The Ink Spots were an African-American pop vocal group who gained international fame in the 1930s and 1940s. Their unique musical style led to the rhythm and blues and rock and roll musical genres, and the subgenre doo-wop. The Ink Spots were widely accepted in both the white and black communities, largely due to the ballad style introduced to the group by lead singer Bill Kenny.   In 1989, the Ink Spots (Bill Kenny, Deek Watson, Charlie Fuqua and Hoppy Jones) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1999 they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Since the Ink Spots disbanded in 1954, there have been well over 100 vocal groups calling themselves "The Ink Spots" without any right to the name, and without any original members of the group. These groups often have claimed to be "2nd generation" or "3rd generation" Ink Spots.   The Ink Spots formed in the early 1930s in Indianapolis. The founding members were:   Orville "Hoppy" Jones (born 17 February 1902, Chicago, Illinois – d. 18 October 1944, New York City) sang bass. He played cello in the manner of a stand up bass.   Ivory "Deek" Watson (born 18 July 1909, Mounds, Illinois – d. 4 November 1969, Washington, D.C.) sang tenor and played tenor guitar.   Jerry Daniels (b. 14 December 1915 – d. 7 November 1995, Indianapolis, Indiana) sang tenor and played guitar and ukulele.   Charlie Fuqua (b. 20 October 1910 – d. 21 December 1971, New Haven, Connecticut) had a baritone voice and played guitar.   As "Jerry and Charlie", Jerry Daniels and Charlie Fuqua had formed a vocal duo performing in the Indianapolis area around 1931. About the same time, Jones and Watson were part of a quartet, "The Four Riff Brothers", who appeared regularly on radio station WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1933, that group disbanded, and Watson, Daniels and Fuqua got together to form a new vocal, instrumental and comedy group, which was initially called "King, Jack, and Jester". They continued to appear regularly on radio in Ohio, and became a foursome when Jones was added to the group the following year.   In July 1934 they accepted a booking at the Apollo Theater, New York, supporting Tiny Bradshaw. At this point they had changed their name to "The 4 Ink Spots". Later in 1934, the Ink Spots achieved international success touring the UK with Jack Hylton's Orchestra, one review in the Melody Maker stating   They first recorded for Victor Records in 1935, but although the group was growing rapidly in popularity their early record releases were not commercially successful. Their first recordings included songs such as "Swingin' On The Strings", "Your Feet's Too Big", "Don't 'Low No Swingin' In Here" and "Swing, Gate, Swing".   In 1936, Jerry Daniels was replaced by a 21-year-old singer from Baltimore, Bill Kenny, who signed on with the Ink Spots after winning first place in an amateur contest at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. Three years later Kenny would be credited for bringing the group to global success with his unusual high tenor ballad singing.[citation needed   In 1938, after being in the group for two years, Bill Kenny started to introduce the group to a new format that he called "Top & Bottom". This format was used primarily for ballads rather than the uptempo "jive" songs the group was used to performing. This format called for the tenor (Bill Kenny or Deek Watson) to sing the lead for one chorus followed by a chorus performed by Bass singer Hoppy Jones where he would recite the lyrics rather than sing them. After a chorus of the "talking bass" the lead tenor would carry out the rest of the song until the end. The earliest example of their "Top & Bottom" format is from a radio broadcast from 1938. The song entitled "Tune In on My Heart" features Bill Kenny taking the lead and Hoppy Jones performing the talking bass.   The year 1938 also saw Bill Kenny taking his first feature solo in Decca studios. His feature was on a song entitled "I Wish You the Best of Everything". Although it wasn't in the "Top & Bottom" format it was a ballad and did use the signature Ink Spots guitar intro. Even though this record did get a good response it wasn't very successful in terms of record sales and didn't reach the pop charts.   On January 12, 1939, the Ink Spots entered Decca studios to record a ballad written by a young songwriter named Jack Lawrence. This ballad, "If I Didn't Care", was to be one of their biggest hits, selling over 19 million copies and becoming the 7th-best-selling single of all time. It was also the first recording by the group to reach the US Pop Charts. Despite its popularity, "If I Didn't Care" never reached on the US Pop Charts, staying at for several weeks. This is the first studio recorded example of the Ink Spots "Top & Bottom" format with Bill Kenny singing lead and Hoppy Jones performing the "talking bass". For this recording, each member was paid $37.50; however, after the record sold 200,000 Decca destroyed the original contract and the group was paid an additional $3,750. This was the recording that brought the group to global fame and also the recording that would establish the "Top & Bottom" format as the Ink Spots "trademark". From 1939 until the group's disbanding in 1954, many of their songs would employ this format. The year 1939 also saw the Ink Spots at the top of the US Pop Charts with five other recordings that featured Bill Kenny in the "Top & Bottom" format. Their biggest hit of 1939 was the Lombardo, Marks & Hill ballad "Address Unknown". This was their first #1 hit on the US Pop Charts. Other chart toppers from 1939 included "My Prayer","Bless You", "Memories of You", and "I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You"   Between the years 1940 and 1949 the Ink Spots landed well over 30 hits on the US Pop Charts with 18 of them on the top 10. The groups first #1 hit of the 1940s was "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)" which they recorded in 1940. In 1944 the Ink Spots teamed up with Ella Fitzgerald to record "I'm Making Believe", and "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall". Both of these recordings featured Bill Kenny and also reached on the US Pop Charts. In 1946 the Ink Spots earned a spot on the US Pop Charts with "To Each His Own". The Billy Reid composition "The Gypsy" was the Ink Spots' biggest chart success, staying at the position for 13 straight weeks in 1946.   Records that found the Ink Spots in the top five of the US Pop Charts in the 1940s included "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" "Maybe" "We Three", "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" , "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" , "A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening" I'm Making Believe" "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" "I'm Beginning To See The Light" "The Gypsy" , and "To Each His Own"
  The Ink Spots were an African-American pop vocal group who gained international fame in the 1930s and 1940s. Their unique musical style led to the rhythm and blues and rock and roll musical genres, and the subgenre doo-wop. The Ink Spots were widely accepted in both the white and black communities, largely due to the ballad style introduced to the group by lead singer Bill Kenny.   In 1989, the Ink Spots (Bill Kenny, Deek Watson, Charlie Fuqua and Hoppy Jones) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1999 they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Since the Ink Spots disbanded in 1954, there have been well over 100 vocal groups calling themselves "The Ink Spots" without any right to the name, and without any original members of the group. These groups often have claimed to be "2nd generation" or "3rd generation" Ink Spots.   The Ink Spots formed in the early 1930s in Indianapolis. The founding members were:   Orville "Hoppy" Jones (born 17 February 1902, Chicago, Illinois – d. 18 October 1944, New York City) sang bass. He played cello in the manner of a stand up bass.   Ivory "Deek" Watson (born 18 July 1909, Mounds, Illinois – d. 4 November 1969, Washington, D.C.) sang tenor and played tenor guitar.   Jerry Daniels (b. 14 December 1915 – d. 7 November 1995, Indianapolis, Indiana) sang tenor and played guitar and ukulele.   Charlie Fuqua (b. 20 October 1910 – d. 21 December 1971, New Haven, Connecticut) had a baritone voice and played guitar.   As "Jerry and Charlie", Jerry Daniels and Charlie Fuqua had formed a vocal duo performing in the Indianapolis area around 1931. About the same time, Jones and Watson were part of a quartet, "The Four Riff Brothers", who appeared regularly on radio station WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1933, that group disbanded, and Watson, Daniels and Fuqua got together to form a new vocal, instrumental and comedy group, which was initially called "King, Jack, and Jester". They continued to appear regularly on radio in Ohio, and became a foursome when Jones was added to the group the following year.   In July 1934 they accepted a booking at the Apollo Theater, New York, supporting Tiny Bradshaw. At this point they had changed their name to "The 4 Ink Spots". Later in 1934, the Ink Spots achieved international success touring the UK with Jack Hylton's Orchestra, one review in the Melody Maker stating   They first recorded for Victor Records in 1935, but although the group was growing rapidly in popularity their early record releases were not commercially successful. Their first recordings included songs such as "Swingin' On The Strings", "Your Feet's Too Big", "Don't 'Low No Swingin' In Here" and "Swing, Gate, Swing".   In 1936, Jerry Daniels was replaced by a 21-year-old singer from Baltimore, Bill Kenny, who signed on with the Ink Spots after winning first place in an amateur contest at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. Three years later Kenny would be credited for bringing the group to global success with his unusual high tenor ballad singing.[citation needed   In 1938, after being in the group for two years, Bill Kenny started to introduce the group to a new format that he called "Top & Bottom". This format was used primarily for ballads rather than the uptempo "jive" songs the group was used to performing. This format called for the tenor (Bill Kenny or Deek Watson) to sing the lead for one chorus followed by a chorus performed by Bass singer Hoppy Jones where he would recite the lyrics rather than sing them. After a chorus of the "talking bass" the lead tenor would carry out the rest of the song until the end. The earliest example of their "Top & Bottom" format is from a radio broadcast from 1938. The song entitled "Tune In on My Heart" features Bill Kenny taking the lead and Hoppy Jones performing the talking bass.   The year 1938 also saw Bill Kenny taking his first feature solo in Decca studios. His feature was on a song entitled "I Wish You the Best of Everything". Although it wasn't in the "Top & Bottom" format it was a ballad and did use the signature Ink Spots guitar intro. Even though this record did get a good response it wasn't very successful in terms of record sales and didn't reach the pop charts.   On January 12, 1939, the Ink Spots entered Decca studios to record a ballad written by a young songwriter named Jack Lawrence. This ballad, "If I Didn't Care", was to be one of their biggest hits, selling over 19 million copies and becoming the 7th-best-selling single of all time. It was also the first recording by the group to reach the US Pop Charts. Despite its popularity, "If I Didn't Care" never reached on the US Pop Charts, staying at for several weeks. This is the first studio recorded example of the Ink Spots "Top & Bottom" format with Bill Kenny singing lead and Hoppy Jones performing the "talking bass". For this recording, each member was paid $37.50; however, after the record sold 200,000 Decca destroyed the original contract and the group was paid an additional $3,750. This was the recording that brought the group to global fame and also the recording that would establish the "Top & Bottom" format as the Ink Spots "trademark". From 1939 until the group's disbanding in 1954, many of their songs would employ this format. The year 1939 also saw the Ink Spots at the top of the US Pop Charts with five other recordings that featured Bill Kenny in the "Top & Bottom" format. Their biggest hit of 1939 was the Lombardo, Marks & Hill ballad "Address Unknown". This was their first #1 hit on the US Pop Charts. Other chart toppers from 1939 included "My Prayer","Bless You", "Memories of You", and "I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You"   Between the years 1940 and 1949 the Ink Spots landed well over 30 hits on the US Pop Charts with 18 of them on the top 10. The groups first #1 hit of the 1940s was "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)" which they recorded in 1940. In 1944 the Ink Spots teamed up with Ella Fitzgerald to record "I'm Making Believe", and "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall". Both of these recordings featured Bill Kenny and also reached on the US Pop Charts. In 1946 the Ink Spots earned a spot on the US Pop Charts with "To Each His Own". The Billy Reid composition "The Gypsy" was the Ink Spots' biggest chart success, staying at the position for 13 straight weeks in 1946.   Records that found the Ink Spots in the top five of the US Pop Charts in the 1940s included "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" "Maybe" "We Three", "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" , "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" , "A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening" I'm Making Believe" "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" "I'm Beginning To See The Light" "The Gypsy" , and "To Each His Own"
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The Ink Spots
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