RICHARD BLANDONBorn 16 September 1934, Montgomery, Alabama
Died 30 December 1991, New York City, New York In case the name Richard Blandon doesn't ring a bell, you are forgiven. He was the lead singer of the doo-wop group The Dubs, from New York. The group had complicated origins. Those who want the full details are referred to Jay Warner's "Billboard Book of American Singing Groups" (page 167). For the sake of simplicity, let me say that the Dubs had a prior incarnation as the Marvels, who had one release on ABC-Paramount before the name change to the Dubs. Richard Blandon, Bill Carlisle, Tommy Gardner, Cleveland Still and Jake Miller then recorded "Don't Ask Me To Be Lonely" for the Johnson label, which was formed by their manager, Hiram Johnson. Though the label credit read "Richard Blandon/ Hiram Johnson", Blandon was in fact the sole writer of the song. Radio acceptance of "Don't Ask Me To Be Lonely" was almost immediate, and Johnson found himself with a local hit that required a national distributor. Enter George Goldner, who picked up the record for release on his Gone label, on which it peaked at # 72 in the summer of 1957. (According to Joel Whitburn, a copy on Johnson 102 is now worth $ 1500.) The first number recorded by the Dubs for Gone per se was "Could This Be Magic"/"Such Lovin'", on which they were backed by Mickey Baker on guitar and Buddy Lucas on sax. "Could This Be Magic", again penned by Blandon, is now recognized as a doo-wop classic and became their biggest hit, rising to # 23. (Personally I have always preferred the up-tempo flip.) This success landed the group a spot on Alan Freed's package tours. Four more singles on Gone followed, but only "Chapel of Dreams" from 1959 charted (# 74), the Dubs' last entry on the national hit list. They moved to ABC-Paramount in 1959 and further releases appeared on End, Wilshire, Josie and Lana in the sixties, and on Vicki, Clifton, Candlelite and Johnson (unreleased sides from the 1957 Johnson session) in the seventies. By the '70s the group was a trio of Blandon, Still and Kirk Harris. Cleveland Still split from the group and started his own Dubs in the eighties. This group recorded an a capella version of the Dubs' 1958 record "Beside My Love" in 1986, released on the UGHA label.
CD: The Best of the Dubs (Collectables, 1991). 14 tracks from the Gone and End labels.
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