Lo­cal band fea­tured in mu­sic magazine

Lit­tle Tommy and the El­gins graced the cover of ‘Echoes of the Past’

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Lu­cas Rodgers lrodgers@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Lu­casMRodgers on Twit­ter

Lo­cal band Lit­tle Tommy and the El­gins was re­cently fea­tured in the cover story of a mu­sic magazine called “Echoes of the Past.”

The doo wop band was formed by five young men from Coatesville when they were stu­dents at Scott High School – Tommy Bryant, Arnold Run­ner, Cur­tis Allen, Nathan Al­ston and James Toland.

Toland told the Daily Lo­cal News it was a happy oc­ca­sion to travel to Philadel­phia with Al­ston and Allen to do the in­ter­view with Bob Bosco, who wrote the story that was pub­lished in “Echoes of the Past.” Bryant passed away a cou­ple of years ago, and Run­ner is also de­ceased, Toland said.

Toland, who is now 80, said he’s been in the city for 75 years. He said he and his fel­low band mem­bers formed the doo wop group be­cause they used to prac­tice mu­sic on the streets of Coatesville for fun. He said the band was orig­i­nally go­ing by the name, Lit­tle Tommy and the Germs, but then they ended up us­ing the El­gins moniker, named after the watches that were man­u­fac­tured in El­gin, Illi­nois. Toland said Al­ston and Allen were the gui­tarists for the band, while he, Bryant and Run­ner per­formed vo­cals. He said they also used to tour with an­other doo wop band called the Rocket Tones.

Lit­tle Tommy and the El­gins played at many col­lege cam­puses in Penn­syl­va­nia, such as Muh­len­berg Col­lege and Ship­pens­burg Univer­sity, Toland said. He said many of the band­stands were at fire sta­tions, so they would play there, and they also played at some venues in New Jersey.

Toland said one the band’s big­gest con­certs was at the Steel Pier in At­lantic City in the sum­mer of 1962, and many of their fans from Coatesville made the trip out to the shore to see them play. He said the con­cert was also broad­cast in

black and white on Grady and Hurst’s “Sum­mer­time on the Pier” tele­vi­sion show.

Lit­tle Tommy and the El­gins’ two most well-known hit songs are “I Walk On” and “Never Love Again.” The band had record deals with three com­pa­nies for these songs: El­mar, ABC-Paramount and Spar­ton. He said their first band man­ager un­der El­mar Records was a man named Billy Jack­son, from Philadel­phia, who was a found­ing mem­ber of an­other doo wop band called the Re-Vels. Ac­cord­ing to Bosco’s ar­ti­cle in “Echoes of the Past,” Jack­son later went on to work with other well-known mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing: the Tymes, Ron­nie Dyson, Miles Davis, and Aretha Franklin.

Toland said he hopes some of the young peo­ple in Coatesville to­day will draw in­spi­ra­tion from the story of Lit­tle Tommy and the El­gins to get to­gether and do things in­stead of be­ing out on the streets. He said he’s also work­ing on start­ing a youth group at his church, the Hutchin­son Memo­rial UAME Church on Ch­est­nut Street in Coatesville.

Ac­cord­ing to Bosco’s ar­ti­cle, after Toland left show business, he worked for the Coatesville Veter­ans Af­fairs Med­i­cal Cen­ter and then the Ea­gleville Hos­pi­tal for 26 years, and he’s now re­tired. Toland still lives in Coatesville with his wife, Brenda. To­gether they have seven chil­dren, 15 grand­chil­dren and eight great­grand­chil­dren.

Fol­low Dig­i­tal First Me­dia staff writer Lu­cas M. Rodgers on Twit­ter @Lu­casMRodgers and on Face­book at www.face­book.com/ lu­casmrodgers.

Toland said he’s work­ing on start­ing a youth group at his church, the Hutchin­son Memo­rial UAME Church on Ch­est­nut Street in Coatesville.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.