The group in 1957
|Past members|| Gene Puerling |
The Hi-Lo's were a vocal quartet formed in 1953, who achieved their greatest fame in the late 1950s and 1960s. The group's name is a reference to their extreme vocal and physical ranges (Bob Strasen and Bob Morse were tall, Gene Puerling and Clark Burroughs were short).
The group consisted of Gene Puerling (bass-baritone or fourth voice, arranger, leader, and occasional soloist), Bob Strasen (baritone or third voice), Bob Morse (baritone or second voice and frequent soloist) and Clark Burroughs (tenor or first voice/lead). In 1959, Bob Strasen left the group after he began losing his voice to unknown causes. After Strasen's departure, Bob Morse switched to the Baritone or third part, and tenor Don Shelton sang the second part.
They were occasionally supported by Frank Sinatra. Clare Fischer was their pianist for years and occasionally wrote arrangements for the group.
The Hi-Lo's recorded the theme song to the 1956 television series Noah's Ark . They were also featured on the soundtrack of the motion picture Everything's Ducky (1961), contributing three songs: "Everything's Ducky," "Moonlight Music" and "The Scuttlebutt Walk." They also made numerous appearances on television and had many live performances. The first group that had the Hi-Lo's name was a Barbershop quartet out of Wisconsin. None of those original members were in Gene Puerling's group which started some years later, Barbershop Harmony Society.
In 1966, Puerling and Shelton, together with Bonnie Herman and Len Dressler, formed another vocal group, The Singers Unlimited.This group gave a wide range for Puerling's arrangements, for the four singers multi-tracked as many as 16 voices. For that reason The Singers Unlimited were exclusively a recording group.
Bob Strasen died February 28, 1994, and Bob Morse on April 27, 2001. Afterward, Puerling, Shelton and Burroughs still appeared very occasionally as the Hi-Lo's in and around Southern California. Shelton is an accomplished reed player and has played in Clare Fischer's bands. Clark Burroughs is semi-retired and can sometimes be heard on film soundtracks.
On March 25, 2008, Gene Puerling died just shy of his 79th birthday.
The Hi-Lo's and especially their innovative use of vocal harmony, were an influence on the groups and musicians Take 6,The King's Singers, The Manhattan Transfer, Chanticleer, The Free Design, Herbie Hancock, and Brian Wilson.
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Warner, Jay. "The 1950s". American Singing Groups: From 1940 to Today. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corporation. 2006. p. 224. ISBN 0-634-09978-7