Arthur Crier, influential Doo-Wop singer

Arthur Crier was born in Manhattan on April 1, 1935, and grew up listening to the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers in the early 1940s.   A glee club singer by the first grade, he was performing gospel with a local amateur quintet called the Heavenly Five in the Morrisania section of the Bronx by age 15.

In the winter of 1953, Arthur formed the Chimes and recorded two singles, including “Dearest Darling”, for Royal Roost that year.  In early 1956, he recorded several songs for Old Town Records with a group called the Hummers.  The Mellows had first recorded for Jay-Dee in the summer of 1954, and had enjoyed an East Coast hit “Smoke From Your Cigarette”, but were without a contract when the new lineup was formed. The Mellows signed to Celeste Records in 1956 and recorded “Lucky Guy” and the fine ballad “I’m Yours”, but lack of promotion doomed the sides to obscurity.  In 1957, they recorded the haunting ballad, “Moon Of Silver”, Crier’s own personal favorite, for Candlelight Records.  

Following the breakup of the Mellows, Crier dove headfirst into songwriting, producing and managing.  He also formed the Halos and recorded the Coasters-styled novelty, “Nag”, which became a national hit in the summer of 1961.  Crier’s prominent bass voice, singing “oh, baby you’re a nag” became the song’s hook. As accomplished background singers, Crier and the members of the Halos were among the most recorded vocal groups of the early 1960s, backing artists including Tommy Hunt, Bobby Vinton, Johnny Nash, Little Eva, Johnny Mathis, Dion, the Coasters, Connie Francis, Brian Hyland, and Ben E. King, among others.  Crier’s resonant bass voice was featured on Barry Mann’s “Who Put The Bomp” and the Phil Spector-produced “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” by Curtis Lee, and Gene Pitney’s “Every Breath I Take”.

From 1968-1972, Arthur lived in Detroit, and worked for Motown Records as a songwriter, producer, and background vocalist. He returned to NYC and recorded with many groups and continued to write performing until the week before his death at a doo-wop convention. Mr. Crier passed away in 2004.

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