We will take a look at another group from Philadelphia that had a huge hit in 1962, but then did not do much else, but I loved their song…
The group formed in Philadelphia in 1954, with Yvonne Mills (lead), Tommy Wicks (tenor), Alphonso Howell (bass), and one other forgotten member. They appeared in amateur shows as The Cavaliers.
In 1955, the unique makeup of the group caught the attention of Atlantic Records and, as The Sensations, they began a three year association with Atlantic‘s Atco subsidiary.
The first two singles by the Sensations, featuring Yvonne Mills, were covers of old standards that were given major musical overhaul with R&B treatment. Their first one released in November 1955 reached #15 on the R&B charts. It was the old song, “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby“.
The other old standard was released on April 14, 1956 reaching #13 R&B in May, “Ain’t She Sweet“ .
There were further recordings such as “My Heart Cries For You“, “Little Wallflower“, “Kiddy Car Love” and “My Debut To Love“, but when the Atco contract expired, Yvonne retired to marry and raise a family, becoming Yvonne Baker.
Then in 1961, bass singer Alphonso Howell, feeling that vocal groups were once again in demand, convinced Yvonne to re-form the Sensations. Richard Curtain (tenor) and Sam Armstrong (baritone) were added, and the group got local Philadelphia disc jockey Kae Williams to manage them. Williams arranged a record deal with Chess Record’s Argo subsidiary.
This newer formation of The Sensations turned out to be much more successful. Their treatment of songs took on a different feel. In the summer of 1961 this all started to pay off for them.
They gave a major facelift to an old (1949) song that in 1961 ended up reaching #54 Pop and #12 R&B. It would be their first R&B hit in five years; but more significantly, this remake resulted in them breaking into the Pop charts with “Music, Music, Music“.
“Music, Music, Music” set the stage for better things to come. In the winter of 1961 with their new style the Sensations hit gold; it was Yvonne Baker’s own composition “Let Me In“, which became their biggest hit ever, reaching #2 Pop and #2 R&B in early 1962.
As so often happens after recording a major hit, the Sensations couldn’t sustain their momentum. “That’s My Desire” made it to #69 in 1962 and there were two more Argo releases along with several on Kae William’s own Junior label but nothing could bring the group back to the big time.
Yvonne Baker later attempted a solo career , recording a number of tracks that achieved cult status among Northern Soul fans, most notably “You Didn’t Say a Word” on Parkway Records in 1966.