From the Land of Band Box Records

Knock Yourself Out!

January 15, 2020

Ernie Maresca

I never took much time to look into the origins or accomplishments of song writer – sometimes singer – Ernie Maresca.

I just sort of wrote him off as a guy who didn’t seem to sing particularly well – a guy who wrote and sang “Shout, Shout, Knock Yourself Out” – a song that always seemed to cram quite a few lyrics into tight spaces – a voice that I would have pegged coming from perhaps an older ‘Brill Building’ insider kind of guy – someone maybe in their late 30’s or maybe even 40….. But no, Ernie was solid rock and roll – moving about within the New York Doo-Wop scene with ease…

Ernie was born Ernest Peter Maresca on August 21st, 1938 in the Bronx, New York and like so many of those youngsters who grew up in the New York Burrows, found his way into a typical street corner ‘doo-wop’ group called the “Montereys”, who formed in 1957 and would change their name to the “Desires”.

In 1958 the Desires entered a New York recording studio and laid down a couple of tracks – one of them being one penned by group member Fred Fassert, one “Barbara-Ann”.  They were contracted to Seville records but songs from their session wouldn’t see the light of day – with Seville electing not to release them.

Things went from not promising to dire, and so the group disbanded.  Maresca had already elected to leave by then to pursue song writing.  And Ernie did, in fact, frequent the Brill Building at 1650 Broadway, often cutting demos in the Allegro studio which was situated in the basement.

In a chain of events typical of the times in the New York music scene, the brother of Don Jacobucci, Eddie who was a member of a group called the “Consorts”, had managed to get a crack at recording but had no material for his group.  And so the Consorts took a shot at “Barbara-Ann”.

A Cousins Record label executive liked what he heard but elected to obtain the original 1958 cut and release it instead.  This caused members of the original “Desires” to scramble and get back together to promote the song.

It was released in the spring of 1961 on Cousins and quickly began getting solid east coast air play.  Cousins leased the record to Roulette who had distribution power – and that did the trick.  The song, released on the Roulette subsidiary label Gee, skyrocketed into the nation’s Top 20 peaking at number 13.

Prior to releasing the song the group’s name was changed to the Regents.  The group came up with the name based on their time in a New York recording studio – “Regent Sound” and the fact that group member Guy Villari smoked “Regent Cigarettes”.

Maresca – as Composer

With a hit under their belt, the Regents turned to their pal and former member, Ernie Maresca, a guy who was constantly writing songs and shopping them.  With Tony they would get their second charting single from Ernie’s pen, “Runaround”.

Maresca – Every Bit the New Yorker!

Backing up a bit, Maresca’s first influences as a young teenager were Joni James, the Mills Brothers and the Hilltoppers – unlikely doo-wop influences, but then Alan Freed would begin broadcasting and that changed things for Maresca.  His musical journey began in earnest when he was 17 years old – He cut a demonstration record titled “No One Knows” and placed it on a jukebox in a pool hall where he and his friends would hang out.

Maresca’s 1962 LP

It was there that he would meet Dion Dimucchi who lived in the same neighborhood.  Dion took Ernie to meet a representative of Laurie Records.  They like the song but had Ernie change some of the lyrics.  Laurie decided to release it as a “B” side to a Belmont record – the intended “A” side being “I Can’t Go On (Rosalie)”.  This was happening in the summer of 1958 after Ernie had departed the Desires/Regents.

In an interview Ernie recalled how difficult it was to get the attention of the record labels.  Nearly everyone would turn him away when he walked in with his homemade demos, everyone that is except Laurie Records where Ernie enjoyed the comradeship of Dion.

Trade Ad – March 24th, 1962

Ernie’s entire career revolved around his association with the Bronx/Brooklyn fraternity of Italian (for the most part) doo-wop groups.  Ernie became very entrenched with Laurie Records – composing, finding talent, singing and eventually headed up the Laurie publicity department and label executive.  Then in the early 1900’s he negotiated the sale Laurie to Capitol Records.  He stayed connected to the industry working into the early 1990’s.

Ernie Maresca passed away at age 76 in July of 2015 in his Florida home.

Ernie Maresca Disography and Related Artists

Dion and the Belmonts – Laurie 3015 – No One Knows – (Maresca co-composer) Charted Number 19 Hot 100 – Number 12 R&B – August, 1958

(This song bettered the Belmonts initial hit “I Wonder Why” which peaked at number 22)

Ernie Maresca – Seville 107 – Lonesome Blues/I Don’t Know Why – August, 1960

(Ernie’s first release on Seville)

Dion and the Belmonts – Laurie 3035 – A Lover’s Prayer – Charted Number 73 Hot 100 – August, 1959

The Regents – Cousins 1002 – Barbara-Ann/I’m So Lonely – March, 1961

The Regents – Gee 1065 – Barbara-Ann/I’m So Lonely – Charted Number 13 Hot 100 – Number 7 R&B – April, 1961

The Regents – Gee 1071 Runaround/Laura My Darling – Charted Number 28 Hot 100 – Number 30 R&B – June, 1961

Dion – Laurie 3110 – Runaround Sue – Charted Number 1 Hot 100 – Number 4 R&B – August, 1961

(This would be Dion’s only number 1 recording)

Dion – Laurie 3115 – The Wanderer – Charted Number 2 Hot 100 – November, 1961

Nino and the Ebb Tides – Mr. Peacock 102 – Happy Guy – November, 1961

(the Ebb Tides were from the Bronx, New York)

The Regents – Gee 1075 – Lonesome Boy/Oh Baby – December, 1961

Ernie Maresca – Seville Special 33 1/2 Compact Disc – Promotional Release Only – 1962

Ernie Maresca – Seville 117 – Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)/Crying Like A Baby Over You – Charted Number 6 Hot 100 – Number 25 R&B – January, 1962

Dion – Laurie 3123 – Lovers Who Wander – Charted Number 3 Hot 100 – Number 16 R&B – April, 1962

The Desires – Seville 118 – Story of Love/I Ask You – May, 1962

(These tracks were recorded in the 1950’s before the Regents hit it big)

Ernie Maresca – Seville 119 – Mary Jane/Down On the Beach – June, 1962

(Mary Jane charted locally number 30 on WKBR Manchester, New Hampshire – Number 40 on WMEX Boston, Massachusetts – Number 41 on WORC Worcester, Massachusetts – the flip side charted as high as number 19 on WGH Newport News, Virginia)

Mary Jane – Number 41 WORC – July, 1962

Down on the Beach – Number 19 WGH July 22nd, 1962

The Belmonts – Sabina 505 – Come On Little Angel – Charted Number 28 Hot 100 – June, 1962

Pete Barin – Sabina 504 – So Wrong – June, 1962

Pete Barin – (real name Baron) sang often with the Belmonts – He was tragically shot to death while in a New York music store an innocent victim of a robbery gone bad – He was a member of “Dion and the Wanderers” after Dion departed the Belmonts

Ernie Maresca – Seville 122 – Something To Shout About/How Many Times? – September, 1962

(An attempt to re-start the shouting – The song did very well on the eastern local charts – charting on more than a dozen station surveys)

Mike Taylor – Dream – Mi-A-Suri-Talk – 1962

(Taylor was a member of Laurie’s Demilles and the Camerons)

Ernie Maresca – Seviller 125 – Love Express/Lorelei – March, 1963

Peter Barin – Sabina 512 – Lookout for Cindy – June, 1963

The Run-A-Rounds – KC 116 – Unbelievable – August, 1963

The Belmonts – Sabina 519 – C’mon Everybody (Do You Want To Dance) – September, 1963

Ernie Maresca – Seville 129 – The Rovin’ Kind/Please Be Fair – December, 1963

Dean and Jean – Rust 5075 – Hey Jean, Hey Dean (Let’s Have a Party)/Please Don’t Tell Me Now – Charted Number 32 Hot 100 – January, 1964

The Hubcaps – Laurie 3219 – Hot Rod City – January, 1964

Ernie Maresca – Rust 5076 – The Beetle Dance/Theme From Lily, Lily – February, 1964

(Jumping on the band wagon with the Invasion)

The Harps – Laurie 3239 – Marie – March, 1964

(The Harps would become Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes)

Bernadette Carroll – Laurie 3228 – Party Girl – Charted Number 47 Hot 100 – March, 1964

(Bernadette was also a member of the Angels and the Starlets)

The Demilles – Laurie 3247 – Cry and Be On Your Way – March, 1964

This group was fronted by David Banks (who may have been Dave Romano), an excellent singer who provided background vocals for many of the Laurie recording artists.  The Demilles were also known as the Camerons and they used many other names.  Mike DeMartino was a member of this group and he recorded as “Mike Taylor)

The Ray-Vons – Laurie 3248 – Judy/Regina – (Maresca Produced) – April, 1964

The “Ray-Vons” were in fact one Rusty Lane – the composer of this song – real name Karl Zeeb, Jr. – The New York Doo-Wop group The Mystics back him up on these two tracks

The Ray-Vons

The Four Graduates – Rust 5084 – Candy Queen – July, 1964

(These guys would become better known as the Happenings)

Bernadette Carroll – Laurie 3268 – Happy Birthday – August, 1964

Reparata and the Delrons – World Artists 1036 – Whenever A Teenager Cries – Charted Number 60 Hot 100 – November, 1964

They were formed out of Brooklyn, New York in 1962)

The Mustangs – Providence 407 – Rumpus – November, 1964

(The Mustangs were a surf-style instrumental group)

Angela Martin – Atco 6327 – Dip Da Dip (I Want To Be His Girl) – November, 1964

Angela Mignanelli

Jerry Fender & the Secrets – Royalty – Come On Little Angel – 1964

(Jerry Fender was with a group called The Chateaus out of Kentucky – recording in the mid 1960’s)

Russ Damon – Laurie TL 3 – George’s Nut House – 1964

The Demolyrs – UWR 900 – Hey Little Rosie – 1964

(From the Bronx, New York the Demolyrs often worked as session vocalists as well as instrumentalists)

Slim Jim – Laurie 3226 – Lilly, Lilly/Theme From Lilly Lilly – 1964

Dean and Jean – Rust 5094 – 7 Day Wonder (Maresca Producer) – January, 1965

Jimmy Curtiss – Laurie 3315 – The Girl From the Land of a Thousand Dances/Let’s Dance Close (Like We Used To) – May, 1965

Jimmy was the co-writer with Ernie on “Child of Clay” b Jimmie Rodgers – Real name James Martin Stulberger – He was a member of “The Bag”  and “The Hobbits” both recording in the later 1960’s  – Curtiss headed up his own record label Perception beginning in 1969

The Other Two – RCA Victor 47-8607 – Hold Back The Light of Dawn – June, 1965

I believe The Other Two were from England

Jimmy Curtiss – Laurie 3312 – Not For You/You’re What’s Happening Baby – July, 1965

Ernie Maresca – Seville 138 – It’s Their World/I Can’t Dance – October, 1965

Frank Lyndon – Laurie 3322 – Santa’s Jet/Sing Along with Santa’s Jet – November, 1965

(Frank Lyndon took over lead vocals after Dion departed the Belmonts – He was also a member of the Darvels)

Bernadette Carroll – Laurie 3320 – Try Your Luck – November, 1965

Jerry Williams with the Sherrys and the Dynamiters – Sonet 7644 (Sweden) – 1965

(Williams was from Sweden who had been with a group called The Violents)

Dion – Laurie 3303 – I Got The Blues – 1965

The Teardrops – Laurie 3325 – Hey Gingerbread/Champaign Lady – January, 1966

The Four Coins – Laurie 3331 – I’ll Never Love Again/Try Your Luck – March, 1966

Sal Corrente – Roulette 4673 – Run, Run, Run – March, 1966

(Salvatore was a NY police office and a member of “The Johnny Law Four”)

Ernie Maresca – Laurie 3345 – The Good Life/A Bum Can’t Cry – May, 1966

(Ernie’s singing debut release with Laurie Records)

Ben Zine – Parkway 996 – What The Heck’s The Hanky Panky/Village of Tears – July, 1966

Frank Lyndon – Bang 531 – Don’t Look At Me (and Earth Angel Maresca Producer) – August, 1966

Former member of the Belmonts – the co-writer Rosemary was Frank’s wife – She sometimes wrote songs as Rosemarie Scheerin – Frank was also a member of a New York doo-wop group called the Darvels – a group that included a close friend of Maresca’s, Warren Gradus a later member of the Belmonts

The Four Coins – Laurie 3360 – Shout, Shout (Knock Yourself Out)/People Get Jealous – October, 1966

(The Four Coins all started off as musicians in the Bobby Vinton Orchestra before first becoming the Four Keys and then the Four Coins)

Ernie Mareska – Providence 417 – Rockin’ Boulevard/Am I Better Off Than Them – October, 1966

The Spiedels – Providence 418 – Dream Girl/That’s What I Get – November, 1966

Boots Walker – Rust 5105 – Put Your Boots On The Shelf/Crazy Things Like That – 1966

“Boots Walker” was an alias for Louis Zerato – who a co-wrote several songs with Ernie Maresca – He apparently moved to Colorado later in his career

Renee St. Clair – Jubilee 5558 – Under the Brooklyn Bridge – January, 1967

Ernie Maresca – Laurie 3371 – My Son/My Shadow and Me – January, 1967

Johnny Law Four – Providence 419 – There Ought To Be a Law/Call On Me – March, 1967

(This is police office Sal Corrente a close friend of Ernie’s – the entire group were New York police officers)

Boots Walker – Rust 5115 – They’re Here/A Bum Can’t Cry – April, 1967

Jimmy Curtiss – 3383 – Psychedelic Situation/Gone But Not Forgotten – April, 1967

Jimmie Rodgers – A&M – Child of Clay – Charted Number 31 Hot 100 – August, 1967

(This would be Rodgers final charting single)

The Casualeers – Laurie 3407 – Open Your Eyes – September, 1967

(The Casualeers were a soul group out of Chicago, Illinois

Boots Walker – Rust  5117 – Magic Carpet/White Collar Worker – (Maresca Producer) – 1967

Artie Chicago (From the Bronx) – The Wanderer/Please Don’t Play Me A7 – January, 1968

(This is Ernie backed by the Belmonts)

The Cardboard Zeppelin – Laurie 3433 – Ten Story Building/City Lights – March, 1968

Ernie Maresca – Laurie 3447 – What Is A Marine/The Night My Papa Died – May, 1968

The Chiffons – Laurie 3460 – Up On the Bridge – August, 1968

The Dawn – Rust 5128 – Baby I Love You – 1968

They were also known as The Five Discs and the Boyfriends

Ernie Maresca – Laurie 3496 – Blind Date/People Get Jealous – April, 1969

Carlo’s Crown Jewel – Tower 497 – Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy/It’s Alright – (Marcesca Producer) – August, 1969

This is original Belmont member Carlo Mastrangelo

Ernie Maresca – Laurie 3519 – The Spirit Of Woodstock (Remains in America Today)/Web Of Love – September, 1969

(Ernie changing with the times so it seems co-writing here with Warren Gradus who would join the Belmonts later on)

Frank Lyndon – Uptown 758 – Don’t Go Away Baby/Lisa – 1969

Slim Jim – Laurie 3572 – My Son  – 1971

Sundae – Laurie 3595 – The Third Degree/Livin’ In Pain – 1972

The Five Discs – Laurie 3601 – Rock and Roll Revival/Gypsy Woman – 1972

The group was from Brooklyn and also recorded as the Boyfriends on the Kapp label and earlier as the Dawn on Rust Records

Foreign Intrigue – E.M. 1001 – The Wanderer/Blind Date – October, 1977

This is a reissue of the Maresca recording on Ernie’s own label – the only release I could find on E.M.

Warren Gradus – Laurie 3665 – Lovers Who Wander/A Bigger Wall – 1978

Warren was a member of the Darvels and a latter member of the Belmonts

Dion and the Belmonts – Ernie Maresca – Laurie 3698 – Dion and the Belmonts Medley/You’re The Only Girl For Me – 1982

Ernie Maresca – Laurie4006 – The Original Songs of Ernie Maresca – 1978

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