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The Rivieras


The Rivieras were made up of teenagers from South Bend Central High School. (This group should not be confused with the Coed Records East coast rhythm & blues group of the same name who had hits in the late 50s and the early 60s.) Originally called the Playmates, they were forced to change their names as there was already a group playing under that name. They decided to rename themselves after the Buick Riviera.

The Rivieras were one of the many groups in America that became part of the "frat rock" movement in the early 1960s. The group had their greatest hit in 1964 with "California Sun", which reached No. 5 on the main US pop music chart. In fact, "California Sun" was one of the last pure American rock-and-roll songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart before the "British Invasion", reaching its peak chart position the same week as the Beatles topped the chart with "I Want to Hold Your Hand".

In addition to their one hit, the Rivieras scored three more songs in 1964 that dipped into the Billboard Hot 100: "Let's Have a Party" (#99), "Little Donna" (#93) and "Rockin' Robin" (#96). Also that year, their debut album, Let's Have a Party, peaked at No. 115 on the Billboard 200.

Both personal reasons and drastic changes in pop music led to the split-up of the group in 1966.

Founding member Joe Pennell died on April 21, 2011, at the age of 66. Marty Fortson died on September. 26, 2012.

The Rivieras was a rock group, formed in the early 1960s in South Bend, Indiana, United States.
The Rivieras featured Marty Fortson (born 1945) vocals and guitar; Doug Gean (born 1951) playing bass guitar; Otto Nuss playing organ; second guitarist Joe Pennell and drummer Paul Dennert. Fortson left the group for the Marines after recording "California Sun". The band's manager, Bill Dobslaw, was the lead vocalist on recordings of subsequent lesser hits.
The Rivieras was one of the later groups in the U.S. playing classical rock and roll. The group had their greatest hit in 1964 with "California Sun". It reached #5 in the main U.S. pop chart. In fact, "California Sun" was one of the last songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart before the "British Invasion".
Both personal reasons and drastic changes in pop music led to a split-up of the group in 1966.

 

50s, 60s Hits

California Sun

Members of this Group


Jeff

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