The group formed in 1946 at Armstrong High School in Washington, D.C., with members Harold Lucas, Billy Shelton, and Thomas Woods. John "Buddy" Bailey was added soon after, and they began calling themselves the "Four Clovers", with Bailey on lead. In perfecting their sound, the group pushed Shelton and Woods out in 1948, and brought in Matthew McQuarter and Harold Winley. Their break came in 1950, when they were introduced to Lou Krefetz, who became their manager. They signed to New York's Rainbow Records and released two singles, "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" and "When You Come Back To Me".