The El Capris


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Popular Performing Act whose Recordings became popular with the 1990s Doo Wop Revival

The El Capris were a popular vocal group who performed at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre and on the East Coast night club circuit from the 1950s through the 1970s.  They recorded for several labels including Bullseye Records, Fee Bee, Ring-O, and Paris Records but never had a hit song.  They were not heard on national radio, but fans came out of hear them sing for 16 years.  Their recordings are now collected by Doo Wop enthusiasts.  The El Capris’s recording have been reissued on several compilation discs including “Rock & Roll Fee Bee” on the UK label Flyright in 1995, “Explosive Doo Wops” Vol. 4 on Buffalo Bop in 1999, “Las Vegas Grind”, Pt. 6 in 2000, Rhythm & Blues Goes Rock 'n' Roll Volume 2 in 2002, and six of the volumes of the Pittsburgh's Greatest Hits series.

The El Capris formed as 13 year old teenagers in the Hill District of Pittsburgh in 1954.  The original seven members were: Eddie Jackson (tenor), William Germany (baritone and conga drums), James Scott (first tenor), Theodore McCrary (second tenor), Leon Gray (baritone), Larry Hill (bass), and James Ward (bass and bongos).  Their prize for winning a local talent show ion July 4th 1955 was an audition with Woody Henderling owned of Pittsburgh’s Bullseye Records.  Woody recorded them at the WHOD radio station studio and released their first single "(Shimmy Shimmy) Ko Ko Wop” / "Oh But She Did" in the March of 1956. 

At a Pittsburgh sock hop they met Joe Averbach, owner of Fee Bee Records.  Fee Bee was the Pittsburgh based label that released the Del Vikings national hit "Come Go With Me" in 1956.  At Joe’s request they recorded four songs.  Fee Bee released the El Capris single “Your Star” / "Dance All Night" in 1957. They made their first appearance at the Apollo Theatre in 1957 to promote the single.

With only three original members left in 1958, (William Germany, Theodore McCrary, Leon Gray, and) they recruited two replacements: first tenor Percy Wharton and bass Sam Askue.  The El Capris released the single “Ivy League Clean” / “They're Always Laughin' At Me” In November of 1958 on the New York based Paris label.  They released the single “Safari” on the Ring-O label later in 1965. They never recorded again, but they kept appearing on the East Coast Night Club circuit until 1970 appearing at club like the ), the Uptown in Philadelphia and the Trianon in Chicago.  Fee Bee re-released the“Your Star (EJ)” as a single with “To Live Again” in 1972.   

The El Capris, with founding members William Germany and Eddie Jackson, have reunited for revival shows including a Doo Wop show on WQED in 1998.


Oh But She Did
The El Capris on WQED 1998