The Ink Spots were a popular vocal group in the 1930s and 1940s that helped define the musical genre that led to rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and the subgenre doo-wop. They and the Mills Brothers, another black vocal group of the same period, gained much acceptance in the white community.
Their songs usually began with a guitar riff, followed by the tenor, who sang the whole song through. After the tenor finished singing, the bass would either recite the first half, or the bridge of the song, or would speak the words, almost in a free form, that were not part of the song, commonly using the words "Honey Child", or "Honey Babe", expressing his love for his darling in the song. This was followed by the tenor, who finished up singing the last refrain or the last half of the song.
The Ink Spots formed in the early 1930s in Indianapolis. The original members were :-
- Orville "Hoppy" Jones (b. 17 February 1902, Chicago, Illinois) (bass) (Played cello in the manner of a double bass)
- Ivory "Deek" Watson (b. 18 July 1909, Mounds, Illinois) (tenor) (Played guitar and trumpet)
- Jerry Daniels (b. 14 December 1915) (tenor) (Played guitar and ukulele)
- Charlie Fuqua (b. 20 October 1910) (baritone) (Played guitar)
As "Kyle and Charlie", Daniels and Fuqua had formed a vocal duo performing in the Indianapolis area around 1931. About the same time, Jones and Watson were part of a quartet, "The Four Riff Brothers", who appeared regularly on radio station WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1933, that group disbanded, and Watson, Daniels and Fuqua got together to form a new vocal, instrumental and comedy group, which was initially called "King, Jack, and Jester". They continued to appear regularly on radio in Ohio, and became a foursome when Jones was added to the group the following year.
In July 1934 they accepted a booking at the Apollo Theater, New York, supporting Tiny Bradshaw. At that point they changed their name to "The 4 Ink Spots" at the request of bandleader Paul Whiteman, to avoid confusion with his vocal group "The King's Jesters". Later that year, The Ink Spots achieved international success touring the UK with Jack Hylton's Orchestra, one review in the Melody Maker stating
The sensation of the programme is the colored quartette, the Four Ink Spots. They sing in a style something between the Mills Brothers and the Three Keys, and accompany themselves on three tenor guitars and a cello — which is not bowed, but picked and slapped like a double bass. Their natural instinct for hot rhythm is exemplified in their terrific single-string solo work and their beautifully balanced and exquisitely phrased vocalisms. They exploit all kinds of rhythmic vocalisms — straight solos, concerted, Scat singing|scat, and instrumental imitations. They even throw in a bit of dancing to conclude their act, and the leading guitarist simultaneously plays and juggles with his instrument.
They first recorded for Victor Records in 1935, but although the group was growing rapidly in popularity their early record releases were not commercially successful. In 1936 Daniels left and was replaced by Bill Kenny (singer); in that year they also appeared on the first NBC demonstration television programmes.
For the next two years, their popularity grew through radio programs and tours. After a series of unsuccessful recordings for Victor Records and Decca Records, they had their first smash hit with "If I Didn't Care", a song written by Jack Lawrence, that featured Bill Kenny, on Decca, in 1939. They released such other Decca singles as "Address Unknown" (1939), "My Prayer" (1939), "When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano" (1940), "Whispering Grass" (1940), "Do I Worry" (1940), "Java Jive" (1940), "Shout, Brother, Shout" (1942), "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (1942), "I Can't Stand Losing You" (1943), "Cow-Cow Boogie (Cuma-Ti-Yi-Yi-Ay)|Cow-Cow Boogie" (1944 - with Ella Fitzgerald), "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall"/"I'm Making Believe" (1944 - both with Ella Fitzgerald), and "The Gypsy" (1946). Many of these records made # 1 on early versions of the US pop charts - "The Gypsy" was their biggest chart success, staying at the # 1 position for 13 weeks.
Charlie Fuqua was drafted in 1944, and was replaced by Bernie Mackey. Hoppy Jones, an important personality to the group, died in late 1944, near the height of their popularity. Bill Kenny and Deek Watson then began feuding, leading to fragmentation in 1945, when Watson went on to form a group called the Brown Dots (which later became the 4 Tunes). He later formed a host of offshoot Ink Spots groups in the 1950s and 1960s. Watson's place was taken in the original group by Billy Bowen (born 3 January 1909 d. 27 September 1982), and Jones was replaced by Cliff Givens (who was replaced eventually by Herb Kenny, Bill's twin brother, consequently born on the same date and died 11 July 1992). Mackey left at this time and was briefly replaced by Huey Long (singer).
Charlie Fuqua was discharged in 1945 and returned to the group later that year, replacing Huey Long.
|Billboard Hot 100|US|| Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs|US|
|1939||"If I Didn't Care"||2||—|
|"You Bring Me Down"||14||—|
|1940||"Memories of You"||29||—|
|"I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You"||26||—|
|"When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano"||4||—|
|"Whispering Grass|Whispering Grass (Don't Tell the Trees)"||10||—|
|"You're Breaking My Heart All Over Again"||17||—|
|"We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)"||1||—|
|"My Greatest Mistake"||12||—|
|1941||"Please Take a Letter, Miss Brown"||25||—|
|"Do I Worry?"||8||—|
|"I'm Still Without a Sweetheart ('Cause I'm Still In Love With You)"||19||—|
|"Until the Real Thing Comes Alone"||4||—|
|"I Don't Want To Set the World On Fire"||4||—|
|"Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat"||17||—|
|1942||"Ev'ry Night About This Time"||17||6|
|"This Is Worth Fighting For"||—||9|
|"Just As Though You Were Here"||—||10|
|1943||"Don't Get Around Much Anymore"||2||1|
|"If I Cared a Little Bit Less"||20||10|
|"I'll Never Make the Same Mistake Again"||19||—|
|"I Can't Stand Losing You"||—||1|
|1944||"Don't Believe Everything You Dream"||14||6|
|"Cow-Cow Boogie (Cuma-Ti-Yi-Yi-Ay) ) (with Ella Fitzgerald)||10||1|
|"A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening"||2||—|
|"I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)"||7||4|
|"Someday I'll Meet You Again"||14||—|
|"I'm Making Believe"(with Ella Fitzgerald)||1||2|
|"Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall"(with Ella Fitzgerald)||1||1|
|1945||"I'm Beginning To See the Light"(with Ella Fitzgerald)||5||—|
|"Prisoner of Love"||9||5|
|"To Each His Own”||1||3|
|1947||"You Can't See the Sun When You're Crying"||19||—|
|"Ask Anyone Who Knows"||17||5|
|1948||"The Best Things In Life Are Free"||—||10|
|"Say Something Sweet To Your Sweetheart"||22||—|
|"You Were Only Fooling (While I Was Falling In Love)"||8||15|
|1949||"You're Breaking My Heart"||9||—|
|"Who Do You Know In Heaven (That Made You the Angel You Are?)"||21||—|
|"It Is No Secret"(Bill Kenny solo)||18||—|
|1952||"(That's Just My Way of) Forgetting You"(Bill Kenny solo)||23||—|
Many Ink Spots songs begin with the same four bar introduction, using the chords I - #idim - ii7 - V7.
The song that plays during the intro sequence of Fallout is "Maybe" sung by The Ink Spots. The original theme was going to be "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire," also by The Ink Spots, but apparently Black Isle was unable to get the license, so it was scrapped.
Their originally desired song was later used during the first teaser trailer released for Fallout 3, as well as its opening and heavily throughout the game, being played on GNR along with "Maybe" and "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall."
Fallout: New Vegas
The song "It's All Over But the Crying" is featured in the Fallout 4 trailer. The songs "Maybe","I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" and "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" are played on Diamond City Radio
|2008||Fallout 3||"I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire"|
"Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall"
|2010||Fallout: New Vegas||"It's a Sin to Tell a Lie"|
|2015||Fallout 4||"It's All Over But the Crying"|
|2007||BioShock||"If I Didn't Care"|
"The Best Things in Life are Free"
|2010||BioShock 2||"We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)"|
"I'm Making Believe" (with Ella Fitzgerald)
"Memories of You"
"Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat"
|2010||Mafia II||"The Best Things in Life are Free"|
|2011||L.A. Noire||"Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall"|
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