The Shells were an R&B/doo-wop group formed in Brooklyn during the mid-late 1950s. Led by tenor Nathaniel ("Little Nate") Bouknight, the original lineup also consisted of Randy "Shade" Alston (tenor), Gus Geter (baritone), Bobby Nurse (tenor), and Danny Small (bass), with some personnel changes along the way. The Shells were signed to Johnson Records and made their first recording in 1957, "Baby Oh Baby," a doo-wop classic which received some local airplay upon its first release and later become their signature song.
The Shells made their national debut on the Pop/Rock charts in 1960 with the romantic and heartfelt "Baby Oh Baby," which became a Top 40 hit. Originally recorded in 1957, this song was resurrected by Donn Fileti and Wayne Stierle, two New York-based record collectors and producers, who arranged to have it reissued and distributed. Although "Baby Oh Baby" was the group's only national chart hit, The Shells recorded many songs on Johnson Records through the early 1960s as well as a split LP with The Dubs in 1963, "The Dubs Meet The Shells." The group later reunited in 1966 to record an a cappella album, "Badder Than Badd."
Lead vocalist Nathaniel Bouknight also sang with The Clovers during the early 1960s.
- This chapter on The Shells from American Singing Groups: A History from 1940s to Today by Jay Warner gives a history of the group and describes how "Baby Oh Baby" became a top hit in 1960.
- During the early 1960s, The Clovers ever-changing lineup at one time included Nathaniel Bouknight.
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- Baby Oh Baby 1960
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