In The Still Of The Nite – The Five Satins

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………..on August 22nd of 1956 The Five Satins make their debut on the Billboard R&B chart with a song they recorded in a New Haven, Connecticut church basement, “In The Still of the Night”. They first tried recording the song in another New Haven building (on Whalley Avenue), but street noise degraded the recording. The church basement had great acoustics and was insulated from ambient noise, making it a perfect place to record. The group was managed by Marty Kugell, who distributed their material on his own label, Standord Records (small operations like this were common at the time). His friend Vinny Mazzetta was an altar boy at the church, and Mazzetta convinced the pastor to let the group use the basement on a Sunday afternoon following a church service. They used the church piano along with drums, a guitar, a cello tuned low for the bass sound, and a saxophone, which Mazzetta played. Originally issued as a “B” side (the “A” was called The Jones Girl) on the tiny Standard label, the song was re-released by Ember Records after some strong local sales. The 45 would rise to #3 on the R&B chart and #24 on the Pop chart, selling over a million copies. One of the most famous songs in doo-wop history, “In The Still Of The Nite” has a very unusual origin story. It was written by group member Fred Parris, who had joined the US Army. As a recruit, he travelled by train between Philadelphia and his home town of New Haven, and it was on these trips that he wrote the song. Soon after it was recorded, he shipped off for Japan, where he was stationed. The “Shoo-doop, shoo be doop” was lifted from a 1955 song by Tony Allen called “Night Owl.” When they recorded this song, there were only four members of the group, but they called themselves The Five Satins because that was the trend, with groups like The Four Lads. The intentional misspelling of “Night” was a popular doo-wop trend. The Dells also did it in 1956 on their song “Oh What A Nite.”