Although there were many exceptions, the majority of the groups that specialized in the type of close-harmony singing known as doo-wop fell into two categories. The earliest was the R&B-inspired music that mostly came out of the black urban environment, but close on its heels was the sound of the Italian-American groups, mostly originating in the big Eastern cities. Randy and the Rainbows was just such a group, and their hit “Denise” is still one of the most familiar songs from the era.
Randy and the Rainbows was a quintet that originated in the Queens section of New York, and was formed by two sets of brothers joined by another singing pal. By the early Sixties brothers Frank and Dominick “Randy” Safuto had already bounced around the New York music scene for a while, as had Mike and Sal Zero. When the four got together and added Ken Arcipowski to the mix, they began to call themselves Randy and the Rainbows, and it wasn’t long before they were able to make it into a recording studio.
In 1963 they recorded a song written by Neil Levenson, one that was inspired by a friend of his (who actually spelled her name Denice) and that would later become “Denis,” a minor hit for Blondie. But as “Denise,” performed by Randy and the Rainbows, the song would have its biggest success, becoming a Top Ten hit.
Although the group would continue to record after their big hit, and would sell some records with the similar-sounding “Why Do Kids Grow Up” (video below), Randy and The Rainbows would never reach the level of their one big song. But through the years the band has come together a number of times and in various configurations, and its members have had some success on the Oldies circuit. Additionally, both Randy Safuto and Mike Zero maintain websites dedicated to their group and its glory days.