Nino and the Ebb Tides
0ne of the first purveyors of rock nostalgia, Nino and the Ebb Tides started as the Ebbtides from the Bronx, New York, in 1956. Schoolmates Antonio "Nino Aiello (lead) and Vinnie Drago (bass) drafted Tony Delesio (baritone) and a guy remembered only as Rudy. They met talent scout Murray Jacobs, who cut two sides with them in 1957: "Franny Franny" b/w "Darling I Love Only You," both written by Nino and Vinnie.
By the fall of 1957 the quartet (now Nino and the Ebb Tides) found themselves on Bill Miller's West 44th Street Acme label, and "Franny Franny' was getting some solid rotation from New York jocks like Alan Fredericks and Alan Freed. Their next single, "Puppy Love," saw a 50 percent change in the group as Rudy and Tony D. were replaced by Ralph Bracco (tenor) and Tony Imbimbo (baritone), formerly of Tony and the Imperials (not Little Anthony's group).
That wasn't the only
The Tides' next single became their rarest ("The Meaning of Christmas"), quickly passing into history. The group was still rough-edged and learning its craft when they did two more singles for Recorte ("I'm Confessin"' and "Don't Look Around") as well as a backup job on the Rockin' Chairs' third release, "Memories of Love" b/w "Girl of Mine."
By 1960 Tony DiBari was at tenor for Ralph Bracco, and the group moved to the Marco label for one ill-fated (but better sounding) ballad called "Someday."
Their next stop was
The Ebb Tides first
Nino's group outdistanced Caesar's in Cashbox's Top 100 but Billboard gave a slice of pie to Caesar at number nine (#28 R&B) with Nino and company nowhere to be found. New York was evenly split, giving both versions heavy airplay.
The battle for nostalgia
bragging rights continued through both groups' next releases. The Romans tried
for another brass ring with "Memories of Those Oldies But
Goodies," which never got off the ground. The Ebb Tides' summer release
was a revision of the
It's likely that the references to earlier songs in these recordings helped to fuel the first wave of rock nostalgia that soon cropped up on Top 40 radio and on oldies compilations by Original Sound, Roulette, and many other labels in the early '60s.
It's unusual for a group
to leave a label after their biggest success, but Nino and the boys had no
A few more singles on various labels and the group members were back to their separate lifestyles by 1965. Unlike many groups, even when they were on the charts the Ebb Tides kept working at their regular jobs and never became full-time performers.
They regrouped in 1971 for the start of that decade's rock revival and disbanded soon after, returning to their professions: Vinnie at a TV and radio sales company, Tony Imbimbo as a New York City policeman, Tony D. for American Express, and Nino as a record distributor. In the '80s the group would occasionally get together to give fans of the '50s and '60s a taste of those oldies but goodies.
"For more in-depth information on this and other great vocal groups see the "Da Capo book of: "American Singing Groups (A History 1940-1990)" by Jay Warner available at all major book stores or on-line at Amazon .com."