The Sandpipers were a U.S. easy listening trio/quartet, who carved a niche for themselves in the world of 1960s folk rock.
Founding members Jim Brady (born 24 August 1944), Mike Piano (born 26 October 1944) and Richard Shoff (born 30 April 1944) first performed together in the Mitchell Boys Choir, before deciding to go it alone as 'The Four Seasons'. It was quickly pointed out to them that a group of that name already existed in New York, and they changed their name to 'The Grads'.
Although The Grads did not set the charts on fire with their early recordings, they performed well enough to secure them a residency in a Lake Tahoe nightclub, where a friend brought them to the attention of trumpet playing A&M Records boss, Herb Alpert. Alpert was impressed enough to give The Grads a shot, but after a couple of singles without success the group agreed upon a name change to 'The Sandpipers', apparently unaware that a girl trio in Florida was already using that name. After the name change, their producer, Tommy LiPuma, recommended they record the Cuban anthem, "Guantanamera", and the boys finally had their first hit, except they were no longer just 'boys' and no longer a trio. Along with the name change, came a fourth member.
Although sidelined by the original trio for reasons which may never become clear, Pamela Ramcier had now become an integral part of The Sandpipers' sound. Her lyricless vocals were used much like a second strings, adding what several reviewers described as an "ethereal" quality to The Sandpipers' sound.
"Guantanamera" charted in the U.S. in September 1966, and in the UK the following month, and remains the group's biggest hit. Nevertheless they had many lesser chart entries, including a 'Guantanamera-ized' cover version of Richard Berry's penned "Louie Louie", and songs from the movies, The Sterile Cuckoo and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.
Having not had a hit in the previous five years, The Sandpipers finally broke up in 1975.
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