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Born Too Late by The Poni-Tails

Album: Born Too LateReleased: 1958Charted:
  • This was released as the B-side of "Come on Joey, Dance With Me," but some DJs in Cleveland flipped the record and played this instead. It went on to become a hit.
  • The Poni-Tails were a female vocal group from Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio. The original members are often listed as Toni Cistone (lead), LaVerne Novak (high harmony) and Karen Topinka, but on their first single ("Your Wild Heart" back with "Que La Bozena," released on the Point Label in 1957), the group is listed as Cistone, Topinka and Patti McCabe, who is often reported to be Topinka's replacement. In fact, Novak was Topinka's replacement in 1958. Have a look at the single and learn more about the band in Song Images.
  • This was The Poni-Tails only hit in the US. In 1959 they had a #26 hit in the UK with "Early To Bed." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above
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Comments: 11

"Born Too Late" is a permanent entry in my top 10 favorite recordings of all time, all the way from the '20s through the '70s.
In the recording of "Born Too Late" by the Poni Tails, there is a single note that has caught my interest over the years every time I hear it.
In the bridge they sing the word "see" (I see you walk with another) using a harmony chord that is repeated in the next line on the word "wish" (I wish it could be me).
But on the third line the corresponding word "long" (I long to hold you and kiss you) sounds different, as if one harmony part was raised a half note.
That different chord to me sounds like longing, and adds greatly to the effect of the record. It may or may not have been intentional, but I think it helped convey the emotion of the lyric.
Listen to it yourself over and over and see if you hear the same thing!
Tom - Oro Valley, Az
I was 10 years old in 1958 when "Born Too Late" came out. Singing along with songs on the radio back then was as much a part of me as breathing air was. I ended up singing in my high school's "Select Choir."

To this day (06/19/2010), The Poni-Tails' "Born Too Late" is not only my favorite all-time female song; it may just be my all-time favorite song, period. The first time I heard those voices all blend into that incredibly rich harmony, it went right down into my very soul, and still does! I would love to meet the ones of the group who are still living and get their autographs. GOD BLESS THEM.
Chris - Fort Worth, Tx
There was another member of the Poni Tails, Beverly Swerline. She only sang with the group for about a year when she bought out of her contract. It is almost impossible to find any information about her being a part of this group.Tammy - Wooster, Oh
We are removing old wallpaper from our bedroom wall and found this song title and group written on the wall. It looks like the previous owners where fans of this song. We had never heard of this group so we used this site to hear the song. We are going to write our favourite song and group on the wall along side it!Sal N Brad - Birmingham Uk, United Kingdom
I don't recall which game specifically, but a side-scrolling shooter on the NES similar to the likes of Defender had a tune that sounded just like this for its 'death' (ie: ran out of lives) music.Bob - Schenectady, Ny
I remember as a little toddler maybe one or two years old hearing that song and it always stuck in my head. It was strange. Then as a teenager I started to listen to oldies radio stations and actually hearing that song again for the 1st time.Anonymous
This song is such a part of my past. I love it, and I loved that romantic era. Can anyone give me any 411 on the two girls in the "Oh-Boy" Kittens version of Born To Late? It's on YouTube and I would just like to learn more about their personal background. I think they did a great job on their rendition of the song. Thanks very much.Joe - Joliet, Il
I love this song the minute I heard it.It's a sad song but a sweet one.The poni- tails were a great group but that song made them stars.thanks poni-tails for a great song.Donald - Wayne, Nj
On the first sheet music " Your Wild Heart" is the girl on the bottom left Karen. Has anyone ever see the sheet music for the second song "Can I Be Sure". Is Karen Topinka still alive? I love to find out things about old singers. ThanksRoy - San Antonio, Tx
Does anyone know who played the sax on "Born Too Late" by the Poni-tails?Theresa - Lewisville, Tx
In sometome around 1960, I went to a friend's birthday party, where the poni-tails performed. One of the girls was a friend of my friend's older sister. IL graduated from the same high school in 1962.Bob - Elmira, Oh
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