The Ivy League are an English vocal trio, created in 1964, who enjoyed two Top 10 hit singles in the UK Singles Chart in 1965. The group's sound was characterised by rich, three-part vocal harmonies.
The Ivy League was formed in August 1964 by three session singers with an extensive vocal range, John Carter, Ken Lewis (both previous members of Carter-Lewis and the Southerners) plus Perry Ford. They were first heard doing background vocals for The Who on their hit single "I Can't Explain" in November 1964 but, after that, the Who's producers entrusted John Entwistle and Pete Townshend with the backing vocals. Their debut single, "What More Do You Want" generated little interest but the second release, "Funny How Love Can Be" made the UK chart's Top 10. Further hits followed, including "That's Why I'm Crying" and UK chart No.3 "Tossing and Turning" (not to be confused with similarly named hit of Bobby Lewis. The original trio released just one album, 1965's This is the Ivy League - panned in the music press as disappointing, with its excessively wide spread of musical styles and material - before both Carter and Lewis left the group. Carter departed in January 1966, with Lewis leaving about one year later. The duo then set up a production company called Sunny Records.
Tony Burrows and Neil Landon replaced Carter and Lewis and the Ivy League released a couple of albums, Sounds of the Ivy League (1967) and Tomorrow is Another Day (1969). Several more singles followed, including the minor hits, "Willow Tree" and "My World Fell Down". A cover version of the latter song provided the U.S. band, Sagittarius, with a No.70 chart placing in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967.
Success for The Ivy League in the United States was slight, only "Tossing and Turning" appearing in the Billboard charts, reaching No.83 on the Billboard Hot 100. Carter and Lewis next masterminded The Flower Pot Men, hitting No.4 in the UK with "Let's Go To San Francisco". Carter and Lewis then fulfilled the role of managers. Burrows and Landon left The Ivy League to join the touring version of The Flower Pot Men, leaving Perry Ford to carry on with new personnel until he stopped using the name in 1975.
In the 1990s, a number of compilations were released, including Major League: the Collectors' Ivy League (1998).
The Ivy League continues to perform, although none of the three current members, Jon Brennan (vocals and guitar), David Buckley (vocals and drums) and Michael Brice (vocals and guitar), are from the original 1960s line-up. Buckley joined the band in the late 1960s with Perry Ford still involved in the group. Brennan then later joined Buckley, and with Ford's blessing, kept The Ivy League going through the 1970s and beyond. Having worked with The Ivy League on several occasions throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Brice joined the band permanently in 1990.
John Carter - vocals,
Ken Lewis - vocals, guitar,
Perry Ford - vocals,
Clem Cattini - drums,
Mick O'Nell - organ,
Dave Winter - bass,
Mickey Keene - lead guitar,
Bill Clarke - bass,
Tony Burrows - vocals,
Neil Landon - vocals, guitar,
Robert Young - vocals,
"Funny How Love Can Be" (1965) - UK number 8,
"That's Why I'm Crying" (1965) - UK number 22,
"Tossing and Turning" (1965) - UK number 3,
"Willow Tree" (1966) - UK number 50
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