CareerThe group was founded in the early 1960s in Jersey City, New Jersey, by William L.
Dickinson High School students Michael Arnone, Joe Santollo, John Salvato, Tom Bialoglow, and lead singer Joey Canzano (later known as Joey Vann).
George Paxton, a former big band leader was impressed by the group's style and signed them to his Coed Records label.
Their first single, "You Belong to Me", had been a hit for Jo Stafford in 1952.
The Duprees' version was given a big band backing by Paxton and reached the US top ten in 1962.The group had more top 40 hits in the next few years.
"My Own True Love" was a vocal adaptation of "Tara's Theme" from the soundtrack of Gone with the Wind and became the group's second hit.
"Have You Heard" and "Why Don't You Believe Me" also reached the Top 40 charts and, like "You Belong to Me," were originally early 1950s female vocal hits (Joni James, in this case).
The group became known for mixing doo-wop vocals with big band arrangements.
Tom Bialoglow left in 1963.
Mike Kelly, who had recorded on the group's original demos for George Paxton, replaced Joey Vann as lead vocalist in 1964, and formally left the group in 1977.
He was replaced by Tommy Petillo.In the late 1960s and early 1970s they released an album under the name "The Italian Asphalt and Paving Co," and had a minor hit called "Check Yourself." In the 1980s, two Duprees groups existed.
One was fronted by Arnone, with Tony Testa (who had been the group's guitarist since 1964) and new members Phil Granito, Jimmy Spinelli, and lead Richie Rosato.
In between Rosato's two stints with the group, was another version of the Arnone group with Michael Schiavo on lead, Bobby Leszczak as first tenor, Al Latta as baritone, Duane O'Hara as drummer and Bobby Wells as musical director - see link - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1333137942616&set=a.1333133942516.45202.1656084830&type=3&theater.
After Schiavo left, Rosato returned with Leszczak (1981-1983), Latta, Arnone, O'Hara and Wells remaining.
Another featured Salvato and Petillo.
Arnone later won a lawsuit which forced Salvato's group to stop using the Duprees name.
Currently touring as the Duprees are Testa, Granito, Spinelli, and Tommy Petillo, who joined the group after Rosato left.Joe Santollo died in 1981, Joey Vann died in 1984, and Mike Arnone died in 2005.
John Salvato is a booking agent and, since the 1980s, no longer performs.
Mike Kelly sang with The Chaperones for a brief stint in 2006 and later (August 7, 2012) died of cancer.
Tommy Bialoglow had his own group called Twilight Time and currently performs with Joe Zisa & Friends "Jersey Tribute".