Tune Weavers inducted to Music Hall of Fame
Cape Verdean News
May 15, 2003
written by Tom Lopes
|On Sunday, March 30th, the Tune Weavers lead by John Sylvia of Marion, Charlotte Rose Davis of Boston and the new addition of Alice Fernandes and Dr. Burt Pina of Marion performed at the 3rd Annual Doo-Wopp Hall of Fame of America awards program held at the Symphony Hall in Boston. The group which originally included John and Margo Sylvia, Gil Lopez and Charlotte Rose Davis were inducted into the Doo- Wopp Hall of Fame and presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In a very somber moment John Sylvia accepted a plaque in behalf of his deceased ex-wife Margo.
The Tune Weavers with no longer the voices of Margo and Gil have been joined by Alice and Burt and they are a perfect fit for the newly organized group. John, Alice and Burt all make their home in Marion, MA., and John Sylvia has remarried and his lovely wife’s name is Caroline. Caroline has been very supportive of her husband and the born again popularity of the Tune Weavers.
In 1957, the Tune Weavers struck it big with their popular hit “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby” that hit the top of the music chart. Their other recordings include; My Congratulations, Baby; There Stands My Love, I Remember Dear (1960), Merry, Merry Christmas Baby/What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve (1988) and Come Back to Me (1988). These songs were big sellers that brought many wonderful, memorable moments for thousands of fans.
Because of the wonderful response that Tune Weavers received at the Boston Symphony Hall Awards program they are once again being asked to perform. On May 17th, they will be appearing at the Music Hall in Portsmith, New Hampshire and on June 29th, they are schedule to appear in a major Doo-Wopp.
The Tune Weavers earned a place in Rock ‘n’ Roll history with their classic ballad, “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby,” but the group itself was really a pop/ jazz outfit.
Margo Sylvia and her brother Gilbert Lopez performed around Boston as a duet in the mid-50’s. They were eventually joined by Margo’s husband John Sylvia and her cousin, Charlotte Davis, doing a repertoire of R&B songs and jazz vocals.
At one of their rehearsals, Charlotte’s fiancée suggested that the group call themselves The Tune Weavers because that was what they were doing, weaving tunes. They were influenced by the harmony of the Four Freshmen and several R&B groups.
In late 1956 the foursome, Margo (lead), Charlotte (obbligato), Gil (tenor), and John (bass) came to the attention of former bandleader Frank Paul, whose brother-in -law had raved about the group. Frank who had his own small record label, Casa Grande (named after his old band), finally agreed to hear them and went to his brother in-law’s home where they were set to audition. After they played some tapes and sang some a cappella tunes, Margo and Company sang a song she wrote at the age of 16 call “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby.” Frank, the bandleader came to life and said, “That’s the one we’re going to record.”
On March 7,1957, the Tune Weavers recorded “Happy” and the standard “Old Man River” as eight month pregnant Margo crooned her way through the songs. The record came out soon afterward, but Frank Paul’s promotion was minor league in comparison to what was necessary and the birthday song went nowhere. Then in July a Philadelphia disc jockey played the record and suddenly the phones were ringing off the hook. Checker Records (distributed by Chess) picked up the distribution rights from Casa Grande and by September 16th “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby” was chart bound, eventually reaching number five Pop and number four on the R&B charts while selling over two million copies.
Their first big performance was on one of Alan Freed’s rock ‘n’ roll shows at the Brooklyn Paramount with Little Richard, The Diamonds, The Del Vikings, The Clef Tones, The 5 Keys, the Moonglows, and the blonde bombshell, Joanne Campbell. The group maintained a one-record touring career with artists like the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Roy Hamilton, Della Reese, The Spaniels, Dinah Washington, The Chantels and many more. Several quality recordings followed on both Checker and Casa Grande (including “I Remember Dear” and “My Congratulations Baby”) but the group never charted again.
In 1960 Charlotte left the group and was replaced William “Bunky” Morris, Jr. The group broke up in 1962 but re-formed for some ’70’s oldies shows. In 1988 Margo recorded under the Tune Weavers name singing all the harmony parts on two singles for Bruce Patch’s Classic Artist Records. One was a remake of “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby” done as a Christmas song titled “Merry, Merry Christmas Baby,” the other, “I’ve Tried,” written by Charlotte.
Margo, lead singer for the group, passed away in October, 1991. Her brother Gil passed away in July 1998. Her ex-husband John is now semi-retired and remarried to Caroline.
His lovely wife Caroline has been a regular source of support for John and the newly organized Tune Weavers.
Charlotte Davis works as a legal secretary. Margo’s son, Mark Sylvia, has his foot firmly planted in the music business as a record producer working with Howard Huntsberry and Klymaxx. Charlotte’s son, Robert “Bunny” Rose has followed in the family’s footsteps recording with a Boston based group, Classic Example.
A “Happy” “Happy’’ Congratulations to the Tune Weavers. Keep on weaving those beautiful tunes!