Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#570 (Week of 5/31/08 - 6/6/08)


"Rags To Riches"/"Don't Thank Me"
by Billy Ward And His Dominoes
King 1280
released in 1953

by Billy Ward And His Dominoes
King 1342
released in 1954

Above: 1954 photo of The Dominoes (L-R) Milton Merle, Cliff Givens, Billy Ward, James Van Loan, and Jackie Wilson. Clyde McPhatter had left the group around April 1953.

NEW YORK, May 6, 1953 Billy Ward's Dominoes, Federal Records' sock r.&b. group now featured at Loew's State Theater, Cleveland, are negotiating for an engagement at the Paramount Theater here for the fall. The Ward crew, which intends to move into the pop field via its next waxings for the King Record label, has been booked for the Michigan State Fair in September. Group played the spot last year as well.

Plans for a European tour in the fall are also being mulled, along with a one-nighter trek with a road unit here next winter. It was erroneously reported a few weeks ago that Clyde McPhatter, former lead singer of the Dominoes, had penned the r.&b. hit "Have Mercy Baby." Tune was actually penned by Billy Ward, Dominoes' topper, who has written over a dozen ditties for the group.

NEW YORK, June 6, 1953 When Atlantic Records last month announced the signing of Clyde McPhatter, former lead singer of the Dominoes, the diskery created a situation in which both Atlantic and King Records (the company to whom the Dominoes are currently pacted) claim exclusive rights to the warbler.

McPhatter obtained his release from Dominoes' leader Billy Ward and Rose Marks, manager of the group. According to Atlantic officials, McPhatter then approached them, showed them his release and was signed to a long term contract. McPhatter has formed his own vocal group, as yet unnamed.

Syd Nathan, King and Federal Records prexy who was in New York at the time when advised of the signing by his Cincinnati office, placed the matter in the hands of his attorney for clarification. Said Nathan, "While it is true that McPhatter has a perfectly valid release from Billy Ward and Rose Marks, it is also true that McPhatter has an individual contract with Federal Records. He belongs to us."

A similar happening occurred about a year ago when Billy Brown was given his release from the Dominoes. Brown formed his own group called the Checkers and signed with King.

Trade Magazine Article (November 1953): After eight weeks in the top position on the national best-selling and most-played r.&b. charts, the Herald waxing of "Shake a Hand" with Faye Adams and the Joe Morris orch. has been displaced by "Money Honey," Clyde McPhatter' s debut slicing for Atlantic Records. McPhatter, former lead singer with Billy Ward's Dominoes, is backed on the Atlantic disk by his new group, The Drifters....

NEW YORK, June 27, 1954 Dominoes topper Billy Ward this week stated that he and the group would be free of their contract with King Records to pick up the group's option.

However, a King Records representative, while admitting the oversight on the option, stated that the Dominoes still owe King 12 sides, and that they had to do them before the contract was at an end.

According to Ward he is now in the market for a new recording contract for his group. According to King, the Dominoes contract now runs for another year with the firm, from July 1, 1954, to June 30, 1955, or until 12 more sides are cut, whichever is sooner. The diskery claims the Dominoes cannot record for another firm until the 12-side obligation is fulfilled.

Trade Magazine Article (September 1954): Jubilee Records has come up with a big one with the pacting of Billy Ward and His Dominoes to a long-term contract. The Dominoes had been with King Records for the past three years and have had many solid hits while on the label. "Sixty Minute Man," "The Bells," "Have Mercy Baby" and "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" are some of their most memorable hits. Jerry Blaine, Jubilee prexy, predicts that the group will be "bigger than ever" on his label....

Click HERE to view an article about The Dominoes by Marv Goldberg.
(Will open in a separate window)

Click HERE for Spotlight On The Dominoes - Part One.
Click HERE for Spotlight On The Dominoes - Part Two.
(Will open in a separate window)

Above: Label images for King 1280 (recorded on 10/12/53 and released the same month) and King 1342 (recorded on 3/2/54 and released April 1954). All three selected sides feature the lead of Jackie Wilson.

Listen to this week's selections by The Dominoes:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
       Rags To Riches - King 1280 - 1953
       Don't Thank Me - King 1280 - 1953
       Tenderly - King 1342 - 1954
       ALL THREE SONGS played in sequence

  B. Download RealAudio...
       Rags To Riches - King 1280 - 1953
       Don't Thank Me - King 1280 - 1953
       Tenderly - King 1342 - 1954
  C. Stream/Download** Media Player...
       Rags To Riches - King 1280 - 1953
       Don't Thank Me - King 1280 - 1953
       Tenderly - King 1342 - 1954

    [**To download Media file, right-click on link under C and then click "Save (Link) Target As..."]


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