The Ames Brothers were a singing quartet from Malden, Massachusetts, who were particularly famous in the 1950s for their traditional pop music hits.[1]


The Ames Brothers got their beginning in Malden, where all four were born. The act consisted of brothers Joe (May 3, 1921 – December 22, 2007), Gene (born February 13, 1923 – April 4, 1997), Vic (May 20, 1925 – January 23, 1978) and Ed (born July 9, 1927).

Born into a non-professional, but musically talented family, the boys were raised to enjoy classical and operatic music. Their parents, David and Sarah Urick, were Russian Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine who read Shakespeare and semi-classics to their nine children from the time they were old enough to listen.

The brothers formed a quartet with a cousin named Lennie, and had been touring United States Army and Navy bases entertaining the troops and were offered a job at The Fox and Hounds nightclub, one of the fanciest clubs in Boston. This one-week engagement turned into several months when the word got around of their appearance. At the time, they were going by the name of the Amory Brothers, a name taken from Vic's middle name and they were becoming quite popular in the area. It was at this time that Joe decided to rejoin the group. He said they were just having too much fun together for him to miss out.[citation needed] Taking their act to New York City they got a job with bandleader Art Mooney. One day while at Leeds Publishing Company in search of a song called "Should I" that their mother had asked them to sing, Milt Gabler of Decca Records overheard them singing it and asked them to cut a few sides for Decca Records just before the AFM recording ban which James Petrillo imposed in January 1948.

A year later when the ban was lifted, the Ames Brothers were the first artists to record for Coral Records. The name Amory was shortened to Ames. They were swept into national top billing with their first hit record, "Rag Mop", in January 1950. Doing radio shows for free at times just for the experience, they later became regulars on such shows as Arthur Godfrey and His Friends. One of the first acts to appear on the original The Ed Sullivan Show when it was known as Toast of the Town, they made their debut with him when the show was telecast live from Wanamaker's Department Store.

Soon, they were the top paid group in nightclubs and supperclubs everywhere and their popularity on television was nationwide. In 1956 they starred in their own show, The Ames Brothers Show, which was seen on Friday nights. It was the first syndicated television show to be shown in foreign countries. The brothers also appeared on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.

Over their fifteen-year career, their prolific work notched up 49 US chart entries, 21 of them on the Coral label before signing with RCA Victor. The group disbanded in the early 1960s, but Ed Ames continued with a successful singing and acting career,[1] including playing Daniel Boone's sidekick, Mingo, on the popular Daniel Boone television series (1964–1970).

They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Ed Ames, as the youngest brother, is the only surviving member of the group. Vic died in a car accident in 1978 at age 52,[2] Gene died of cancer in 1997 at age 74,[3] and Joe died of a heart attack in 2007 at age 86.[4]


Hit singles

Year Single Chart positions
Hot 100 Cashbox Singles Charts UK[5]
1948 "A Tree In the Meadow" with Monica Lewis 21
1949 "You, You, You Are the One" 23
"Cruising Down the River" 29
1950 "Rag Mop" 1
"Sentimental Me" 1
"(Put Another Nickel In) Music! Music! Music!" 14
"Stars Are the Windows of Heaven" 17
"Can Anyone Explain (No, No, No)" 5
"Thirsty For Your Kisses" 26
"Oh Babe!" 20
"The Thing" 29
1951 "Wang Wang Blues" 16
"Hawaiian War Chant" 21
"Undecided" 2
"Sentimental Journey" 23
1952 "I Wanna Love You" 19
"I'll Still Love You" 29
"Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart " 13
"String Along" 18 16
"My Favorite Song" 15 12
1953 "No Moon At All" 21 19
"Can't I?" 23
"You You You" 1 1
"My Love, My Life, My Happiness" 29 19
"I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me" 22 40
"Boogie Woogie Maxixe" 25
1954 "The Man With the Banjo" 6 8
"Man, Man, Is For the Woman Made" 30 25
"Leave It To Your Heart" 29 27
"Let's Walk and Talk" 48
"Hopelessly" 26
"One More Time" 44
"The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" 3 3 6
"Addio" 40
1955 "Sweet Brown-Eyed Baby" 28
"My Bonnie Lassie" 11 16
1956 "Forever Darling" 35 27
"I'm Gonna Love You" 84
"It Only Hurts For a Little While" 11 14
"If You Wanna See Mamie Tonight" 89
"49 Shades of Green" 49
"Summer Sweetheart" 67
"I Saw Esau" 51
1957 "Tammy" 5 10
"Rockin' Shoes" 64 41
"Melodie D'Amour (Melody of Love)" 5 7
1958 "Little Gypsy" 67
"A Very Precious Love" 23 53
"Stay" 90
"Little Serenade" 98 45
"Pussy Cat" 17 36
"No One But You (In My Heart)" 45 34
"Red River Rose" 37 33
1959 "Someone To Come Home To" 78 84
"Take Me Along" 124
1960 "China Doll" 38 69
1963 "Washington Square" 129


  • Sing a Song of Christmas (1950)
  • Exactly Like You (1956)
  • There'll Always Be a Christmas with Sid Ramin's Orchestra (1957)
  • Destination Moon with Sid Ramin's Orchestra (1958)
  • Smoochin' Time with Sid Ramin's Orchestra (1958)
  • The Ames Brothers Sing the Best in the Country (1959)
  • The Ames Brothers Sing Famous Hits of Famous Quartets with Hugo Winterhalter and His Orchestra (1959)
  • Hello Amigos with Esquivel's Orchestra (1960)
  • The Blend and the Beat (1960)
  • For Sentimental Reasons (1964)


  1. ^ a b "Joe Ames, the Eldest Member of the 1950s Singing Group the Ames Brothers, Dies at 86". The New York Times. January 17, 2008. 
  2. ^ Doc Rock. "The 1970s". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  3. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1996 - 1997". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  4. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2007 July To December". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 22. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

Further reading

  • Clarke, Donald. The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Viking 1989.
  • Larkin, Colin. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Third edition, Macmillan, 1998.
  • Kinkle, Roger D. The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz, 1900–1950, Arlington, 1974.
  • Whitburn, Joel. Joel Whitburn's Pop memories 1890–1954. The history of American popular music compiled form America's popular music charts 1890–1954, Record Research Inc., 1986.