Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 23 February 2020

Orioles, thelocked

  • David Sanjek


The beginnings of the Orioles’ career entwine a memorable personal narrative with the origins of doo-wop. An 18-year-old, Baltimore-based, white Jewish woman, Deborah Chessler, was passionate about songwriting, but devoid of any strategy as to how to achieve success. She had sold a song, “Tell Me So,” to the African American vocalist Savannah Churchill, but the record came and went without a trace. In 1948 a friend interceded and alerted Chessler to a local vocal ensemble, the Vibranaires, which lead vocalist Sonny Til had formed around 1947. She contacted them and the group auditioned over the phone, convincing Chessler to become their agent. She subsequently contacted Jerry Blaine, the owner of Jubilee Records, who signed the group and changed their name to the Orioles, the state bird of Maryland. Chessler wrote songs for the group, including “It’s too soon to know,” composed expediently on a scroll of toilet paper. The record was released in ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.