First known as The Four Dukes, this Canadian doo-wop group was formed in 1947 in Toronto by Jimmy Arnold, Bernie Toorish, Frank Busseri and Connie Codarini who all attended St Michael’s Cathedral Choir School, a Catholic school for boys that combined musical instruction along with education.
They made their radio debut in 1949 on CBC on Elwood Glover’s Canadian Cavalcade and then appeared for 30 weeks at a New York nightclub called Le Ruban Bleu.
They began recording for Columbia as background voices on such hits as Johnnie Ray‘s Cry (1951) and The Little White Cloud That Cried (1951) and Frankie Laine‘s Rain, Rain, Rain (1954), which were all arranged by Bernie Toorish.
Remaining with Columbia, The Four Lads had their first independent success with The Mocking Bird (1952) which they followed up with Istanbul (Not Constantinople) (1953).
Further 1950s hits included the African-influenced Skokiaan (1954), Standing on the Corner (Watching All the Girls Go By) (1956), Who Needs You (1957) and million-sellers Moments to Remember (1955) and No, Not Much (1956).
The Four Lads became a fixture on the newly-emerging medium of television, hosting a 1955 summer replacement series for Perry Como and appearing as guests on many TV shows.
The emergence of rock & roll curtailed the success of vocal groups, although The Four Lads would continue to record and perform through the 1970s.
In 1975 the group was listed by Billboard magazine as #167 of the top 200 recording acts of the previous 30 years.
Connie Codarnini was replaced in 1962 by Johnny D’Arc, and Bernie Toorish in the early 1970s by Sid Edwards, both Americans.
In 2003 The Four Lads were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
Corrado ‘Connie’ Codarini