EST. 1957

The Memories

The Memories, originally named The Bob-O-Links, started in the Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast Washington, D.C. the group was established by Kramer Junior High School classmates Ronnie Lutz and Jimmy Durst in 1957. At Anacostia High School the group was rounded out with the addition of Gene Fitzgerald, Boots Dove, and Lou Martin, who attend Eastern High School across the river in Northeast, D.C. During this era these D.C. Public Schools had predominately white students attending as the city school system moved to integrate. And although a white group, they considered themselves firmly in the R&B vocal group tradition. They were consistent winners of the WEAM radio talent shows by 1958. The group members were regulars at the Anacostia Hi-Ho restaurant, whose owner Buddy Catzva managed the group. They competed successfully in live TV talent shows such as Milt Grant Show and performed regionally in Maryland and Virginia. Around 1961 they made their recording debut on Catzva's 'HI-HO' Records. Mrs. Lillian Claiborne of DC Records handled the publishing on "I Promise" a Durst original, and "Froggy Went a Courtin'." Lou Martin learned later that one of the session musicians was none other than the famous tenor saxophonist Sonny Stitt.
The group changed their name to The Memories in 1963 followed by the release of "Love Bells," on WAY=LIN label, and it would become their signature song. The song, had been passed on to The Memories by an older Black group called The G-Notes who had decided to call it quits. The Memories refashioned the song several times as the vocal group sound evolved in the early 1960s. Yet, they continued to maintain their dedication to the old songs as music trends changed. The professionalized their act by adding instruments, and new members. All the while they kept their repertoire centered on the vocal group songs from the 1950s. They performed regularly at Gus and John's Italian Villa in Camp Springs, MD in 1970s, and continued after the venue's name change to Michelle's until its closing in 1982. The Memories were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.

The Memories

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Courtesy of Lou Martin. Memories in early 1960s L to R Boots Dove, Lou Martin, Ronnie Lutz, and Jimmy Durst

“I promise forever to be true and always to be faithful and love only you”

- I promise

The Memories

Recordings