The Del Vikings had two Top Ten Hits in 1957 with "Come Go With Me" and "Whispering Bells". They appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, Dick Clark's Bandstand, Allen Freed's show, the Tonight Show, and the movie "The Big Beat". Their music has been featured in the soundtracks the films "American Grafitti", "Stand By Me", American Hot Wax" and others. They are recognized as one of the first 1950's integrated groups to achieve success. The Vocal Group Hall of Fame inducted them in 2005.
The History of Rock website calls them an influential group.
"The Dell Vikings were one of the first rhythm and blues groups to completely grasp the style of rock and roll. In doing so, they incorporated and homogenized both musical forms without diluting either."In 1957 "Come Go With Me" was performed on the radio in Liverpool, UK by the young John Lennon and his skiffle group the Quarrymen. Lennon caught the attention of the 14-year-old Paul McCartney when he performed the song at St. Peter's Church Garden Fete. Lennon and McCartney were introduced during a break and talked about their love of American Rock-N-Roll. After that meeting Lennon asked McCartney to "come go with me" as a member of the Quarrymen.
The Del Vikings was founded in 1956 by Clarence Quick at NCO Service CLub an Air Force base in Pittsburgh. The original members were bass singer Clarence Quick, Corinthian "Kripp" Johnson (lead and tenor), Samuel Patterson (lead and tenor), Bernard Robertson (second tenor), and Don Jackson (baritone). They won the Pittsburgh Air Force base "Tops In Blue" talent contest earning a spot in the All Air Force talent show. Performing their song "Come Go With Me" they won the contest beating out 700 Air Force groups from bases around the world.
Patterson and Robertson were assigned to an air base in Germany and were replaced by Philadelphian Norman Wright and the group's first white member, Dave Lerchey of Indiana. In the Fall of 1956 Pittsburgh DJ Barry Kaye and and producer Joe Averback asked the group to record. At a tiny studio in Kaye's basement they recorded nine a cappella songs. Averback then signed the group to his Fee Bee label. The group re-recorded several of the songs with instrumental backing at a studio in Pittsburgh's Sheraton Hotel. "Come Go With Me" was released as a single in December of 1956. The song rose quickly on the charts reaching Number 4 on Billboard's Pop chart and Number #2 on the R&B chart. It was the first top ten hit by a racially-mixed group in the U.S. It stayed on the charts for 31 weeks making it a million seller. In the summer of 1957, the Del Vikings score a hit with the Fee Bee/Dot Records release "Whispering Bells" reaching number nine on the pop charts.
Due to contract and management issues, the group split into two rival ensembles. The “Dell-Vikings, which included only one of the original members, Kripp Johnson, were signed to Dot Records. In the summer of 1957, the Dell-Vikings score a hit with the Fee Bee/Dot Records release "Whispering Bells" reaching number nine on the pop charts. The “Del-Vikings” made up of most of the original members along Clarence E. Quick (the writer and lead singer of “Come Go with Me) were signed to Mercury Records. The Mercury Del-Vikings recording of “Cool Sake” reached No. 9 on the R&B charts and #12 on the Pop charts. Mercury later won the rights to the group and the name the Del-Vikings and any variations of it.
The Kripp Johnson version of the group, changed it’s name to the Versatiles. It was comprised of Kripp, Don Jackson, Chuck Jackson, Arthur Budd, and Ed Everette. They kept recording, but without any chart success they disbanded at the end of 1957, Chuck Jackson launched a solo career in 1961 with his top a top five R&B hit "I Don't Want To Cry". Jackson went on the have 23 R&B and Pop hits including "Any Day Now". Kripp Johnson rejoined the Del-Vikings in 1958. The group Del-Vikings signed with ABC-Paramount in 1959 to release the “Swining, Singing Recording Session” album. The group disbanded in the 1965.
In 1972 a reformed ‘Del-Vikings” lead by Clarence Quick recorded a new version of "Come Go With Me" on the Scepter label that got attention in Billboard. In 1980 Kripp Johnson reformed his own "Dell-Vikings" with Norman Wright, Ritzy Lee, John Byas, and David Lerchey. Both group toured the country until Quick's death in 1985 and Johnson's death in 1990.
“Whether they were spelling their name Del-Vikings, Del Vikings, or Dell-Vikings, the group left behind one of the most satisfying bodies of R&B and doo wop music this side of the Drifters.” – The All Music Guide