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Jackie & the Starlites

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Biography

Jackie & the Starlites were another one-hit wonder doo wop group -- "Valerie," cut for Bobby Robinson's Fury label in 1960, being their one hit; it was cut at the tail end of the doo wop era and, indeed, may have been among the first songs in that style to appeal as an "oldie" in style. It barely brushed the national charts, but it was embraced by the community of doo wop singers as a standard. Jackie La Rue originally started singing with an outfit called the Five Wings in the early '50s, and cut a pair of singles with the group for King Records in 1955 before breaking up that year. Two of their members went on to form the Dubs, but La Rue wasn't heard from again in music until 1960, when the Starlites coalesced, consisting of Jackie Rue, as he was then known, Alton Thomas, John Felix, and Billy Montgomery. Rue was the star of the show as a superb acting singer, whose feigned weeping was apparently utterly convincing to onlookers and listeners. Their records following their successful debut were a mix of soul and upbeat ballads that failed to capture the imagination in the manner of "Valerie." By 1963, Fury Records was bankrupt, although the group managed to move on to Mascot Records in 1962 before disbanding sometime in the mid-'60s. Jackie Rue died of a drug overdose sometime in the late '60s or early '70s. ~ Bruce Eder
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