The Meadowlarks were formed in 1954 while attending
Fremont High School . They were all in their teens.
Ron, Don and Earl were 17, Randy was 18, and Billy was 19
years old. The coming together of their melodious
voices was a work of art. Ron sang first and second
tenor, and in the early days, most of the lead singing was
done by Ron. Don also was a tenor, having a smooth
and silk like voice. Earl was not just a bass singer,
his bass resonance was so powerful that the opposite sex
would just fall in love with how he spoke and sang.
Randy was a true bass. If there was ever a category,
Randy would be considered a bassist' bass, a true first
bass. It just wasn't the rich quality of his voice
that made him outstanding, he was also funny. He was
one of funniest singers of his time. He later became
the star of the Coasters. Billy was second tenor,
and he tried hard, but he never did fit in with the group.
Billy was a close friend of Randall and he tried unsuccessfully
to get Billy into the group on a permanent basis, but shortly
after this picture was taken, Billy was dropped from he
group. This was the only picture that was Billy in
it. Ron Barrett is in the front, because the first
two recordings, "Love Only You" and "Real
Pretty Momma," were written and performed by him
as the lead vocalist.
After Randall Jones left the group, Glenn Reagan replaced
him. Glenn was the first young white singer singing
with a black group on the West Coast. He was a senior
at Fremont High School and was a natural singer and part
of the a capella choir under the direction of Mrs. Abbott
who was always a source of encouragement to the group.
Fremont High School was having problems raising money for
the school's annual yearbook. Ron Barrett had the
idea of putting on a rock and rill show to be the school
fundraiser which featured the Meadowlarks, Richard Berry,
Bobby Day and others. Needless to say, the fundraiser
was a success, raising over $2,000 for the school, a small
fortune in the 1950's because this was Ron's first attempt
at promoting an R&B show. R&B stands for Rhythm
& Blues because there was no Doo Wop in the early 50's.
Rock and Roll and Rhythm & Blues were the order of the
day! Because of the success of Ron's first show he
went on to have great success in promoting various shows
with The Meadowlarks headlining the events.
The Meadowlarks were established in the East Los Angeles
Hispanic community and they became a favorite, up until
Don Julian's death.
This photograph was taken because the record, "Heaven
and Paradise "
was starting to sell on the West Coast and threatening to
go top 100 nationwide. "Heaven and
Paradise " was a collaborative
work of all the members in the group on that photograph.
It also depicts the first uniforms purchased after signing
on with Dootone Records.
More Meadowlarks info available here!
out about the relationship Ron had with one of the Greatest
Musical minds of the 60's!!