Published On: Fri, Jan 30th, 2015

Little Anthony & the Imperials’ Farewell Tour comes to Boca Raton this Saturday

Listening to “Little Anthony” Gourdine sing, it’s difficult to imagine that 2015 marks 57 years since he entered the public eye with his group, the Imperials.  One of the very few late-fifties-era vocal groups to successfully re-invent themselves and sustain a successful recording career into the decade that followed, Little Anthony and the Imperials are now making the rounds on their Farewell Tour which stops in Boca Raton, Florida this Saturday.

Little Anthony & the Imperials

Clockwise from L: “Little Anthony” Gourdine, Robert Deblanc, Johnny Britt, Ernest Wright

Formed in Brooklyn, New York, the Imperials’ road to stardom began with 1958’s “Tears on My Pillow”, featuring Anthony on lead, lamenting, “You don’t remember me, but I remember you.”  They quickly followed with hits “Two People in the World” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop,” but splintered shortly after.  In an unprecedented meteoric comeback, the quartet traded their skin and returned to the charts in 1964 and 1965 with “I’m On The Outside (Looking In)”, “Goin’ Out Of My Head”, “Hurt So Bad”, “I Miss You So” and “Take Me Back.”

Following a high-profile reunion of the original members in 1992, Little Anthony & the Imperials found themselves on television shows such as Today and Late Night with David Letterman and TV specials including  Dick Clark’s 40th Anniversary of American Bandstand and the ubiquitous PBS vintage rock and roll pledge drive concerts.  They were called on stage by Paul Simon to perform on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s televised anniversary concerts and they were inducted into the Rock Hall by admirer Smokey Robinson.  Recognition from the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Long Island Music Hall of Fame and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation have all provided validation of the group’s success importance in the history of American music.

Never content to trade solely on past successes, Anthony recently performed at a charity event in Los Angeles alongside Justin Bieber and Stevie Wonder.  His blog features a picture of Taylor Swift with her arm draped over his shoulder and his new book has launched him on a solo tour sharing stories of the luminaries with whom he’s crossed paths, from Sinatra to Mohamed Ali and everyone in between.

Saturday’s show in Boca Raton will feature Little Anthony & the Imperials with their band, complete with a live brass section, performing all their hits and some more recent audience favorites as well.  Sonny Turner, the former lead singer of the Platters, will open the show.  Turner is back by popular demand for the third straight year at the venue, where he routinely receives 4 to 5 standing ovations per performance.

               Little Anthony & The Imperials, with special guest Sonny Turner, perform as part of “Pop, Rock & Doo Wopp Live!”, presented by Premier Concert Group and Praia Entertainment Group, Saturday, January 31 at the Carole & Barry Kaye Auditorium on the campus of Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Rd, Boca Raton.  Tickets, available at www.poprockdoowopp.com or by phone at 561-299-5499 are $39-$72 with VIP tickets including premium seating and an opportunity to meet the artists after the show.   The concert is sponsored in part by The Boca Raton Tribune.

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  1. Fantastic performers and really regular gentlemen! I’m definitely going to miss the impact they have onstage but I will have great memories. It has been a privilege meeting them and sharing the stage with them and I’m wishing continued success in every new endeavor. God bless Little Anthony & the Imperials!

  2. Beverly Rhett says:

    In my early years of pre-teendom, my mother had a collection of their records; I came of age in the Motown era but always considered Little Anthony and the Imperials one of the best vocal groups of all times.

  3. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and know that Anthony and The Imperials won’t be touring anymore is sad. Gladly they are scheduled to appear on this year’s Malt Shop Memories Cruise and we will be on board to see them.

  4. Carole McCarthy says:

    So wish they were coming to perform in the uk

  5. Herman Velez says:

    When Anthony moved to the Chesters from the Duponts a milestone group was created. When “The Fires Burn no More” came out, there was no other group that had their clear perfect blend along with a unique strong lead voice. Even when the Imperials recorded without Anthony, they were clearly identifiable like on “I Know, I Know” backing up Pookie Hudson. When their tenor Tracy Lord passed, their sound still remained so polished. When they became a quartet with Sam Strain, they perpetuated their greatness. They are truly among the best of the best. Thanks for the music!

  6. […] Little Anthony & the Imperials' Farewell Tour comes to Boca Raton this Saturday Listening to “Little Anthony” Gourdine sing, it's difficult to imagine that 2015 marks 57 years since he entered the public eye with his group, the Imperials. One of the very few late-fifties-era vocal groups to successfully re-invent themselves and … Read more on The Boca Raton Tribune […]

  7. Tom Diehl says:

    I’ve heard it’s not actually a farewell tour and that the newspaper mistakenly printed that. I’m surprised a retraction has not been submitted.

    • Joe Mirrione says:

      Thanks for commenting, Tom. There’s no mistake in what was printed and therefore no retraction will be forthcoming. From Little Anthony & The Imperials’ website: “The group will embark on their Farewell Tour to show their appreciation to the loyal fans that have enjoyed their music. Although this marks the end of the iconic group’s historic run together; Little Anthony will continue to perform to the delight of his adoring fans for years to come.” Little Anthony has already begun performing solo again.

  8. Lou Rotondo says:

    Anthony say it isn’t so…You and you’re singers must keep on doing what you do best. That is to perform for the many fans ( Me included) that adore you’all.
    The Passions will be on The Malt shop cruise and share the stage with you once again.
    (Wishing that it will not be the last)

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