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Rang Tang Ding Dong (I Am the Japanese Sandman) (Apollo, 1957)

The Cellos’ formed at Charles Evans Hughes High School in Manhattan. The Cellos were Alvin Williams (bass), Billy Montgomery (first tenor), Alton Campbell (ballad lead), Bobby Thomas (baritone) and Cliff Williams (second tenor). Alvin Williams wrote their original material, including a number called “Rang Tang Ding Dong (I’m the Japanese Sandman)” that so impressed the engineer on their first demo session, Lewis Merenstein (who later produced Thelonious Monk, Art Farmer, and Van Morrison), that he brought it to Apollo Records, which was owned by his uncle. The group got a contract from that demo, and had their first session in January of 1957. Rang Tang Ding Dong reached number 62 on the Billboard national chart during a ten-week run. By the end of 1958 the group had called it quits, although Alvin Williams remained in the business for a few more years.