This is a tribute to some of the unique and forgotten music and artists of the past.
Some of this music and the artists never received the chance they deserved,
some deserve to be forgotten. None the less, enjoy my tribute to Retro Rarites

Many artists started at an early age meeting their various band members in High School, etc. This was no different for Bill Deal and The Rhondells. Note the “H” in Rhondells. There is an entire article on the Bill Deal website devoted to that as well as many other interesting facts about Bill and the group from the late founder’s son Bill, Jr. and the Deal family.


William “Bill” Deal, was born July 8, 1944, and passed December 10, 2003 at the young age of 59. I need not write about how the group is formed as the website tells all that and much more. I urge you to take a look for some great memories. Suffice it to say that he was a family man and got great pleasure from doing what he did best, entertaining people.


One of his first accomplishments in the music business was a little Jimmy Soul song from 1963 in which he played saxophone, “If You Wanna Be Happy”. The group itself was formed in 1959 in Portsmouth, Virginia, combining what was described as blue-eyed soul and beach music to form their unique sound. They had three hit singles in 1969: "May I" which went to #39 on Billboard’s Top 100; "I've Been Hurt" #35; and "What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am" peaking at #23. With “I’ve Been Hurt” particularly reaching # 13 on the WOLF Hot 30 in June.


While playing local shows around the Virginia Beach area, they got requests for an obscure Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs song called “May I”. They’d never heard of it, so later Bill found a copy. The group learned the song and added it to their set. After they played it for a couple of years in fairly straight-forward fashion, they grew tired of it and dropped it in 1968. Later that year, someone shouted out a request for the song again, and Deal decided to add something different to it to make it more interesting to the band. As long as they were going to play it, they did in the form of a polka beat, and the audience loved it. After performing it in this version, they now decided it was kind of a cool song to do and decided to record it. They pressed a couple hundred copies of their "oompah-oompah, shoop-dooby-dooby" version which now kind of defined their own “sound”.


They hand-delivered copies to the local record stores and radio stations. It became quite popular and they had to press more and more as the singles kept selling out. One day, Bill received a call from WGH disc jockey Gene Loving to say that a New York producer was interested in their record. Not being able to keep up with sales anyway, they decided to go ahead and sign, and the rest, as they say, is history. Heritage records released “May I” followed by a remake of The Tams’ “I’ve Been Hurt”. They followed that by what turned out to be their biggest hit, an upbeat version of the Tams’, “What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am”. All of which did fairly well and received lots of airplay across the country.

It has been written that overall, the group was an improbable candidate for this kind of success since they looked and dressed more like a lounge act than a rock & roll band.  In 1969 they played Madison Square Garden on the same bill with Deep Purple and Neil Young & Crazy Horse.

Their next two singles didn’t do so well but I always thought was among their best work. They are two of my all time favorites in fact:  “Swinging Tight” and “Nothing Succeeds Like Success”, featured here.

An album, The Best of Bill Deal & the Rhondels, followed only reaching #185 in the Top 200 LP chart

Bill Deal & The Rhondels -
Swinging Tight - Nothing Succeeds Like Success

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Copyright © 2012 Retrorarities Music