Serendipity Singers

Serendipity Singers

Inducted: November 8, 2013
Exhibit

The folk boom of the early 1960s spawned numerous purveyors of well-scrubbed folk-pop, and one of the most popular ensembles to emerge was the Serendipity Singers, founded at the University of Colorado. Brian Sennett and Brooks Hatch worked in the Harlin Trio, organized at the Delta Tau Delta house. When Sennett was inspired to expand the group, they recruited another trio of Delts, the Mark III—John Madden, Jon Arbenz and Mike Brovsky—and two other CU students, Bob Young and Lynne Weintraub. The ensemble, then called the Newport Singers, proved popular in Denver through stage performances and radio commercials.

The group moved to New York in the spring of 1963, hoping to land a recording contract. Expanding again with the addition of Texas-born folksingers Diane Decker and Tommy Tiemann, the nonet performed at the Bitter End, one of the top clubs in Greenwich Village, and gained the management expertise of its owner, Fred Weintraub. Billing themselves as the Serendipity Singers, they passed an audition to alternate as the headline act on Hootenanny, the weekly ABC-TV folk music showcase taped at different college campuses.

Signing with Philips Records, the Serendipity Singers reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Don’t Let the Rain Come Down (Crooked Little Man),” and the song was nominated at the 7th Grammy Awards in 1965 for Best Performance by a Chorus. The follow-up, “Beans in My Ears,” hit #30 a few months later, although a few radio markets banned it because some teenagers took the song literally. Charting albums were The Serendipity Singers (#11 in March 1964), The Many Sides of the Serendipity Singers (#68 in June 1964) and Take Off Your Shoes with the Serendipity Singers (#149 in January 1965). The group appeared on such network television shows as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Tonight Show, Shindig! and Hullabaloo.

The Serendipity Singers’ upbeat, massed vocal sound broke on the charts just as the continued impact of the Beatles and the British Invasion was about to sweep the music landscape. New member Patti Davis succeeded Lynne Weintraub, and the group performed at the White House with President Lyndon B. Johnson in attendance. The group shed its last original members by 1970; the name was sold and the Serendipity Singers continued with new lineups as a concert attraction into the 1990s.

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