The Memories, originally named The Bob-O-Links, started in the Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast (S.E.) 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 attended Eastern High School across the river in Northeast, D.C. During this era, these D.C. Public Schools were made up of predominately white students as the city school system moved to integrate. And although a white group, The Bob-O-Links considered themselves firmly in the R&B vocal group tradition.
By 1958, the group had won WEAM radio talent shows consistently. They also competed successfully in live TV talent shows such as "The Milt Grant Show" and performed regionally in Maryland and Virginia. Additionally, the group members were regulars at Anacostia's Hi-Ho restaurant located at 1431 Good Hope Rd in S.E. The restaurant's owner Buddy Catzva served as the group's manager. Around 1961 they made their recording debut on Catzva's 'HI-HO' Records. Their songs "I Promise" (written by Jimmy Durst) and "Froggy Went a Courtin' were published by Mrs. Lillian Claiborne of DC Records. Lou Martin later learned that one of the session musicians was none other than the famous tenor saxophonist Sonny Stitt.
In 1963, The Bob-O-Links changed their name to The Memories and thereafter released "Love Bells" (on the WAY=LIN label), which would become their signature song. "Love Bells" had been given 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. Still, they continued to maintain their dedication to the old songs as music trends changed. They professionalized their act by adding instruments and new members, all the while keeping their repertoire centered on the vocal group songs from the 1950s. In the 1970's, The Memories performed regularly at Gus and John's Italian Villa in Camp Springs, MD, 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 group is also immortalized via photo on the 'Good Times on Good Hope Road' marker, which is part of the Anacostia Heritage Trail, located in the area where they got their start. Sadly, Lou Martin (Louis Martin, Sr.) of The Memories passed away on October 27, 2022, at age 83. Prior to his death, Mr. Martin had enthusiastically agreed to do a video interview about his career that was to be included on this page. Unfortunately, he died before the interview could take place.
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