Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bob Flanagan Of The Four Freshmen Has Died

Bob Flanagan, founding member and tenor singer of the Four Freshmen, died May 15 from congestive heart failure at his home in Las Vegas. He was 84. Originally called the Toppers, the group was formed in 1952 at the Jordan School of Music at Butler University in Indianapolis by Bob, his two cousins and a friend. The group's intricate harmonies influenced many later groups, including the Lettermen and the Beach Boys. 

The Freshmen, however, patterned their sound after the arrangements of Stan Kenton's orchestra. It was Kenton who helped them get a contract with Capitol Records. Their first single, "It's A Blue World," reached #30 in 1952, followed by "Day By Day," (#72-1955), "Charmaine" (#69-1956) and "Graduation Day" (#17-1956). The quartet also charted eight albums in the top 40 between 1954 and 1960 and won six Grammy awards. Bob retired from singing with the group in 1992 but continued as its manager until his death.