The Tune Weavers earned a place in rock and 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. The group performed a repertoire of R&B and jazz songs.
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.
In late 1956, the foursome, Margo (20, lead), Charlotte (20, obbligato), Gil (22, tenor) and John (21, 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 acapella tunes, Margo and company sang a song she wrote at the age of 16 called “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby.” Frank came to life and said, “That’s the one we’re going to record.”
On March 7, 1957, The Tune Weavers recorded “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby” and the standard, “Ol’ Man River”, as eight-months 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 chart while selling over two million copies.
Their first big performance was at one of Alan Freed’s rock and roll shows at the Brooklyn Paramount with Little Richard, The Diamonds, The 5 Keys, The Moonglows, The Clovers, Mickey Sylvia, The Cleftones, Ocie Smith, Jimmy Rogers, The Del-Vikings and the blonde bombshell Joann Campbell.
The group maintained a one record touring career with artists like the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Roy Hamilton, The Chantels, The Spaniels, Della Reese, Dinah Washington, LaVern Baker, The Cleftones, Jerry Lee Lewis and many more.
In 1960, Charlotte left and was replaced by William “Bunky” Morris, Jr. The group broke up in 1962 but reformed for some 70’s oldies shows. 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 1985 Ronnie Milsap recorded a cover of “Happy Happy Birthday Baby” on the album entitled “Lost In The Fifties Tonight” on the RCA Victor label. “Happy Happy Birthday Baby” was again on the top of the charts! Margo said “Ronnie called us himself and sent us a copy of the album and the featured single and the sheet music. He really kept up with us!”
After their historic performance at Boston Symphony Hall, the group decided to return to the stage and has performed at major venues that include the Beacon Theater in New York, the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island, the 20,000 seat Izod Center in the Meadowlands in New Jersey, and many others. They also appeared on the PBS TV music series “Rock, Pop, and Doo Wop” and in 2012 received a gold record for their hit song “Happy Happy Birthday Baby”.
The group continues to perform and will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2016.
The Tune Weavers
|A Side/B Side||Cat. No.||Label||Date|
|Happy, Happy Birthday Baby/Ol’ Man River||4037||CasaG||1957|
|I Remember Dear/Pamela Jean||4038||CasaG||1957|
|Happy, Happy Birthday Baby/Ol’ Man River||872||Checker||1957|
|Happy, Happy Birthday Baby/Yo Yo Walk||872||Checker||1957|
|Ol’ Man River/Tough Enough||880||Checker||1957|
|I’m Cold/There Stands My Love||4040||CasaG||1958|
|Little Boy/Lonesome Road||101||CasaG||1958|
|My Congratulations Baby/This Can’t Be Love||3038||CasaG||1960|
|Your Skies of Blue/Congratulations on
Margo Sylvia and The Tune Weavers
|Come Back To Me/I’ve Tried||104||ClsArt||1988|
|Merry, Merry Christmas Baby/What
Are You Doing New Year’s Eve
|What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve/You’re My Christmas Present||116||ClsArt||1989|