B i o g r a p h y
Being typecast as a Doo Wop group is not the worst thing that could happen. In fact, while out and about, The Capris courted through the majestic neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York, living “the City spirit,” in 1957. However, the Founder and lead vocal, Lenny Cocco, renamed the group, The Chimes, because friends from Rockaway Beach were using the name, The Capris.
Lenny was deeply influenced by his parents and motivated by his Father, Leonard, a professionally accomplished accordionist, who advised Lenny to focus on Tommy Dorsey’s 1937 number one hit, “Once In Awhile.” Lenny arranged the standard to work itself well with his vocal quintet. Standards were their passion!
In 1960, they visited the Brill Building in Manhattan, New York, to record a demo. The engineer during the session introduced them to Andy Leonetti, of TAG Records. Within minutes their lives were changed. These new recording artists skyrocketed on the Billboard chart one shy spot of the top 10 for 18 consecutive weeks. It went Platinum! As a result, their major bookings, in the beginning, were in intimate theaters, such as The Howard in Washington, D.C., the Regal in Chicago and the Apollo in Harlem, New York. The intimate theater setting bonded people together like never before.
Their second single was another standard by Little Jack Little. It was titled, “I’m In The Mood For Love” (1935). It was recorded with a similar style to “Once In Awhile,” and charted (Billboard) on March 27, 1961. In the Spring of ’62, the group was on its third standard by Eddy Duchin’s number one smash, “Let’s Fall In Love,” which faired quite well. A few months later, The Chimes recorded an original song, “Paradise,” written and arranged by Lenny, which impressed Metro Records to sign the group and release “Who’s Heart Are You Breaking Now,” in 1963. It was this time that tragedy struck that caused a turn for the worse. The bass singer, Pat McGuire, was killed by a driver under the influence. In honor and in memory of Pat, Lenny has and will always keep the group a quartet – without a bass singer.
The Chimes have soared to prominence internationally. They have catapulted from one performance to the next. Their engraved spirit is the luster of their logo. The latest members are the third generations who have been reveling in a tide of success well earned.
With Lenny, they transmogrify into “sought-after-entertainment,” as the spotlight swirls on their indelible sound, and bask in the acclaim received from deputized fans already enjoying their nostalgic salute. The Chimes have bonded together for a more promising interlude with “the music.” Their sound is tonal or immediate laced with melody that gravitates to emotions and feelings. Their earthly quality captures those years spent under the street lamps of Brooklyn. During each performance they autograph each song and watch the audience elevate to a fleeting peace to remember some personal keepsakes. Their vocal chemistry is effervescent and forthright in their rhapsodies. Their meticulous attention to detail sets them apart and magnetically drives a vocal mood of seriousness to their persona.
Their signature mix of culture and their multi-layered influences give them a transparency to claim that they recorded songs that have always made WCBS-FM’s “Top 5000 Records of All Time” list, year after year and boast about their two appearances on “American Bandstand,” with Dick Clark.
Unfortunately in early 2015 Lenny passed away but his music and legacy live on as he would want it to. The Chimes still bring to the stage a refreshing level of integrity, energy, heart and excitement.
It will encapsulate, lyrically and instrumentally, the essence of The Chimes today. If you loved them then, you will love them now. Many memories are fading but their performance will take you back into time.
In memory of the original Chimes 1960
Richie Mercado 1st Tenor 2015
Pat McGuire Bass 1963
Pat DePrisco 2nd Tenor
Joe Croce Baritone 1997
Lenny Cocco Lead, Founder & Originator 2015