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I was on my way to something else in the ARSA database last night when I noticed an entry for a group called “Anthony & Sophmores.”

I figured the misspelling of “Sophomores” had to be someone’s transcription mistake.

But what really hooked me was the missing “the.” Not Anthony and the Sophomores, but Anthony & Sophomores.

If that truly was their chosen name, it would be a significant departure from the stereotypical pop-music naming convention, which invariably demands a “the” before the name of the band — the Crickets, the Belmonts, the Detroit Wheels, the Asbury Jukes, the Plastic Ono Band, the X-Pensive Winos.

Could it be that these skids, so otherwise uncelebrated, had actually been linguistic groundbreakers? Innovators? They’d even beaten Paul McCartney & Wings to (the) punch by something like a decade.

The one similar name that comes to mind is on the Dr. John anthology “Mos’ Scocious” (it’s pretty good), which includes a quick-hit studio-band teenie song called “Bad Neighborhood” credited to “Ronnie & Delinquents.”

Perhaps Anthony & Sophomores were the friendly, cardigan-wearing younger brothers of Ronnie & Delinquents, I thought.

Unfortunately, it seems my hopes were in vain. Pictures of several of the group’s singles can be seen via Google and YouTube; and on most of them, their name is rendered “Anthony and the Sophomores.”

There is one 45 on which the group is credited as “Anthony & Sophmores.” But I suspect it’s a knockoff — like someone bought some leftover studio tapes and put ’em out years later. When the label misspells the name of the song, someone’s asleep at the wheel.

(For yet another variation, a promotional picture of the group that spells their name “Anthony and the Sophmores” can also be found online. These guys didn’t need a booking agent; they needed a copy editor.)

Google also indicates that Anthony and (the) Soph(o)mores also performed as Tony and the Twilighters and Tony and the Dynamics. There are international spies who don’t have that many identities.

Whatever their name was at any given moment, these sons of Philadelphia seem to have stuck mostly to doo-wop — although their1966 single “Serenade” captures a pleasant AM-radio Sixties sound somewhere in between Frankie Valli and (the) Four Seasons and (the) Four Tops.

Check it (the) hell out.


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