The date is June 14, 1958, the place is Teenland out near the Fair grounds, and here are The Harmony Boys: (left to right) Ray Dippel on lead guitar, Benny Harmony, Charlie Harmony, and Gordon Jones on drums.
In 1956-62, The Harmony Boys lived an American dream by going from obscurity to teen fame, with girl fans screaming in a frenzy and mobbing the band offstage. Into the crowds vanished many a shoelace, along with combs, guitar picks, and drum sticks.
The first rock and roll band in Springfield, for a decade they had record contracts, appearances with rock stars, and songs on the top 40 charts. Thanks to our '58 classmates, Charlie and Gordon, I've assembled in 5 parts this brief history of those golden years.
1950: Ben and Charlie Harmony live on South MacArthur Boulevard and attend West Grand School. They begin singing as The Harmony Brothers at talent shows, annual meetings, and live radio shows in central Illinois. They often parody country-western tunes, with Charlie working as the comedian.
1955: the brothers appear on Uncle Tom's Barn Dance, a show telecast live on Mondays from Decatur. The producer adds a Saturday show featuring rock-and-roll music, and the brothers play as a rock act, backed by local musicians. [to be continued]