Spaniels Forever Doo-Wop Review
Debuting in the late 1940s at Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana as Pookie Hudson & The Hudsonaires, The Spaniels are an American R&B doo-wop group that have been recognized as the first successful Midwestern R&B group.
Upon graduation, they became the first artists to sign with Vee-Jay Records. The group recorded their initial release, “Baby It’s You,” on May 5, 1953. Released in July, the song reached #10 on Billboard’s R&B chart on September 5, 1953. In Spring 1954, “Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnight” hit number twenty-four on Variety’s pop chart, and rose to number five on Billboard’s R&B chart. The Spaniels played regularly at the Apollo, Radio City Music Hall, The Regal, and other large theaters on the Chitlin’ circuit. Internationally, they have toured in England, Austria, and Amsterdam.
The Spaniels have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the New York UGHA Hall of Fame, and the Boston Symphony Hall of Fame, and are the 1991 recipients of the Pioneer Award of the R&B Foundation of the Smithsonian Institute. Billy Shelton, leader and bass for the group, was also inducted into the New York UGHA Hall of Fame while a member of the Four Vagabonds.
Recently, The Spaniels have been performing regionally, appearing at The Acorn Theatre in Three Oaks, Michigan, The Waterford Estates Lodge in South Bend, Morris Civic Audotorium in South Bend, The Foxwood Casino in Boston, Haras Casino in Gary, and Litle River Casino in Manistee, Michigan. They also performed a special Christmas concert entitled “Street Carols” at the world famous Chicago Theatre.
The Spaniels are also highlighted in an upcoming three part television Documentary on the Evolution of American Rock and Roll being produced by the BBC.