Reggie Gordon, Rufus Hunter, and Julius Hawkins have been singing
together since the mid fifties as the Magnificents, and they recorded
on the Vee-Jay Label. The group became famous when, after
traveling on the road playing one-nighters in the midwest
for several month, their record "UP ON THE MOUNTAIN"
became a big hit, selling over half-a-million records.
The group toured the country and worked the "Chittin Circuit"
(The Apollo Theatre in New York, Howard Threatre in Washington D.C.
The Royal Theatre in Baltimore, the Circle Theatre in Cleveland,
Ohio; the Regal Theatre in Chicago, and in Philadelphia,
The Uptown Theatre). They appeared with groups like The Drifters,
The Clovers, Otis Williams and The Charms, Frankie Lyman and the
Teenagers, The Cadets, The Dubs, and many others...
Their career got another jump-started again in the last
few years as a result of a book Johnny Keyes wrote. The
book is about various singing groups and the Du Wop
history that these groups made famous in the 1950's-60's.
The book, is deftly titled, "DU-WOP", recorded details of
history of Du-Wop music and various famous groups and
their journeys. It explained how the music got started
and how it evolved to become the root of Rock N Roll,
Rythm and Blues and modern musics.
The Magnificents' members are the original singers and
Johnny Keyes is the lead singer.
Johnny Keyes and The Magnificents are currently
working on a very special program. They are performing
for the local schools and various Organizations in
Chicago. The program is called Do-Wop in the schools,
The program aims to educate younger generation and school
children of the history of Do-Wop and the influence and
root of music in the early 50's. They also talk about
Do-Wop's origin, Definition, the people who were the
inspiration of this Music Form, and they demonstrate the
difference in styles, region by region. (Starting with
the East Coast, then the West Coast, and the Midwest
Coast. In between each segment they explain what
they did and who sang the songs originally. The 90 minute
presentation concludes with a question and answer period.
The Program is sponsored in part by the Rhythm and Blues
Foundation, Inc's Grant Program. Eventually they intend
to take it to cities all over the world.
A slide presentation will be incorporated as part of
the show in the near future.
The Rhythm and Blues Foundation is located in Washington,
D.C. and Johnny and The Magnificents are proud to be
involved with this program. Johnny said that they
had fun at all their shows and their last Presentation
/Concert at The James Jordan Boys and Girls
Club, in Chicago in no exception. Michael Jordan
built the Club for children ages 6 through 18 in
honor of his memory of his father.