The Outsiders (American band)

The Outsiders (American band)

Infobox musical artist |
Name = The Outsiders

Img_capt = The Outsiders (1966)
Img_size =
Background = group_or_band
Alias =
Origin = Cleveland, Ohio
Genre = Rock and roll
Garage rock
Years_active = 1965-1968
Label = Capitol Records
Associated_acts = The Starfires
Current_members =
Past_members = Tom King
Sonny Geraci
Chet Kelley
Mert Madsen
Al Austin
Ronnie Harkai
Bennie Benson
Ricky Baker
Bill Bruno
Jimmy (Jim) Fox
Bob Turek
Walter Nims
Mike Geraci
Evan Vanguard
Tommy Baker
Richard D'Amato
Richie D'Angelo
Dan Donavan

"The Outsiders" were an American rock and roll group from Cleveland, Ohio, that was founded and led by guitarist Tom King. The band is best known for its Top 5 hit "Time Won't Let Me" in early 1966, which peaked at #5 in the US, but the band had several other hit singles and released a total of four albums in the mid-1960s.

History of the Band

First Single

"The Outsiders" were a continuation of the Starfires "(see article)"; a total of eight former "Starfires" were members of "the Outsiders" at one time or another. In 1964, "the Starfires" had added future "Outsiders" frontman Sonny Geraci on lead vocals and his brother Mike Geraci on sax. In an interview, Sonny Geraci stated: " [The Starfires] were a few years older than me.... When I joined the group, I kind of like, pushed them to record and change the drummer and change the guitar player." James, Gary. Interview with Sonny Geraci. [] . Retrieved 19 Mar 2008. ]

The band was signed to Capitol Records on the strength of their late 1965 recording of "Time Won't Let Me" (written by Tom King and his brother-in-law, Chet Kelley), leaving a local recording label headed by King's uncle, Patrick Connelly (Pama Records); at this time, the band's name was changed. (Most of the band's original songs were written by King and Kelley, although another songwriter, Bob Turek was working with the band by 1967). Reasons for the name change were unclear, although most sources state that it was at the insistence of their new record label.Eder, Bruce, All Music Guide, [ Biography of the Outsiders] . Retrieved 5 Feb 2008. ] One popular story about the new name was that Tom King and Chet Kelley had become "outsiders" within the family as a result of the label shift. Eder, Bruce, Yahoo! Music, [ "The Outsiders" biography] . Retrieved 17 Sept. 2007.]


"The Outsiders" promoted their hit single with about a year of nationwide touring. (Although their music was released in other countries, the band never toured overseas). As recounted by Sonny Geraci in a recent interview, they first toured with Paul Revere and the Raiders and then with Chad and Jeremy. His favorite was a six-week tour of one-night stands that was headed by Gene Pitney and included seven or eight other acts, among them Len Barry, B.J. Thomas and Bobby Goldsboro. Afterwards, "the Outsiders" joined a four-week tour with several of the best garage rock and psychedelic rock bands of the period: " [W] e did a tour after Pitney with the McCoys, ourselves and ? and the Mysterians, the Shadows of Knight and a group from the west coast called the Seeds. There were five rock bands. Was that a crazy tour!"

Later Records

As is true of many bands in the Cleveland area in this time period, there were several line-up changes over the years, with Tom King and Mert Madsen from the original "Starfires" along with new vocalist Sonny Geraci forming the core of the band in the early years. After drummer Ronnie Harkai left the band to join the Air Force, Bennie Benson and then Ricky Baker (real name: Rick Biagiola) handled drumming duties for a period of time. Also, in a 1972 interview with the Raspberries, Jim Bonfanti – who was also a member of the Choir – told "Phonograph Record Magazine" that he was the drummer on "Respectable" and "Girl In Love." Krider, Don. Outsiders biography on [] . Retrieved 8 Feb 2008. ] Following the charting success of their follow-up single "Girl in Love", former "Starfire" Jimmy Fox (who had left the earlier band to go to college) was brought in by King to be the drummer for the remaining tracks of their debut LP, "Time Won't Let Me". After these sessions, Fox decided to return to the music world and founded a band in 1966 called the James Gang that would enjoy considerable success over the coming decade.

A cover of the Isley Brothers' "Respectable" from their second album, "Album #2" reached the Top 15. "Respectable" was their third single and had been performed by the band during their earlier years as "the Starfires". Although it includes only this one single and few of their better known songs, "Album #2" is regarded by many as their best album.

A promising single by outside songwriters, "Help Me Girl" (from "The Outsiders In") had to compete with a version that was released in the same time period by the hot English band the Animals as a follow-up to their hit version of "See See Rider". By some accounts, the Animals had already recorded their version, although they assured them this was not the case. Continuing the band's streak of bad luck, these songwriters offered the band another song; although included on their third album, "Bend Me, Shape Me" was not released as a single. In 1968, this song became a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic when it was covered by the American Breed in the USA and by Amen Corner in the UK.

After original bandmember Mert Madsen left the group to get married, two other ex-"Starfires", Walter Nims and Richard D'Amato, plus Richie D'Angelo on drums had joined the band. In the 1967-1968 period, other session players were brought in to beef up the band's recordings, among them drummer Hal Blaine and bassist Carol Kaye; also, some recordings were produced by Richard Delvy, who had worked with Sonny and Cher. Joe Kelley (apparently no relation to Chet Kelley), lead guitarist for the Shadows of Knight made a guest appearance on the 1967 single "Gotta Leave Us Alone" (one of many singles by the band that does not appear on any of their four albums), the last of the band's singles to make the Billboard charts.

Capitol gave tentative approval to the band to proceed with their fourth album, which was to have been named after this single, "Leave Us Alone". However, the project was abandoned midway through the studio recording process, in favor of a faux "live album" called "Happening Live!", where crowd noises plus song and bandmember introductions by Sonny Geraci were added to stripped-down studio renditions of older recordings, along with some recordings by the new line-up. Not long thereafter, the group disbanded.

Post Break-Up

In 1970, Sonny Geraci organized a new band in Los Angeles that included Walter Nims and released two singles under the name "the Outsiders featuring Sonny Geraci"; the "O" in Outsiders was a peace symbol. Meanwhile, Tom King was still heading a band called "the Outsiders" back in Cleveland, and this band also released a single "the Outsiders (featuring Jon Simonell)"; Simonell was the new lead singer who had replaced Geraci. King won a lawsuit in 1970 about the ownership of the name. Biography of the band on [] . Retrieved 18 Mar 2008. ] Geraci's band name was then changed to Climax "(see article)" and later scored a Number One hit in 1972 with "Precious and Few".

Geraci left the music business in 1980 and spent about five years in sales in his family's home improvement business. In about 1985, he began appearing with several other mid-1960s bands as "oldies" acts and continues to appear in live concerts to this day. Along the way, he has released a handful of solo CDs. Despite the earlier lawsuit about the name, Sonny Geraci began touring in 2007 as "Sonny Geraci and the Outsiders".

The most recent album by "the Outsiders", called "30 Years Live" was released in 1996 and reissued in 2006; two of the original members, Tom King and Walter Nims were on board (though not Sonny Geraci). The performances were taken from two live concerts in 1991 in Cleveland, Ohio and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Musical Highlights

"The Outsiders" were one of the few white American soul-influenced bands at the time. In fact, one of the band's songs from their second album, "Lonely Man" was bootlegged by a small British label and released in the UK, credited to Northern Soul band "the Detroit Shakers" and retitled "Help Me Find My Way." [ [ "Bomp List" archives] , 8 Dec. 2001. Retrieved 17 Sept. 2007.]

The band is best known for its first record, the 1966 hit single "Time Won't Let Me", which reached as high as #5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Other Top 40 songs by "the Outsiders" include their second single "Girl In Love" (a King-Kelley ballad that hit #21), "Respectable" (a song written by The Isley Brothers) that reached #15, and "Help Me Girl" (which stalled at #37 when it was covered by the Animals).

One indication that "the Outsiders" are not a standard-issue 1960s American band is found on the last track of the "Happening Live" album. Though shown on the track listing as the familiar Rascals hit "Good Lovin'", the song is actually "Good Good Lovin'" by James Brown.

trategic Missteps

In retrospect, had the band's manager, Roger Karshner, not gone against the grain and released "Girl in Love" after "Time Won't Let Me", "Respectable" might have been a Top 10 hit as well. This horn-laced track carried on the unique "Mersey Rock-Motown" combination sound that had exploded "the Outsiders" earlier onto the charts. That decision by Karshner slowed down "the Outsiders"' momentum. Not releasing the singles "Lonely Man" and particularly "Bend Me, Shape Me" with Sonny Geraci on lead vocals also undermined their ability to keep pumping singles into the Top 10. Karshner had a lot of influence with Capitol Records at the time, being one of their most proficient A&R guys. He made "the Outsiders" an instant success with his radio connections, but his management decisions really stymied the group long term.

"The Outsiders" created a unique sound with "Time Won't Let Me". The group produced all of their material in Cleveland, spearheaded by the many talents of Tom King, and Sonny Geraci's vision to take "the Outsiders" to another level. The sound they first created (combining Mersey Rock & Motown) can be traced to the later hits of the Buckinghams and Chicago. Jim Guercio, who would work with both of these Chicago groups as their manager, toured with "the Outsiders" as a musician on the Gene Pitney Caravan and incorporated this same sound combination in many of the hits he produced for both the Buckinghams and the early hits of Chicago.


"The Outsiders" had a built-in advantage over the numerous American bands that formed in the wake of the British Invasion: Rather than being neophytes, "the Starfires" had been a very active rhythm and blues band in the Cleveland scene since 1958, often playing six shows a week. Tom King and Chet Kelley proved to be a formidable songwriting team, and the band was also adept at handling covers of R&B standards. King also headed the band's horn section and served as the arranger and sometime producer. According to All Music Guide: "Part of the secret behind "the Outsiders"' musical success lay in the group's embellishments [with horns and strings] , which slotted in perfectly with their basic three- or four-piece instrumental sound. . . . [H] owever bold and ambitious they got, one never lost the sense of a hard, solid band sound at the core. With Geraci's magnificent singing out front, it was impossible for anyone with an ear for soul not to love how this group sounded, on their album tracks as well as their singles."

The music world has been slow to give "The Outsiders" the credit for the way that their rock n' roll classic, "Time Won't Let Me", influenced many of the pop rock groups of the mid and late 60's. Due in part to the fact that "Time Won't Let Me" is still prominent on oldies radio playlists, with their fine later singles being mostly omitted, the general public seems to regard "the Outsiders" as a "one hit wonder" band.

Still, "the Outsiders" have gathered a cachet of "cool" over the years that other American bands of the period have not enjoyed. As one of the few mainstream hit songs to make the grade, "Time Won't Let Me" earned a slot on the landmark reissue as a box set of the classic garage rock compilation album "". Also, one of their songs, "I'm Not Trying to Hurt You" was included in the Pebbles series on the "Pebbles, Volume 9" LP. "Time Won't Let Me" has been covered numerous times, by everyone from Iggy Pop to Radio Birdman. Bill Scheft wrote his second novel called "Time Won't Let Me" about a garage rock band being discovered by record collectors and then attempting to recapture their glory days as the bandmembers approached the age of 50; the book was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2006.


Although the original "Outsiders" LPs have never been individually reissued as CDs, the band's four Capitol albums have been released on CD as "two-fer" packages on Liberty Bell Records, along with bonus tracks. Rhino Records released "Best of the Outsiders" in 1985, while Collectables Records has also released a "Capitol Collectors Series" retrospective album on CD.

Post Break-Up

Lead singer Sonny Geraci went on to score a major hit, "Precious And Few", as lead singer of the band Climax. The song was written by former "Outsiders" lead guitarist "Walter Nims".

Jim Fox, who had also previously been in the Starfires, was the founder of the James Gang, a popular Cleveland rock band in the late 1960s and 1970's.

Band Members

=The Starfires/The Outsiders 1965 ("Time Won't Let Me" Single) =

* Tom King, "rhythm guitar, tenor saxophone, vocals, arranger"
* Sonny Geraci, "lead vocals"
* Mert Madsen, "bass guitar"
* Al Austin, "lead guitar"
* Howard Blank, "drums"

=The Outsiders (Basic Line-Up) =

* Tom King, "rhythm guitar, , tenor saxophone, vocals, arranger"
* Sonny Geraci, "lead vocals"
* Mert Madsen, "bass guitar"
* Bill Bruno, "lead guitar"
* Jimmy Fox, "drums"

The Outsiders (Other Musicians)

* Chet Kelley, "songwriter"
* Bob Turek, "songwriter"
* Mike Geraci, "saxophone"
* Evan Vanguard, "horns"
* Tommy Baker, "horns and strings arrangements"

=The Outsiders (1967 "Live" Album)=

* Tom King, "rhythm guitar, tenor saxophone, vocals, arranger"
* Sonny Geraci, "lead vocals"
* Richard D'Amato, "bass guitar"
* Walter Nims, "lead guitar"
* Richie D'Angelo, "drums"

The Outsiders (1991 "30 Years Live" Album) [Listing on [] . ]

* Tom King, "guitar, background vocals"
* Walter Nims, "guitar, background vocals"
* Rob Mitchell, "vocals, bass guitar"
* Eddie Soto, "vocals"
* Ted Sikora, "guitar, background vocals"
* Dave Hershy, "horns"
* Joe Potnicky, "keyboards"
* Dan King, "drums"
* Rusty Schmidt, "vocals"
* Nick Farcas, "keyboards"
* Scott Ingram, "bass guitar"


"(Numbers in parentheses indicate Billboard chart peak positions)"


Initial Releases by the Original Band

*"Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Was It Really Real" – Capitol #5573; rel. 2/1966 (#5), "yellow/orange swirl label"
*"Girl In Love" b/w "What Makes You So Bad, You Weren't Brought Up That Way" – Capitol #5646; rel. 5/1966 (#21)
*"Respectable" b/w "Lost In My World" – Capitol #5701; rel. 8/1966 (#15)
*"Help Me Girl" b/w "You Gotta Look" – Capitol #5759; rel. 10/1966 (#37)
*"I'll Give You Time To Think It Over" b/w "I'm Not Trying To Hurt You" – Capitol #5843; rel. 3/1967 (#118):"Picture sleeve erroneously shows B-side title as "I Don't Want To Hurt You"
*"Gotta Leave Us Alone" b/w "I Just Can't See You Anymore – Capitol #P-5892, "promo; pale green label"
*"Gotta Leave Us Alone" b/w "I Just Can't See You Anymore – Capitol #5892; rel. 5/1967 (#121)
*"I'll See You In The Summertime" b/w "And Now You Want My Sympathy" – Capitol #5955; rel. 7/1967
*"Little Bit Of Lovin'" b/w "I Will Love You" – Capitol #P-2055, "promo; pale green label"
*"Little Bit Of Lovin'" b/w "I Will Love You" – Capitol #2055; rel. 12/1967 (#117)
*"We Ain't Gonna Make It" b/w "Oh How It Hurts" – Capitol #P-2216, "promo; pale green label"
*"We Ain't Gonna Make It" b/w "Oh How It Hurts" – Capitol #2216; rel. 6/1968

Reissues and Releases outside the U.S.

*"Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Was It Really Real" – Capitol #5573, "red and orange label with target logo"
*"Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Girl in Love" – Capitol/Star-line #K-6165 (two-sided hit reissue), "violet label"
*"Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Girl in Love" – Capitol/Star-line #6165 (two-sided hit reissue), "red and white label"
*"Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Girl in Love" – Capitol/Star-line #6165 (two-sided hit reissue), "tan label"
*"Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Was It Really Real" – Capitol #K 23187; rel. 1966 in West Germany, "violet label"
*"Respectable" b/w "Lost In My World" – Jolly #J-20387; rel. in 1966 in Italy

The Outsiders feat. Jon Simonell

*"Tinker Tailor" b/w "Oh, You're Not So Pretty" – Kapp #K-2104; rel. 1970

The Outsiders/Climax

*"Lovin' You" b/w "Think I'm Fallin'"
*"Changes" b/w "Lost In My World" – Bell #B-904; rel. 9/1970 (#107)


*"Listen People" and "Keep on Running" b/w "Time Won't Let Me" and "Maybe Baby" – Capitol #EAP-4-2501; rel. 1967 in Brazil, "7"
*"Keep on Running" and "My Girl" b/w "Time Won't Let Me" and "Was it Really Real" – American #TK-45, "black and yellow label; 7"


tudio Albums

*"Time Won't Let Me" – Capitol #T-2501/#ST-2501; rel. 5/1966 (#37)
*"Album #2" – Capitol #T-2568/#ST-2568; rel. 9/1966 (#90)
*"The Outsiders In" – Capitol #T-2636/#ST-2636; rel. 1/1967 (Did not chart)
*"Leave Us Alone" – Capitol (no catalogue number; cancelled before release)

Live Albums

*"Happening Live!" – Capitol #T-2745/#ST-2745; rel. 8/1967 (#103)
*"30 Years Live" – Collectables; rel. 1996

Reissues and Releases outside the U.S.

*"Happening Live!" – Capitol #POP 672; rel. in Mexico
*"Time Won't Let Me" and "Album #2" (plus bonus tracks); two-fer CD reissue – Liberty Bell #PCD 4365
*"The Outsiders In!" and "Happening Live!" (plus bonus tracks); two-fer CD reissue – Liberty Bell #PCD 4366

Retrospective Albums

*"Capitol Collectors Series" – Capitol
*"Best of the Outsiders" – Rhino #RNLP 70132 / #RNC 70132; rel. 1986
*"Collectors Series" – Collectables; rel. 1991

Compilation Albums [ "Ugly Things" fanzine, [ "Searchin' for Shakes" on-line database] .]

"Time Won't Let Me"

# "" (box set)
# "Nuggets from Nuggets" (CD)
# "Nuggets, Volume 3" (LP)
# "Pride from Cleveland Past" (LP)"As a mainstream hit song, "Time Won't Let Me" has also been included on many other compilation albums"

"I'm Not Trying to Hurt You"

# "Pebbles, Volume 9" (LP)

"Lost in My World"

# "Nuggets, Volume 4" (LP)

"And Now You Want My Sympathy"

# "Psychedelic Archives – USA Garage, Volume 1 (Cassette)



*The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 7th ed. by Joel Whitburn (2000)

External links

* Yahoo Music bio

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