The Vondells

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Lowrell Simon, Jessie Dean, Glen Murdock, William McCoy, and James Neely began as the LaVondells while all attended high school on Chicago's south side. Simon, Murdock, and McCoy attended Philips High,…
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Lowrell Simon, Jessie Dean, Glen Murdock, William McCoy, and James Neely began as the LaVondells while all attended high school on Chicago's south side. Simon, Murdock, and McCoy attended Philips High, and Neely and Dean, Dunbar High. By the time they debuted on Marvello Records they had dropped the "La" and were simply the Vondells. "Errand Boy" b/w "Then I'll Know" released early in 1964 didn't do much business but established them as school stars. After all, they had a record out. In July 1964, Marvello issued their second and final record "Lenore" b/w "Valentino." Both sides, like the previous single, were written by Jessie Dean, Alton Curtis, and James P. Johnson and published by Duncan & Johnson Publishing owned by Johnson and Harrison Duncan. "Lenore" was something of a local hit; it sold more than 25,000 copies but never broke outside of Chicago. The group was managed by Bill Coday who was responsible for teaming them (uncredited) with Ruby Stackhouse for one Kellmac Records release "Please Tell Me Why" b/w "Waiting" (1965). It only got a little local play and Stackhouse became Ruby Andrews who scored on Zodiac Records with "Casanova."

The Vondells disbanded when Dean was drafted. Murdock teamed with Joyce Kennedy to form a hot duet act that transformed into Mother's Finest. When Dean's tour of duty ended, Simon formed Lost Generation with his brother Fred Simon, Dean, and Larry Brownlee, the ex-lead singer of the C.O.D.'s ("Michael the Lover"). Lost Generation recorded "The Sly, Slick & the Wicked," "Talking the Teenage Language," and "Wait a Minute," among others. They disbanded because of problems with Brunswick Records, who stiffed them on royalties and claimed their name; undaunted, Lowrell Simon regrouped as Lowrell with Simon, Dean, and others and cut a series of good records in the late '70s, including "Mellow, Mellow Right On."