In 1958, Dickinson High students Michael Arnone, Joe Santollo, John Salvato, Tom Bialoglow, and Joey Canzano hung out in the basement of Santollo’s Jersey City home, singing the latest hits and figuring they’d make it big. Soon after, they became known as the Duprees and proved they were right, blending blue-eyed soul and doo-wop with a horn-fueled rock/swing hybrid.
In 1962, the group recorded “You Belong to Me” on the Coed Records label and rode it to number seven on the Billboard charts. They’d go on to place nine singles in and around the Top 40. After a brief hiatus in 1979, the quartet’s hopes of a reunion ended when Santollo died in 1981.
Duprees devotees never stopped clamoring for the tight harmonies, and an all-new crew has been true to that old sound. Phil Granito, Jimmy Spinelli, Tony Testa, and Tommy Petillo nurture that four-decade legacy.
“We’ve been able to keep ourselves fresh by showing off our individual talents,” Testa says. “The music and the songs are timeless. We have the most incredibly loyal fans in the world, who have celebrated the fact that we’ve only been one group.”
Today, the singers perform original Duprees hits and tried-and-true “oldies” by performers like Jackie Wilson and Lionel Richie, at a variety of venues in the tri-state area. They haven’t made any original recordings, but have produced a Christmas CD and “Duprees Go to the Movies,” a collection of love songs featured in films.
“It’s a labor of love,” Testa says. “We’re not the original members but we’re honored that they passed the torch to us.”Click here to leave a comment