The Choir

The ChoirFrom: Cleveland, OH, USA

The Choir was a garage rock band active from the mid-1960s into the early 1970s. Originally known as The Mods, the band’s largest commercial success came with the release of their debut single “It’s Cold Outside” in December 1966. The Choir is well known for containing three of the four original members of the Rasberries, with singer Eric Carmen being the only different member.

The first bandleader of The Choir was Dann Klawon. Klawon discovered Beatlemania in late 1963 before most of his peers, since a girl he knew had been to England and brought back a copy of The Beatles’ first single “Love Me Do” and one of their early albums before either was released in America. Within months of hearing these, Klawon organized a band with three of his friends, all of which attended Mentor High School in Mentor Ohio. Klawon began as the drummer, Dave Smalley and Dan Heckel were the guitarist, and Tom Boles was lead singer. They named themselves The Mods. Soon, Heckel and Boles left the band and were replaced by Dave Burke (bass), Wally Bryson (guitar), and Jim Bonfanti (drums). It was at this time that Klawon moved to rhythm guitar.

The band travelled to Chicago in the summer of 1966 where they recorded their first single “It’s Cold Outside,” which was originally released on Canadian-American Records. While in Chicago, the band discovered that a local band called The Modernaires had shortened their name to The Mods, so they renamed themselves The Choir. “It’s Cold Outside” was a huge hit in Cleveland and topped the Cleveland charts for six weeks. The song did rather well throughout the Midwest, particularly after it’s re-release on Roulette Records in early 1967. By the spring of 1967, the song peaked at #68 on the Billboard Charts, and #55 on the Cash Box charts.

Shortly after recording the single, Klawon and Burke left the band, and a succession of lineup changes ensued. Ironically, Eric Carmen auditioned to join The Choir, which did not go well. Kenny Margolis was selected as the band’s new frontman. Of course, Carmen would later front the Raspberries with three core members of The Choir. Hurt by his rejection, Carmen joined Cyrus Erie, and lured former Choir guitarist Wally Bryson to his new band. They soon eclipsed The Choir as the most popular local band. The Choir’s second and third singles did not have the same success as their first, and in the spring of 1968, the band dissolved.

In late 1968 The Choir reformed, this time with the bandleader being Jim Bonfanti (drums). They regained much of their early popularity in the local scene. In 1969, they returned to the studio and recorded a planned album that was more psychedelic, with eight original songs and a cover of a song by The Kinks. The Choir shipped the tape to several different record labels without any success. After releasing one final unsuccessful single on Intrepid Records in 1970, The Choir disbanded for good.

Artist Info: Wikipedia

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1966 single “It’s Cold Outside”
It's Cold Outside

  • It’s Cold Outside