The Cruisers formed among friends during the 1950s in northeast Washington, D.C. The members were Gene Williams, McKinley Anthony, Randy Hamilton, and Paul Long, originally from Philadelphia. Long was the group's founder and leader with Gene Williams handled the lead vocals and McKinley Anthony sang 2nd tenor. The group name was said to acknowledge Long's service in the U.S. Navy. They developed their sound by combining elements of Philadelphia and Washington vocal harmony styles. They performed locally up to 1960 before moving to Philadelphia and doing club work while in search of recording opportunities.
Their manager Larry Cerrin signed them to V-Tone records who released two songs that were moderately successful in the mid-Atlantic market "If I Knew" and "Crying Over You," released in 1960. V-Tone records also had a Number 15 R&B hit that same year with The Booby Peterson Quartet's "Irresistible You" which over shadowed The Cruisers record. The group disbanded not long afterwards with some members returning to Washington, D.C. Gene remained in Philadelphia going on to form The Strollers and in 1961 released "There is No One but You" on the Carlton label. At the recommendation of Kenny Gamble, The Cruisers reformed in 1967 and recorded two releases reflecting the Philly soul sound, in 1967 and 1970 for Gamble records.
Courtesy of Jay Bruder. The Cruisers, circa 1960. (Top) McKinley Anthony and Gene Williams, (Bottom) Paul Long and Randy Hamilton
“Won't you please wait, it's not too late”
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