A Brief History
The Five Americans first met in Durant, Oklahoma at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1962. Under the leadership of Mike Rabon, they formed a group called the Mutineers. They played local beer joints and various frat dances until the summer of 1964. Mike suggested that they go to Dallas and try and make enough money to pay for tuition for the following fall semester. They achieved some local notoriety in a dive called the Pirate's Nook. There they were "discovered" by a local label called Abnak Records. John Abdnor, president of the label, took them under his wing and provided them the resources to write and practice original songs.
In the summer of '65, they released an original song entitled "I See The Light". The song went to the top twenty in Billboard Magazine and paved the way for a string of hits by the five. "I See The Light" was followed by "Evol-Not Love" which also charted in the top 40 nationwide. Then came the biggest hit of all by the five..."Western Union". This song, which was inspired by a Western Union telegram sign, went on to become number six in Billboard (number 3 in Cashbox) and sold in excess of one million records.
"Western Union" was followed by a less gimmicky and more melodic song entitled "Sound Of Love" which charted in the top 40 as well. Then bowing to pressure from DJ's the world over to write another "communication" song, they followed "Western Union" with "Zip Code" which also went top 40. After releasing "7:30 Guided Tour", an excellent song written by Robin Brians of Tyler, Texas which only made it to 96 in billboard, they broke up in 1969, and each went his own way.
In only 5 short years, The Five Americans where the first to achieve what no other group in Texas had done -- sell millions of singles and albums.
The Five Americans were and remain:
(Left to right in photo)
Jimmy Wright - drummer extraordinaire John Durrill - organ, vocals, and co-writer Mike Rabon - vocals, lead guitar and co-writer of all the groups songs Norman Ezell - rhythm guitar, vocals, and co-writer (1941 - 2010) Jim Grant - bass guitarist (1943 - 2003)