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The Ink Spots
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    Born in Indianapolis, Indiana
    Members from 1936 to 1944:
    Bill Kenney (June 12, 1914-March 23, 1978), tenor
    Ivory 'Deek' Watson (July 18, 1909-November 4, 1969), tenor
    Orville 'Hoppy' Jones (February 17, 1902-October 18, 1944), bass
    Charlie Fuqua (October 20, 1910-December 21, 1971), baritone
    Recorded the singles 'If I Didn't Care' (1939), 'Address Unknown' (1939), 'My Prayer' (1939), 'When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano' (1940), 'Maybe' (1940), 'We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)' (1940), 'Until the Real Thing Comes Along' (1940), 'I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire' (1941), 'Don't Get Around Much Anymore' (1943), 'A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening' (1944), 'I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)' (1944), 'The Gypsy' (1946), 'Prisoner of Love' (1946), 'To Each His Own' (1946), 'You Were Only Fooling (While I Was Falling in Love)' (1948), 'You're Breaking My Heart' (1949) and 'It's No Secret' (1952)
    With Ella Fitzgerald recorded the singles 'Cow Cow Boogie' (1944), 'I'm Making Believe' (1944), 'Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall' (1944) and 'I'm Beginning to See the Light' (1945)
    Appeared in the films 'The Great American Broadcast' (1941) and 'Pardon My Sarong' (1942)
    The jazz magazine 'Downbeat' dismissed them as 'the ace schmaltz-dispensers of their race.'
    They appeared in ads for Manischewitz kosher wine. ('It harmonizes with us -- sweetly!')
    After they split, Kenney, Fuqua and Watson each led different 'Ink Spot' groups.
    Over the years, there have been more than 50 different Ink Spots, many with no members at all from their hit-making days.
    Their recording of 'If I Didn't Care' sold 19 million copies, making it one of the ten best-selling singles of all time.
    When they headlined over several white acts at the Monte Carlo club in Miami, 'Billboard' noted, 'Format is a racial departure for this territory, for even if Jim Crow laws are largely unwritten and there is no law prohibiting Negro entertainers from working in white places or with white acts, no operator in the Deep South has ever had the nerve to try it.'
    Their 'top and bottom' format, which alternated verses between Kenney's high tenor and Jones' bass, was a major influence rhythm and blues singing, especially doo-wop.
    They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame (1999) and, as an early influence, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1989).

Credit: C. Fishel

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