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The Buckinghams Biography

Home > Music > T > The Buckinghams > Biography

Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Years Active: 1966 —1970, 1980 — present
Genres: Rock & Roll

The Buckinghams are a pop vocal group from Chicago, Illinois that formed in 1966, hit the height of their success in 1967, and disbanded in 1970. Ten years later the band reformed and still performs today. The beginnings of the band can be traced back to 1965 when guitarist Carl Giammarese and bassist Nick Fortuna joined the band, Centuries, and met keyboard player Dennis Miccolis, who would all later become the Pulsations. The trio recruited drummer John Poulos and vocalist George LeGros and Dennis Tufano to join the band. LeGros was drafted in 1966 and had to leave the band, which went on to win a local talent show and became the house band for the variety television show, “All-Time Hits.” It was then the band changed their name to The Buckinghams, and signed with USA Records.

The band wasted no time working on songs to record and landed a massive hit with the single, “Kind of a Drag;” the song went on to spend two weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart in 1967. The band's debut album, “Kind of a Drag” followed shortly thereafter, as well as the departure of

Miccolis, who was replaced by Larry Nestor, and then Marty Grebb. The band's success and growing popularity with the public led to a record deal with Columbia Records. Four more top twenty hits followed for the band: “Don't You Care” (peaking at #6 on the U.S. Singles Chart); “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” (peaking at #5 on the U.S. Singles Chart); “Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)” (peaking at #12 on the U.S. Singles Chart); and “Susan” (peaking at #11 on the U.S. Singles Chart).

As the 1960s came to an end, The Buckinghams parted ways with Columbia Records after their third album, “In One Ear and Gone Tomorrow” arrived in 1968. That same year saw Grebb and Fortuna leave, being replaced by keyboardist John Turner and bassist Curtis Bachman. Still unable to produce another hit the band disbanded in 1970 and remained silent for a decade until Giammarese, Fortuna, and Tufano performed with drummer Tom Osfar and keyboardist John Cammelot for a special one-off show. The band was so well received the Giammarese and Fortuna decided to reform The Buckinghams with John Duich on guitar; Tom Taylor on keyboards; Tom Scheckel on drums; and two female singers: Laurie Beebe Lewis, who later joined the Mamas and the Papas, and Barbara Unger. 1984 saw Duich, Taylor, and Unger dropped from the band with Giammarese taking over vocal duties. Next the band embarked on the 'Happy Together 85 Tour,' with The Turtles, The Grass Roots, and Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Over the next 20 years the band would see more lineup changes, but continue to release new music and tour as often as possible.

2001 saw the Buckinghams on the 'Solid Gold 60s Tour' with Tommy James, The Turtles, Gary Puckett, and The Grass Roots. The PBS television station featured the Buckinghams on the show, “The Sixties Pop Rock Reunion” in 2004, and in 2005, the Buckinghams performed at the Twilight on the Prairie Ball for President George W. Bush's Inaugural Ball. 2007 saw the band sign with Fuel Records to release their debut for the label, “Reaching Back.” 2010 saw Giammarese and Fortuna featured in the “25th Anniversary Happy Together Tour” with the Turtles, the Grass Roots, Micky Dolenz, and Mark Lindsay, performing across California to New York City. 2011 saw Giammarese release his solo debut, “Journey” as a companion to his biography, “Reinventing The Buckinghams: My Journey.” The band currently consists of Giammarese and Fortuna, Bruce Soboroff on keyboards; Dave Zane on guitar; and Bruce Penn on drums. The band are often joined by Carlo Isabelli on trumpet; Charles Morgan on trombone; Rich Moore on saxophone; and Steve Frost on trumpet when they tour.