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The Ink Spots

 B i o g r a p h y

The Ink Spots have been called living legends of American music; one of the most influential vocal groups of all time and the most imitated entertainers in show business. The Ink Spots 'story spans six decades, more than 80 chair hits and performances throughout the world.

While numerous personnel changes have taken place within the group in its 60 + years of existence, the familiar close harmonies remain The Ink Spots' stock in trade. Making up the current group are bass singer-narrator Harold Winley, second lead Sonny Hatchett, lead tenor Grant Kitchings; and the newest Ink Spot, baritone and guitarist, Morris Dow.

The Ink Spots' story begins in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1932, when four young men - Deek Watson, Charles Fuqua, Orville "Hoppy" Jones and Jerry Daniels - formed the first version of the group. The quartet performed as the Riff Brothers and the Percolating Puppies before settling on the Ink Spots name. In search of a recording contract, the group headed to New York City, where they met up with singer Bill Kenny, who replaced Daniels as the group's lead tenor in 1936. Three years later, The Ink Spots had their first million-selling record, "If I Didn't Care'. The song, which would be their biggest hit, ultimately sold 19 million copies.

Kenny left the group for a solo career in 1945. The replacement was Jim Nabbie and the hits continued over the next decade; I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire, To Each His Own, My Prayer, I'll Never Smile Again, A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening, Java Jive, Maybe, Into Each Life Some Rain May Fall, We Three, It's A Sin To Tell A Lie, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Prisoner of Love ... and on and on. s the remaining original members left the group, it was up to Nabbie to keep things going. Frustrated by acts billing themselves as The Ink Spots, Nabbie acquired the rights to the Ink Spots' name and registered it as a trademark. While the frequency of hits slowed in the mid '50's, The Ink Spots' influence was heard in the many doo-wop vocal groups formed during this period, as well as many groups, like the Temptations, which would come along later. The Ink Spots' musical impact was recognized formally in 1987 when inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. They have been inducted into the Apollo Hall of Fame and, in 1997, into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Nabbie and the rest of the Ink Spots continued to tour, in the neighborhood of some 200 dates a year. Especially pleasing were the 1 0 to 20 college dates the group would perform each year, where young people, many of whose parents weren't born at the time of The Ink Spots' first hits, would get their first chance to hear the quartet. Nabbie claimed that he was always amazed that younger audiences would accept the "old timers" music so enthusiastically.

In September 1992, Jim Nabbie, "Mr. Ink Spots for 47 years, passed away, just before the start of an European tour. The Ink Spots were faced suddenly with the prospect of carrying on without their longtime friend and colleague.

But carry on the group has! Grant, who had been with The Ink Spots many years ago, was welcomed immediately by audiences with standing ovations. And so it appears that The Ink Spots will remain a viable musical entity for many years to come.

 A l b u m s

SMS 35 (SMS, 1995)