Gary U.S. Bonds
Gary U.S. Bonds was born June 6, 1939 in Jacksonville, Florida. His father, Gary, was a professor at Hampton University and his mother, Irene, was a music teacher. He was raised in Norfolk, Virginia where every Sunday he would sing in the church choir (at the insistence of his grandmother, Margaret).
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As a teenager, he formed a singing group called the "Turks". The "Turks" were four High School buddies that included Melvin "D.D." McNair, Hollis "Frizell" Coleman, and Thomas "Moose" High (Raymond Haskins and Hermione Gross later replaced Mcnair and High). The group had won and placed at several different talent shows and spent their spare time singing on the corner of Granville Avenue and Park (outside of "Boones Market") in the Brambleton section of Norfolk.
Frank Guida, a local record distributor, would pass by the group several times on his way to work every day. Finally, he stopped to speak with the kids. He told them he had plans of owning his own label one day and he wanted them to sign on. Well, a couple of years later he did start his label (LeGrand) and opened a studio. Only now, the group had disbanded, with everyone going their own way. Gary was the only member that had chosen to make a career out of singing. So, LeGrand records became the home some of the most unique sounding hits of that time, with one of the most influential voices of Rock 'n Roll guiding the way.
One night in 1962, after he finished his show in Atlantic City, Gary decided to stop in at another club on the boardwalk. It was there that he met a young vocalist named Laurie Cedeno, who was performing that night. Laurie had once been a member of The "Love Notes" and recorded the now classic hit, "United." Billy Vera, in the liner notes of Rhino's Doo Wop box set, states: "The 'Love Notes' boasted the most beautiful female Doo Wop singer of all time." Gary must have felt the same way, because he married her soon after they met. After their daughter was born they moved from Norfolk to New York and remain there to this day.
Laurie has continued her career, branching out into Country and Western and Latin music. She also joins Gary on stage along with their daughter, suppling background vocals.
Gary and his daughter, (also named Laurie), have written and produced several songs together. They are currently working on new material for Gary, as well as teaming up with Muhammad Ali and Yank Barry (President/CEO of Global Village Market) on a venture that will come to the aid of millions of needy children.
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