Among the many doo-wop groups that were based in Brooklyn during the 1950s and 1960s, only a few were racially mixed. One of those was a quartet called the Impalas, which had a huge hit with 1959’s “Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home).” Unfortunately, the group would never manage to replicate the success of that one big record.
The Impalas came together in the late 1950s when lead singer Joe ‘Speedo’ Frazier (who was just 15 at the time), joined up with Richard Wagner, Lenny Renda, and Tony Carlucci. The four guys managed to sign on with a small record company, but not too much happened until they latched onto a better deal with Cub Records, a respected MGM subsidiary.
It was put together in a creative way, as was often the case in those days. In this particular instance, superstar DJ Alan Freed helped broker the deal and was in turn added to the writing credits for the group’s first recording, “Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home).” In any case, it didn’t take long for the record to rise in popularity, eventually making it nearly to the top of the pop charts and just missing the Top Ten on R&B charts.
The Impalas continued to make records with similar songs, like “Oh What A Fool” and “(You Want) Too Much Too Soon,” and also tried something a little different with “Speed Up.” But even though the guys managed to generate enough for an album, things went downhill pretty fast and the group eventually dissolved. Although Frazier went on to sing with other outfits and occasionally restarted the Impalas in one form or the other, there’s not much info available about his buddies from the original group.