The Hi-Lo's

Last updated
The Hi-Lo's
The Hi-Los 1957.jpg
The group in 1957
Background information
Years active1953-present
Past members Gene Puerling
Bob Strasen
Bob Morse
Clark Burroughs
Don Shelton

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). [1]



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. [1]

They were occasionally supported by Frank Sinatra. Clare Fischer was their pianist for years and occasionally wrote arrangements for the group. [1]

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. [2]

Individual group members

In 1966, Puerling and Shelton, together with Bonnie Herman and Len Dressler, formed another vocal group, The Singers Unlimited. [1] 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, [3] The King's Singers, The Manhattan Transfer, Chanticleer, The Free Design, Herbie Hancock, [4] and Brian Wilson. [5]


Related Research Articles

In music, a quartet or quartette is an ensemble of four singers or instrumental performers; or a musical composition for four voices or instruments.

Gerry Mulligan American jazz baritone saxophonist, arranger and composer

Gerald Joseph Mulligan was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and arranger. Though Mulligan is primarily known as one of the leading jazz baritone saxophonists – playing the instrument with a light and airy tone in the era of cool jazz – he was also a significant arranger, working with Claude Thornhill, Miles Davis, Stan Kenton, and others. Mulligan's pianoless quartet of the early 1950s with trumpeter Chet Baker is still regarded as one of the best cool jazz groups. Mulligan was also a skilled pianist and played several other reed instruments. Several of his compositions, such as "Walkin' Shoes" and "Five Brothers", have become jazz standards.

Frank Rosolino was an American jazz trombonist.

The Jordanaires American vocal group; back-up singers for Elvis Presley

The Jordanaires were an American vocal quartet that formed as a gospel group in 1948. They are known for providing background vocals for Elvis Presley, in live appearances and recordings from 1956 to 1972. The group has also worked in the recording studio, on stage, and on television with many other country and rock and roll artists.

The Singers Unlimited

The Singers Unlimited was a four-part jazz vocal group formed by Gene Puerling in 1971. The group included Len Dresslar, Bonnie Herman, and Don Shelton.

Lee Morse American singer

Lena Corinne "Lee" Morse was an American jazz and blues singer-songwriter, composer, guitarist, and actress. Morse's greatest popularity was in the 1920s and early 1930s as a torch singer, although her career began around 1917 and continued until her death in 1954.

Pete Candoli American musician (1923-2008)

Pete Candoli was an American jazz trumpeter and the brother of trumpeter Conte Candoli. He played with the big bands of Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, and many others, and worked extensively in the studios of the recording and television industries.

Don Elliott Helfman was an American jazz trumpeter, vibraphonist, vocalist, and mellophone player. His album Calypso Jazz is considered by some jazz enthusiasts to be one of the definitive calypso jazz albums. Elliott recorded over 60 albums and 5,000 advertising jingles throughout his career.

Eugene Thomas Puerling was a vocal performer and vocal arranger. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Puerling created and led the vocal groups The Hi-Lo's and The Singers Unlimited. He was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices in 1982 for his arrangement of "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square". A Latin song he arranged for Singers Unlimited, "One More Time, Chuck Corea," inspired by Chuck Mangione and Chick Corea, has been adapted and used by marching bands, drum and bugle corps and jazz ensembles. He died just six days before his 79th birthday, due to complications from diabetes.

<i>Mecca for Moderns</i> 1981 studio album by The Manhattan Transfer

Mecca for Moderns is the sixth studio album by The Manhattan Transfer. It was released in 1981 by Atlantic Records.

Jermaine Paul American musician

Jermaine Paul is an American singer. He was the winner of the second season of The Voice. Prior to his The Voice stint, he was co-nominated at the 48th Grammy Awards for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, in a collaborative work with Alicia Keys as the featured artist.

"Let There Be Love" is a popular song with music by Lionel Rand and lyrics by Ian Grant, published in 1940.

Lawrence Benjamin Bunker was an American jazz drummer, vibraphonist, and percussionist. A member of the Bill Evans Trio in the mid-1960s, he also played timpani with the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra.

Matthew Gee was an American bebop trombonist and part-time actor.

<i>In Tune</i> (album) 1971 studio album by Oscar Peterson

In Tune is a 1971 studio album by The Oscar Peterson Trio and The Singers Unlimited.

<i>Romantically</i> 1963 studio album by Johnny Mathis

Romantically is an album by American pop singer Johnny Mathis that was released on November 18, 1963, by Columbia Records and was also the final original studio album recorded by Mathis for the label prior to his moving to Mercury Records. Mathis had recorded exclusively for Columbia from 1956 to 1963. After a brief stint with Mercury, he returned to Columbia in 1967. His first Mercury project, Sounds of Christmas, was actually released six weeks before this one, on October 4.

This Time It's Love is an album made by the American vocal group, The Hi-Lo's, with an orchestral accompaniment arranged and conducted by Clare Fischer, recorded and released on the Columbia label in 1962 as CL 1723 (mono)/CS 8523 (stereo).

The Four Voices were a 1950s vocal harmony quartet based in Tennessee that issued a succession of singles on Columbia Records.

This is the discography for American jazz musician Clare Fischer.

The Js with Jamie

The J's with Jamie was an American musical group specializing in commercial jingles in the 1950s and 1960s. The group's core members were Jamie and Joe Silvia, a married couple who played with a number of session musicians and other singers. They worked within the booming mid-20th century Chicago advertising industry in both radio and television with clients including well-known food companies, politicians, appliance manufacturers, and industry associations. The couple declined invitations to go on tour, opting to stay in Chicago with their family, but did record three albums for Columbia Records, including a combination of original songs and covers of standards and Broadway show tunes. At the 6th Annual Grammy Awards in 1964, The J's with Jamie were nominated in two categories: Best New Artist and Best Performance by a Vocal Group. Shortly before disbanding in 1967 to found a commercial production firm, the Silvias released another two albums as Jamie and the J. Silvia Singers.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 599. ISBN   1-85227-745-9.
  2. "Quartet Detail". Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  3. Feather, Leonard. "The Miracle Mix of Take 6 : Vocal group rates a 10 on the success scale". The Los Angeles Times. January 29, 1989. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  4. West, Michael J. "Herbie Hancock Remembers Clare Fischer". Jazz Times, 04-05-2013. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  5. Dellar, Fred. "Review: The Hi-Los - Nice Work If You Can Get It...". Q . EMAP Metro Ltd (Q118, July 1996): 138–139.

Further reading



Warner, Jay. "The 1950s". American Singing Groups: From 1940 to Today. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corporation. 2006. p. 224. ISBN   0-634-09978-7