Five Satins, The

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Five Satins, The

Five Satins, The, a pioneering doo-wop group, founded in New Haven, Conn., 1955. Leader Fred Parris (b. New Haven, Conn., March 26, 1936) and several other members over the course of 45 years.

While on guard duty one night during his tour in the army, Freddie Parris wrote one of the all-time vocal group classics, “In the Still of the Nite.” Parris had led several vocal groups at home in New Haven, recording several singles with The Scarletts. The Scarletts were called to the service pretty much en masse and stationed all over the world. After writing this tune, Paris returned to New Haven on leave, assembled several singers and a band. He arranged for space in the basement of St. Bernadette’s church and cut the tune. Because it was a new group, he didn’t feel right using the Scarletts’s name, so the new group became the Five Satins. The song’s nonsense syllable backing track is often credited with giving the doo-wop genre its name. The song rose to #24 pop, #3 R&B. Anxious to follow up the hit, the group cut another track, “To the Aisle,” despite Parris being stationed in Japan at the time (Bill Baker sang lead).

“In the Still of the Nite” proved incredibly durable, charting again in both 1960 and 1961. After spending much of the 1960s on the sidelines of pop, Parris reformed the group in 1969 as the only original member. They hit the oldies circuit with great success, and continue to be a draw on revival tours. They also tried some fresh music. As Black Satin they released the 1976 top 50 R&B hit “Everybody Stand Up and Clap Your Hands (For the Entertainer).” In 1982, they hit #71 on the pop charts with a medley of doo-wop hits called “Memories of Days Gone By.” Parris contends that “In the Still of the Nite” has sold over ten million copies, yet he has not even received a gold record for it. He continues to take quintets on tour as the Five Satins, still singing that tune he wrote on guard duty those many years ago.


F. S. Sing (1957); Encore, Vol. 2 (1960); The F. S. (1981); In the Still of the Night (1990); Lost Treasures (1995).

—Hank Bordowitz