P.S. I Love You: The Story of the Singing Hilltoppers
In 1953, the same year that Elvis Presley cut his first demo, Cash Box magazine named the Hilltoppers the top vocal group of the year. Hits such as “Trying” and “P.S. I Love You” raced up the charts and kept the group in Billboard’s Top 40. The four fresh-faced singers appeared on The Toast of the Town with Ed Sullivan, who introduced them to the nation. On weekends the Hilltoppers performed in cities across the country, but on Monday mornings they were better known as Western Kentucky State College students Jimmy Sacca, Seymour Spiegelman, Don McGuire, and Billy Vaughn. The Korean War, military drafts, and changing public tastes in music, however, cut short singing careers that should have lasted much longer. Sacca was drafted in 1953, mere months before the end of the war. Vaughn left the group shortly after that for a career at Dot Records and found fame elsewhere with his orchestra. McGuire and Spiegelman were drafted as well, and despite a set of temporary replacement members, the group eventually called it quits. Fifty years later, historian Carlton Jackson revisits the Kentucky college kids who made it big between classes. He follows the group from their first hit, recorded in Western’s Van Meter Auditorium, to their brief 1970s reunion. Their story recalls the nature of celebrity and youth in the early days of rock ’n’ roll.
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A Gathering of the Hilltoppers
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advertised in Billboard American audience August band beanies became Billboard chart position Billboard Honor Roll Billy Vaughn Billy's Bobbie Ann Mason Bowling Green British campus disc jockeys Don McGuire Dot Records e-mail early Eddie Crowe Eddy Arnold entertainment fanzine football four Gallatin Glasgow highest Billboard chart Hill Hilltopper Club Hilltopper fan club Hilltopper songs Hilltopper Topics Hilltoppers performed interview January Janusek Jimmy Sacca Jimmy's jukebox July Ka-Ding-Dong Karl Garvin letter Lexington Livingston London Records London Records HL Lou Mastor Louis Louisville Love Walked March Marianne Mason Collection night nightclub October orchestra original Hilltoppers P.S. I Love Pat Boone played Quartet radio Randy Wood Reaching the Stars released by London reported rock Roll of Hits Sacca Collection sang September Seymour Spiegelman singers singing group singing Hilltoppers Sullivan show sweaters toppers tour Trying weeks Western Kentucky University wrote York young