Little Anthony and the ImperialsDoo-Wop, Pop | 2006
Little Anthony was born Jerome Anthony Gourdine in 1941 and grew up in Brooklyn. While in high school, he sang in a doo-wop group called The Duponts. After graduation, he joined another Brooklyn-based group called The Chesters, formed by his friend Clarence Collins; the band also featured Ernest Wright, Jr., Tracy Lord, and Nat Rogers. In 1958, they landed a recording contract with the End label and changed their name to The Imperials. “Little Anthony” was later tacked onto the beginning of their name by DJ Alan Freed. The Imperials’ first single for End was the classic “Tears on My Pillow,” which quickly became a Top 5 hit on both the pop and R&B charts, and the band scored high on the charts again with the novelty dance track, “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop.” In 1961, Little Anthony embarked on a solo career, but he rejoined The Imperials in 1963. The reconstituted group signed with the DCP label, releasing “I’m on the Outside (Looking In),” which reached No. 15 on both the pop and R&B charts in 1964. The follow-up, “Goin’ Out of My Head,” returned the band to the Top 10, as did “Hurt So Bad” in 1965.