The Orlons

Rosetta Hightower
Shirley Brickley
Marlena Davis1961-1963
Sandy Person1963-1964
Stephen Caldwell1961-1964
Audrey Brickley1964-1968

The Orlons Artistfacts

  • The Orlons are from Philadelphia. They formed in the early '50s in junior high school. Before they became the Orlons, they were originally an all-female quintet called "Audrey and the Teenettes." They consisted of Hightower, Davis, and three Brickley sisters (Shirley, Jean, and Audrey). When the Brickleys' mother would not let Audrey (the youngest member at 13) to sing with the group in certain teen clubs in Philly, she and Jean quit, reducing the group to a trio. The remaining women continued to sing in high school when they met Stephen Caldwell (a member of a local vocal group called the Romeos). Impressed by his baritone lead, the women invited him to join the group.
  • After being persuaded by Len Barry to audition for Cameo-Parkway Records, the Orlons took the suggestion in the fall of 1961. It took them three auditions to receive a contract with Cameo. Shortly thereafter, Dave Appell (A&R director) began to write songs for them and appointed Hightower as lead singer.
  • Davis left the group in 1963 and was replaced by Sandy Person. The next year, Person and Caldwell quit and were replaced by Shirley's sister Audrey. They continued to record and tour with very little success until 1968. That year, they disbanded when Hightower married an English musician and relocated to England.
  • On October 13, 1977, Shirley was shot to death by an intruder in her home in Philadelphia (age 32). On February 27, 1993, Davis lost a battle with lung cancer (age 48). On July 3, 2005, Audrey died of acute respiratory distress syndrome (age 58). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for all above

Comments: 3

  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkWhen I was a kid in the Sixties in Oklahoma, I remember my older brothers & sisters having lots of Orlons records for several years. The Orlons had a lot of great sounding hits you could dance to. And I loved to look at their record sleeves because their record company, Cameo-Parkway Records showed album covers of other hits. Then, I got to start my own record collection & started with the Cameo-Parkway stars like The Orlons, The Dovells, Chubby Checker & Dee Dee Sharp's hits. Great memories because now my brothers & sisters have all passed away. I still love The Orlons' music though.
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkYeah I loved The Orlons back in the early 60's as a pre-teen. They were so different because it was primarily a girl group, but with a guy & that made their "sound" really solid. I guess it worked, since they earned some gold records with it. Sorry to hear about some of the members meeting a tragic end from what I read here at Song Facts. Of all their hits & other recordings, my favorite is "South Street." It had a strong beat & the saxophone was hot and nasty-funky!!!
  • Bubblesk from Memphis, TnThe Orlons racked-up an impressive string of hits in the early Sixties. As a pre-teen in 1962, I loved their harmonies on The Wah-Watusi, since it was the first hit I ever noticed by them. Then I became a fan. I loved the Cameo Records label of bright red with the cameo logo with black background! Their original hit recordings became very rare because Cameo-Parkway Records went bankrupt in '67 and was bought by Allan B. Klein shortly thereafter. Klein's company ABKCO Records bought up Cameo-Parkway Records, but Klein never released any of the C/P recording stars' records in the 70s thru the 2000s. What a lost opportunity that affected the Cameo-Parkway stars like The Orlons, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Dee Dee Sharp, The Dovells, and others. We fans of C/P had to resort to bying CDs from European sources or US oldies vinyl sources. But the tide turned a few years ago when ABKCO Records finally released a bevy of their stars' hits cmpilations that were digitally remastered. I bought Chubby Checker's hits compilation and was taken back by those huge monster hits Chubby had that kept the teens rocking & a-rolling in those years before the British Invasion. What memories! Then----I bought The Orlons' compilation and have never regretting doing so. I still love "South Street" "Not Me" and "Crossfire." Just a few years ago, their appearance in a PBS-TV documentary on Sixties rock & roll showed how a new line-up of Orlons members are keeping the Orlons name alive. Oh yeah----"where do all the hippies meet?"
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