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The Del-Satins were formed in 1958 in Manhattan through a merger of two existing street corner groups, the Yorkville Melodys and the Jokers. The original members were Stan Zizka (lead), Fred Ferrara (baritone), his brother Tom Ferrara (bass), Leslie Cauchi (first tenor), and Keith Koestner (second tenor). They chose the name Del-Satins as a tribute to The Dells and The Five Satins and built a solid following with their live performances, coming first in a prestigious New York city-wide "Battle of the Groups". Koestner left before their first recording session and was replaced by Bobby Failla.
In 1961 they recorded their debut single, "I'll Pray for You" for the small independent label. They joined forces with Dion, who wanted to replace his existing backing band, the Belmonts, with a "rockier" sound. The Del-Satins were instantly sent to work on his new song, "Runaround Sue", which then rose to number 1 in the Billboard charts. Although their contribution to the hit was substantial, the Del-Satins received no credit. They also sang on Dion's later solo hits, "The Wanderer", "Lovers Who Wander", "Little Diane", "Love Came To Me", "Ruby Baby", "Donna the Prima Donna" and "Drip Drop."
They released a number of singles under their own name, but had little success until "Teardrops Follow Me" in 1962, after which they found regular work on television and radio. They then moved to Columbia Records as part of Dion's new contract. Still frustrated by their lack of recognition, in 1963 they auditioned for Phil Spector but declined his subsequent invitation to record with him.
Zizka left in the mid-1960s and Cauchi and Tom Ferrara were drafted. The remaining members of the Del-Satins continued to play live with the addition of Johnny Maestro (former lead singer of The Crests), and Richard Green. When Cauchi returned, they merged with The Rhythm Method from Long Island in 1968 to form Brooklyn Bridge.
In 1991, the Del-Satins, led by Stan Zizka, re-formed for nostalgia shows and issued an album, Still Wandering. In May 2011, The Del-Satins (Stan Zizka, Les Cauchi, Fred Ferrara and Tom Ferrara) reunited for two concerts, one in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan, and the second one on Long Island. Added to the group are Charlie Aiello, Edie Van Buren and Joe Ferrara. Why not buy a copy of their new CD, “ The Original Del Satins Featuring Stan Zizka, Still Wanderin’.’’ This spring Stan Zizka and the Del-Satins opened up for Jay Leno at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury.
For more information on the Del-Satins, visit www.delsatins.com.
Photo credit: Sonny Maxon