The Fireflies

The Fireflies' career spanned eight single releases on five labels from 1958 to 1967. They formed in Brooklyn in 1957 and went through several lineup changes, but the actual membership is somewhat of a mystery. The original lineup was Ritchie Adams (born Richard Ziegler) on lead vocals and guitar, Lee Reynolds on bass and vocals, Paul Giacalone (aka Paul DeMaya) on drums and vocals, and John Viscelli on saxophone and vocals. Adams sang lead and Giacalone wrote their biggest hit, their second single "You Were Mine" (Ribbon, 1959). Performed by the band with the addition of Gerry Granahan on backing vocals, it was a romantic hit that just barely missed the pop Top 20 -- and spawned an answer record by the Paulette Sisters entitled "I Was Yours" (later redone by Wayne Thomas). Ribbon, a New York label owned by Alan Kallman, followed with "I Can't Say Goodbye" early in 1960 (also written by Giacalone), but without the same success; it crested just inside the Top 100. There were several follow-ups, including "Marianne" (released on Canadian American Records in 1960), which competed with a final Ribbon release, "My Girl." It's a good bet that Adams left to pursue a solo singing career and answer a songwriting calling before the Fireflies dropped their first single on Taurus Records in 1962. The first Taurus release was a play on the Fireflies' big hit called "You Were Mine for Awhile. "Blacksmith Blues" followed on Hamilton, and three more Taurus platters were released. After the Fireflies, Adams cut solo singles on Beltone, Congress, Imperial, and other labels. He also wrote many of them, something he didn't do with the Fireflies, but never charted with any significant impact. He made up for it, however, with his songwriting. Adams has written nearly 375 songs and scored two mammoth hits, "Tossin' and Turnin'," and much later, "After the Lovin'." He wrote songs for the Banana Splits and the Archies, and also sang lead on "Love Is Living in You," the only Archies single that doesn't feature Ron Dante. ~ Andrew Hamilton

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