formed in Philadelphia circa 1950. According to an article in the e-zine JammUpp, the group featured vocalist and pianist Curtis Harmon and built its reputation thanks to a relentless touring schedule that included extended, months-long stays at nightclubs, including Montreal's Maroon Club, Hamilton, Ontario's Golden Rail and Jenkintown, PA's Castle Inn.
In June 1952 the Top Notes
signed to the Jubilee label to record their debut single, "For Love of All" -- a minor regional hit; it was followed that November by "To Be Yours Forever." As the year drew to a close the Top Notes
added vocalist Beulah Frazier, late of Beulah and the Mellow Fellows, in time for an extended headline run at Philadelphia's Red Rooster; in the spring of 1953 the group moved on to the nearby Chateau, soon releasing its third Jubilee single "I'll Always Love You Some." "I'm Still in Love With You" was their final Jubilee effort, and here the Top Notes
' story becomes murky -- while this iteration of the group continued performing throughout the northeastern U.S. through at least 1957, as of this writing it remains unknown whether there is any connection to another R&B group called the Top Notes
that signed to Atlantic in 1960. Featuring vocalists Derek Ray and Guy Howard, this lineup made its Atlantic debut with "A Wonderful Time," soon followed by "Say Man." In 1961, they released their reading of Bert Berns and Phil Medley's composition "Twist and Shout" -- although the record inspired the Isley Brothers
to cut a cover version a year later, and the Beatles
to wax their own definitive rendition a year after that, the original was not a hit and Atlantic terminated the Top Notes
' contract. After two final singles -- 1962's Festival release "Wait for Me Baby," and the following year's ABC-Paramount effort "I Love You So Much" -- the Top Notes
finally faded from sight.