Our Top 10 Little Anthony and the Imperials Songs list takes a look at one of music’s best doo-wop groups from the 1950’s. Member Clarence Collins formed the group. It was named after lead singer Jerome Anthony “Little Anthony” Gourdine. The other original members of the group were Ernest Wright, Glouster “Nate” Rogers and Tracey Lord. They were one of the few groups that were able to have success on the r&b and pop charts. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009.
Let’s get to know Little Anthony and the Imperials a little better. The group signed with End Records in 1958. Their first single was “Tears on My Pillow.” The single was an instant hit. It sold over one million copies. They released their debut album We Are the Imperials Featuring Little Anthony in 1959. It features the singles “Tears on My Pillow,” “Two People in the World,” “Cha Cha Henry,” “Oh Yeah,” “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “Over the Rainbow.” The singles “Tears on My Pillow” and “Two People in the World” were big hits for the group.
They released a greatest hits album called The Greatest Hits of Little Anthony and the Imperials which features the song “Shimmy, Shimmy Ko Ko Bop” This album was considered one of their best albums. They released the album Shades of the 40’s in 1960. This album was done to make the group be more like Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke. This style worked for the group. The album features the singles “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Undecided,” “If You Are But a Dream,” “All or Nothing at All,” “I’ll Never Smile Again” and “A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening.”
Like other groups, they weren’t able to sustain the success they achieved early in their career. Gourdine left the group to pursue a solo career in 1961. Rogers got drafted into the service and had to leave the group. Lord left so he could get married. The group ended up changing members. Collins and Wright remained with the group. Sammy Strain and George Kerr joined the group. Kerr didn’t stay in the group long. He was replaced with Kenny W. Seymour. This lineup didn’t achieve much success. Gourdine had trouble maintaining a solo career so he returned to the group in 1963. Gourdine replaced Seymour when he returned to the group.
They released the album I’m on the Outside (Looking In) in 1964. It features the title track as well as “The Girl from Ipanema,” “Exodus,” “People,” “Funny” and “Walk on By.” This album features ballads and easy listening music. They released Goin’ Out of My Head in 1965. It features the hit singles “Goin’ Out of My Head,” “Hurt So Bad,” “Take Me Back,” “I Miss You So,” “What a Difference a Day Made” and “Who’s Sorry Now.” This album features songs about heartbreak.
The group released the album Paying Our Dues in 1966. It features the singles “Better Use Your Head,” “It’s Not the Same,” “Call Me the Joker,” “Cry My Eyes Out” and “Lost Without You.” This album was an attempt to revive their old sound. In 1967, they released Reflections. This is a pop and soul album. It features the singles “Hold on to Someone,” “Yesterday Has Gone,” “Sunday Will Never Be the Same,” “Trick or Treat” and “Lost in Love.”
They released the album Movie Grabbers in 1967. This is an album featuring songs from movies. It features the singles “You Only Live Twice,” “Georgie Girl,” “Somewhere My Love,” “A Man and a Woman” and “Who Can Say.” The group released the album Out of Sight, Out of Mind in 1969. It features the singles “Let the Sunshine In,” “You Bring Me Down,” “Easy to Be Hard,” “The Ten Commandments of Love,” “Summer’s Comin’ In,” “I Look at You” and “The Ride.”
They released the album On a New Street in 1973. It features the singles “That’s What Love Is All About,” “Sooner or Later,” “Heartaches Never Entered My Mind” and Easier Said Than Done.” This album was an attempt to relive the old magic. They released the album Hold On in 1975. It features the singles “Hold On (Just a Little Bit Longer),” “I Can Feel The Need,” “Promise Me” and “Back Where You Belong.”
Little Anthony and the Imperials went through a lot of member changes throughout the years. Little Anthony has left the group twice, but has since returned to the group. They had a lot of ups and downs during their career, but they managed to retain their success through tours. This Top 10 Little Anthony and the Imperials Songs list will feature their best songs. Which one do you think will be number one on this list?
# 10 – Shimmy, Shimmy Ko Ko Bop
The first song on our Top 10 Little Anthony and the Imperials Songs list is the enchanting “Shimmy, Shimmy Ko Ko Bop” from their greatest hits album The Greatest Hits of Little Anthony and the Imperials. This song has a doo-wop sound. This is an innocuous song about a woman showing a guy how to do the “ko ko bop” dance. This is a fun dance number geared towards teenagers. It was about getting teenagers to dance.
The music sounds like island music. It is great for dancing. It had the potential of being a novelty song because of the title and the fact that it has instructions on how to dance, but the song worked for them. This is their first up-tempo hit because they were balladeers. Here is some trivia about the song. Little Anthony didn’t like this song. He was probably more comfortable with their love songs. You would never know that he didn’t like the song because he sings it very well. His vocals are excellent and spine tingling.
# 9 – I’m Falling In Love With You
The next song on our Top 10 Little Anthony and the Imperials Songs list is the romantic “I’m Falling In Love With You” from the On a New Street album. This has an r&b sound. This is a sentimental song about being in love. This is a beautiful song and perfect to listen to when you are in love. The music is breathtaking. It sounds similar to something the Moments or Delfonics would have recorded. This was a change for them because it wasn’t a doo-wop song. Little Anthony’s vocals are simply amazing. He sounds angelic as he hits the high notes in the song. The group does an excellent job supporting him in the harmonies. The chorus is simple and easy to remember. This isn’t one of their signature songs, but it should have been because it is a beautiful.
# 8 – Out of Sight, Out of Mind
This heartbreak song is from the album of the same name. This has a doo-wop and r&b sound. This is a bitter song about the woman he loves moving on with someone else. The woman forgot all about him. This is a cover song by the Five Keys. This is a combination of doo-wop and r&b music. The music is soft and soothing. It gives the listener a chance to hear Little Anthony’s pure vocals. He sounds passionate and angry about the woman moving on with someone new. He uses his signature tenor vocals to the best of his ability. He belts out notes throughout different parts of the song that are truly amazing.
The group has incredible harmonies throughout the song. They do a tremendous job supporting Little Anthony in the background. Little Anthony and the Imperials’ version is more soulful than the original even though they don’t really stray away from the original version. Little Anthony sings the song with more passion than the original version. Little Anthony takes more vocals risks than the lead singer of the original version.
# 7 – Help Me Find A Way (To Say I Love You)
This heartfelt song is from the The Best of Little Anthony and the Imperials album. This song has an r&b sound. This is an emotional song about him wanting the woman he loves giving him the courage to say he loves her. This song is relatable to anyone who has trouble admitting to his or her feelings. This song sounds like something the Delfonics or The Moments would have recorded. This song has the classic Thom Bell/Linda Creed sound. For those who don’t know, they are responsible for the Philly sound. Earl Young and Ronnie Baker do a tremendous job with the instrumentation. They make song have the Philly sound. They help make the music soulful. Little Anthony sings this in a lower register. He shows versatility by singing in a lower key. He does hold back from holding notes, but he does a good job. He is a little unrecognizable because he’s not using his signature tenor vocals.
# 6 – Take Me Back
This aching ballad is from the Goin’ Out of My Head album. This song has a doo-wop sound. This is a pleading ballad about him wanting to get back together with the woman he lost. The music is simple and has an acoustic sound. It has an old school sound to it, but it works for the song. Little Anthony sounds sweet and enduring. He makes the song sound romantic instead desperate. He uses his signature tenor vocals in the song. His vocals are toned down for this track. It gives the listener a chance to focus on his vocals. He sounds pure and angelic. The Imperials harmonize well in the background. They aren’t featured in the song much, but when they are, they do a great job supporting Little Anthony.
# 5 – I Miss You So
The next song on our Top 10 Little Anthony and the Imperials Songs list is the yearning “I Miss You So” from the Goin’ Out of My Head album. This song has a doo-wop sound. This is a dramatic song about him missing the woman he loves. This touching song is relatable to anyone who has ever lost someone and wanted him or her back. The music is soft and rhythmic. The violin makes the music sound emotional. It has an old school feel to it. Little Anthony starts the song in his signature tenor vocals and then sings in a lower register towards the end of the song. He pours his heart out as he is explaining how much he misses the woman he loves. He sounds very convincing when he lets the listener knows how he feels. He doesn’t hold any notes or belt in the song, but it wasn’t needed. It is a stripped down song so the big notes weren’t needed.
# 4 – I’m On The Outside Looking In
This elegant song is from the album of the same name. This song has a doo-wop, soul and jazz sound. This is a regretful song about him wishing he didn’t let the woman he loves get away. This song is a new take on their hit single “Tears on My Pillow.” If you have ever broken up with someone and wanted to get back together with him or her, this is the perfect song for you to listen to. Little Anthony’s vocals are outstanding. He sings the song with so much passion and emotion. His vocals will give you chills. He sings the song without doing too many runs. He doesn’t hold too many notes in the song, but the music didn’t call for it. The music is soft and heartfelt so the big power vocals weren’t needed. The Imperials sound great in the background. They sound soulful in the background.
# 3 – Hurts So Bad
This heartache song is from the Goin’ Out of My Head album. This song has a soul and pop sound. This is a haunting song about a love gone wrong. This song will hook as soon as you hear the piano. Their producer Teddy Randazzo beautifully produced the song. The song starts softly and builds dramatically. It leads to a swelling and catchy chorus. The chorus is an earworm that will stick in your head long after you hear it. Little Anthony’s vocals will take your breath away. He pours his heart out in the lyrics. You can feel his pain as he is singing. He has control over his big voice especially when he belts the chorus and towards the fade out. This song is absolutely flawless. There are not enough words to describe how great this song is. It could have easily been number one on this list.
# 2 – Goin’ Out of My Head
This passionate song is from the album of the same name. This song has a pop sound. This is a stirring song about him loving a woman he lost. The song will grab your attention as soon as it starts. It has all of the elements of the perfect song. His impeccable vocals are awe-inspiring. He passionately tells the story about the pain he feels about losing the woman he loves. He shows excellent control throughout the song. He knows the right moments when to pull back and when to let go. The music is easy to listen to without being too hard on the ears. It is soft and heartbreaking to match the theme of the song. It starts with a delicate xylophone. It has an orchestral sound. It has a mini-thumping drumbeat. The lyrics are poetic and sentimental. Everything about this song works from the music to the singing. The only complaint about the song is it isn’t long enough.
# 1 – Tears on My Pillow
We have come to the number one song on our Top 10 Little Anthony and the Imperials Songs list. The number one song is the successful “Tears on My Pillow” from the We Are The Imperials Featuring Little Anthony album. This song has a doo-wop sound. This is a poignant song about him crying over the woman he loves. The melody of this song sounds similar to “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” by the Penguins. This is a timeless classic song. This is their first big hit single. It’s easy to see why the song was such a big hit. Little Anthony’s vocals are pure magic. He sings this in his signature tenor vocals. He sounds pure and angelic. He does an incredible run towards the end of the song that is not to miss. His voice doesn’t break while he is holding the note. The Imperials sound excellent and provide perfect harmonies. Other artists have tried to duplicate this song, but none of them compare to this version.
Top 10 Little Anthony and The Imperials Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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