(While playing this song, D.J. Alan Freed came up with the name "Little Anthony".) The B-side, "Two People in the World", was also a hit. The group followed up with "Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko Ko Bop" in 1960. When their success dwindled in 1961, Gourdine left to attempt a solo career.
Some members left, and the line-up then became Collins, Wright, Sammy Strain, and George Kerr. Kerr was replaced by Kenny Seymour after a short time. This line-up had little success. Gourdine returned in 1963, replacing Seymour. The group's classic line-up – Gourdine, Wright, Collins, and Strain – was now complete.
With the help of record producer/songwriter Teddy Randazzo (a childhood friend of the group), the Imperials found success on the new DCP (Don Costa Productions) label with the dramatic pop-soul records "I'm On The Outside (Looking In)" (1964), "Goin' Out Of My Head" (1964), "Hurt So Bad" (1965), "I Miss You So" (1965), "Take Me Back" (1965), "Hurt" (1966), "Better Use Your Head" (1966), and "Out of Sight, Out Of Mind" (1969). In 1965, the Imperials appeared on the CBS-TV special Murray The K - It's What's Happening, Baby, where they performed "I'm Alright" before a live audience in New York at the Brooklyn Fox Theatre. At the height of their career, the group made two appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, at the time television's top talent showcase, on March 28, 1965, and again on January 25, 1970. They also performed on many other popular television variety shows during the sixties, including Shindig!, Hullabaloo, Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall, Dick Clark's American Bandstand, and The Tonight Show. The Imperials then joined United Artists Records and were assigned to its Veep Records subsidiary, and then to the parent label itself, where they recorded "World Of Darkness", "If I Remember To Forget", "Yesterday Has Gone", and the Thom Bell-produced "Help Me Find A Way (To Say I Love You)". Albums from this era include: Reflections, Payin' Our Dues, Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind (named after their hit cover of The Five Keys song), and Movie Grabbers, which included a rendition of "You Only Live Twice", the James Bond motion picture theme. They recorded three singles for Janus Records including "Father Father", which they later performed on the Merv Griffin Show. Then they went to Avco Records in the mid-1970s and recorded On A New Street, and charted with the songs "La La La (At the End)" and "I'm Falling In Love With You". This album was produced by both Bell and Randazzo.
A second LP for Avco Records entitled Hold On was withdrawn from sale in the USA after the failure of the title track to sell and AVCO's subsequent financial difficulties. The group appeared on Soul Train on May 26, 1973. By this time, Strain and Wright had left the group, although both would eventually return. Wright left in 1971 to join Tony Williams' Platters. He was replaced by the returning Kenny Seymour, who was again replaced after a short time by Bobby Wade.
Strain left in 1972. He had a restaurant in Los Angeles and was not singing for three years; at the end of that period he was briefly a member of The Fandangos with Lonnie Cook and Alvin Walker. He also auditioned for the lead voice of Arpeggio. Strain had been replaced by Harold Jenkins as a member of The Imperials.
He then joined The O'Jays as the replacement for original O'Jays member William Powell, who left the group due to illness. (Powell died of cancer shortly thereafter.) Jenkins had already been functioning as the group's choreographer. Jenkins and Seymour had previously performed together in the Impacts. Little Anthony left for a second (more successful) attempt at a solo career.
The trio of Collins, Wade, and Jenkins continued as "the Imperials". Collins left in 1988, and was replaced by Sherman James. They then toured as "Bobby Wade's Imperials". James left in 1992, and was replaced by Ron Stevenson. Read more on Last.fm.
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