“The Marines have landed.” This was true in 1963, when some members of a group of U.S.Marines where based in Okinawa; they had started singing together and they eventually found the last member in Camp LeJeune North Carolina. They would reach the coveted #1 in May of 1963…
- Walter Vickers – New Brunswick, New Jersey
- Rodney Taylor – Gary, Indiana
- Rudolph Johnson – New York (left the Group)
- Billy Hill – Princeton, New Jersey
- Anita Humes – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Fondly remembered for their 1963 chart-topper “Easier Said Than Done,” R&B vocal quintet, the Essex, was formed in 1961 by Walter Vickers and Rodney Taylor, a pair of U.S. Marines stationed in Japan.
Upon returning stateside to Camp LeJeune, NC, the duo recruited fellow leathernecks Anita Humes, Billie Hill, and Rudolph Johnson and recorded a demo tape which earned them a contract with the Roulette label.
Highlighted by Anita Humes‘ distinctively sassy lead vocal, “Easier Said Than Done” reached the top of the American pop charts in June of 1963, although the Essex found promoting the single very trying as they were forced to coordinate their live appearances around their Marine duties.
Johnson‘s subsequent shipment to a military base in Okinawa, Japan, further complicated matters, but the group’s follow-up “A Walkin’ Miracle” nevertheless reached the #12 spot.
When the Essex‘s third single “She’s Got Everything” stalled, however, their chart run was over and after a handful of little-noticed records like “Curfew Lover,” they disbanded. Humes later pursued a solo career.