The Tymes are a veteran and highly acclaimed doo-wop/soul/R&B vocal group that became famous beginning in the early 1960s. Formed in 1956 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and first known as the Latineers, the original members consisted of Norman Burnett (baritone), Albert "Caesar" Berry III (first tenor), bass singer Donald Banks (d. October 7, 2011, age 72), and second tenor George Hilliard (d. September 24, 2014, age 73). George Williams (December 6, 1935 - July 28, 2004) came on board as lead singer in 1960. In 1963, the quintet was discovered by a member of the A&R division at Cameo-Parkway Records at a local talent show sponsored by Philadelphia radio station WDAS. They were signed to the label soon after and renamed The Tymes.
The Tymes debuted in 1963 with "So Much In Love," a romantic doo-wop ballad co-written by George Williams and Bill Jackson which opens with the sounds of chirping birds and rolling waves, with snapping fingers throughout. This smash, which topped the Pop/Rock charts and made the R&B Top 5, was followed later that year by the group's Top 10 cover of the Johnny Mathis 1957 hit, "Wonderful! Wonderful!" (1963). Other hits through the late 1960s included "Somewhere" (1963), "To Each His Own" (1964), "The Magic Of Our Summer Love" (1964), "Here She Comes" (1964), and a Top 40 cover of the Barbra Streisand 1964 hit, "People" (1968). The Tymes had a resurgence in popularity and a change in style in the early 1970s with the funky proto-disco "You Little Trustmaker" (1974), a Top 20 hit. This smash was followed by the more soulful "Ms. Grace," (1974), a minor hit in the U.S. that went on to top the U.K. charts. The Tymes had their last charting song in 1976 with "It's Cool," which became a Top 5 R&B chart hit.
Since their commercial peak in the 1960s and 1970s, The Tymes have amassed a loyal following in the U.K. and have continued to perform actively to the present day, with a number of personnel changes over the years. The current lineup includes two original members, Albert Berry and Norman Burnett. The group appeared on the 2003 PBS special, "My Music: Love Songs Of The 50s And 60s," making this one of the last times all five original members performed together live. The Tymes were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005. Their signature song, "So Much In Love," has been covered by such bands and artists as Jay & The Americans, Art Garfunkel, Timothy B. Schmit, Talking Heads, and All-4-One. This oldies classic was elected to the Songs of the Century in 2001.
- Original Tymes first tenor Albert Berry discusses the history of the group in an in-depth two-part interview with Heikki Suosalo on soulexpress.net (ca. 2014).
- The Philadelphia Inquirer remembers Donald Banks.
- Beachmusic45.com remembers George Hilliard.
- The Independent remembers George Williams.
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- So Much In Love 1963
(This song topped the charts and later also became a hit for Timothy B. Schmit (1982) and All-4-One (1994).)
- Wonderful! Wonderful! 1963
(This song was previously a hit for Johnny Mathis (1957).)
- You Little Trustmaker 1974
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