Sunday, February 28, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-The Five Americans
Song:I See The Light
Album:The Best Of The Five Americans
The Five Americans had several top 40 hits in the mid-60s. They had a lot of success for a group that wasn't around very long. I See The light wasn't their biggest hit but it's probably their best song. Though The Five Americans were billed as being from Dallas, they were actually from Oklahoma. Guitarist Mike Rabon grew up in Hugo, OK and had a band called Rhythm Rebels in high school. Pianist John Durrill was from Bartlesville, OK and had a band while attending Southeastern Oklahoma State College. They met in 1962, added guitarist Norman Ezell, bassist Jim Grant and drummer Johnny Coble and called themselves The Mutineers. They recorded a single financed by Rabon's father and moved to Dallas in 1964. Coble backed out and was replaced by Jim Wright. They were spotted by John Abdnor Jr. and he signed them to his Abnak label. Abdnor's father was a millionaire insurance man and the label was started to give Junior something to do. He insisted on the name change to The Five Americans. I See The Light was their debut single in 1965. It was leased for national distribution to HBR Records which was owned by the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio and it reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their follow up single Western Union did even better and reached the top ten. And Dale Hawkins (Suzie Q) started producing them. But friction with Abdnor and the lack of major label distribution eventually killed the group. Durrill and Ezell left and after one final album, The Five Americans split up in 1969. Mike Rabon was a member of Gladstone and then had a long career in the Oklahoma school system. John Durrill joined The Ventures and wrote songs for others. Norman Ezell and Jim Wright are both ministers and Jim Grant died in 2004. This comp is available from Sundazed Records. Here's The Five Americans performing I See The Light on Shivaree 1965.