued on George Goldners' Gone Records in 1959. Goldner didn't promote it, but even if he had their finances wouldn't have changed. Goldner once gave Berry Gordy, Jr. a royalty check for $2.19 for writing, producing, and publishing the artists' share of two singles: "Got A Job," and "I Need Some Money"; Gordy framed the check and decided to form his own label after the debacle.

A final recording appeared in 1974 on Vintage Records, but "Honey Bun" with "Golden Dream" riding shotgun did nothing. The Neons disbanded long before the reissue. Their last performance was in 1960 on New Years Eve. Afterwards, members left to join the service. Darwin is the only member to remain in music and later sung with the Creations.