The Genies

This short-term group from Long Beach, Long Island recording career lasted three years, and five singles; they broke up a year after they started recording in 1958, but Warwick Records issued canned material until 1961. The original members -- Roy Hammond, Bill Gains, Alexander Faison, and Fred Jones -- formed in 1956. They didn't record until Brooklynite Claude Johnson came aboard. Johnson, the only member not from the Long Beach area, named them the Genies; he had sung with a Brooklyn group that included Eugene Pitt, who never sang with the Genies. Bob Shad, the owner of Shad Records, saw them singing on a beach and invited them to audition for his label. The result was "Who's That Knockin'," recorded in June 1958; but Shad didn't release it until March 1959, nearly a year later. It did well R&B but wallowed on the lower rungs of the pop chart at number 71. Then without warning, second tenor Bill Gains ran off to Canada with a woman and hasn't been seen nor heard from since. This occurred while the Genies were playing their first big engagement at New York's Apollo Theater; three days into the gig, and poof -- Gains vanished. The Genies answered their debut with "No More Knockin'" on Hollywood Records, then the Warwick label released three singles after the group became history: "There Goes That Train" b/w "Crazy Love," "Just Like the Bluebird" b/w "Twistin' Pneumonia," and the best "Crazy Feeling," in 1961. By the end of 1959, the Genies were a memory. Hammond cut a string of solo records as Roy C, his biggest was "Shotgun Wedding," a number 14 R&B hit. Claude hooked with Roland Trone and enjoyed a monster number seven pop hit with "What's Your Name" as Don & Juan. Johnson also became a songwriter of note, composing the Genies' debut, the Don & Juan hit, and 57 other titles registered with B.M.I. ~ Andrew Hamilton

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