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Originally posted on MissBackInTheDayUSA
The group originated in Ozone Park, Queens in 1957 when they were teenagers. The original members were Rosario Morice (aka Sonny Boy, Lead), though he left the group before recording he has always been recognized by the group when attending a performance. Nick Santamaria (aka Nick Santo, lead), Mike Mincieli (first tenor), Frank Reina (second tenor), Vinnie Naccarato,(baritone), and John Cassese (bass).
They were all around 15 years of age at the time and still in school. Rosario, Vinnie, Mike, Tony, and John all went to John Adams High School, while Nick was a student at Woodrow Wilson and Frank attended Franklin K. Lane. Mike Mincieli, started the group and recruited the members. In the spring/summer of 1958 the final member was recruited and really got things together.
They originally called themselves “the Supremes” but soon changed to “The Capris.” It is often thought their name came from the island of Capri, since the boys were all Italian, but Nick confirmed in a 1993 interview with Greg Milewski, that they named themselves after the 1957 Lincoln Capri.
By 1958 the group had started gaining experience and popularity by performing at local venues, school dances and churches. They attracted the attention of independent record producers. Soon they would record their first single.All of the original members were Italian Americans from the borough of Queens in New York, United States.
Started by first tenor Mike Mincieli and Rosario Morice (Sonny) who later left the group when he joined the Navy, the original group coalesced in 1958 – also including Nick Santo (Santamaria) lead baritone, second tenor Frank Reina, baritone Vinnie Narcardo, and bass John Cassese. Their name was taken from the Lincoln Capri. In 1958, they recorded two songs for Planet Records, “Indian Girl,” and “There’s a Moon Out Tonight.” When the record sold badly, they disbanded and went their separate ways.
Alan Fredericks, a late night radio disc jockey continued to play their song, piquing the interest of Jerry Greene, an employee of the Times Square Record Store. Greene purchased the master and re-issued the record on Lost Nite Records. WINS 1010’s disc jockey Murray the K played the song often, and it sold well. Realizing that their manufacturing and distribution capacity could not meet the demands of a hit record, Greene and Lost Nite sold their interest to Old Town Records, which had the capacity to meet the needs of the 1961 number three national hit.
Their break came when they responded to an ad placed in a local paper by two wanna-be producers. At the audition, they sang a ballad, “There’s A Moon Out Tonight” (words and music by Joseph Luccisano, Alfonso Gentile & Alfred Striano) and soon they found themselves at Bell Sound Studios New York cutting the song, along with an uptempo number, “Indian Girl.”
Released on Planet Records in the autumn of 1958, the record became an almost instant obscurity. (An original Planet pressing of the single can now fetch up to $1500 in collectors circles.) “There’s A Moon Out Tonight” has a unique ending, chiming down from falsetto to bass instead of the other way around. Each Capri sings the tune’s title in turn, but slightly lower (and slower) than the preceding member. Wiki