Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs were a doo-wop/R&B vocal group from Lancaster, South Carolina that became famous during the early 1960s. They are best known for "Stay" (1960), an extensively covered doo-wop classic which has been featured in numerous movie and TV soundtracks over the years and is among oldies music's most iconic and top selling songs of all time.
The group's origins date back to the early 1950s when Williams (b. April 26, 1938) formed The Royal Charms while still in high school along with childhood friends Earl Gainey, Willie Jones, William Massey, and Norman Wade. They signed with Excello Records in 1956 and were soon after renamed The Gladiolas. The following year, they had a Top 20 hit on the R&B charts under that name with the original version of "Little Darlin'," a doo-wop standard written by Williams made famous soon after by The Diamonds. In 1959, they moved to Herald Records and became known as Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs. The group then reformed with a mostly-new lineup consisting of Williams as lead singer with Wiley Bennett, Charles Thomas, Albert Hill, Little Willie Morrow, and Henry "Shane" Gaston (d. August 29, 2015).
Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs debuted on the charts in 1960 with another Williams-penned doo-wop standard, "Stay," which topped the Billboard Hot 100, made the R&B Top 5, and soon after went gold. This smash, which famously showcases Gaston's soaring falsetto vocals, had a resurgence in popularity many years later after being featured in the soundtrack to the 1987 blockbuster movie, "Dirty Dancing." Although Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs had three more hits in 1961 with "I Remember," "Come Along," and "High Blood Pressure," they never replicated their earlier phenomenal chart success with "Stay."
Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs continued to record and tour actively through the 1990s with a number of personnel changes and became a top act on the Carolina beach music circuit. Williams was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010.
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Maurice Williams And The Zodiacs
- Stay 1960
(This oldies classic topped the charts and later also became a hit for the 4 Seasons (1964) and Jackson Browne (1978).)
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