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July 29, 2004

New York Daily News

Arthur Crier worked for many years with the people of the Bronx, and he also sang the music of the Bronx, especially 1950s-style vocal group harmony. So it was fitting that for many years he often dropped in at a Bronx radio station, WFUV (90.7 FM) at Fordham, to help spread the music through the "Group Harmony Review," the long-running show heard at midnight Saturdays with Dan Romanello. This Saturday, Romanello has the sad task of announcing Arthur Crier died last Thursday, 69, of a heart attack. "He meant an awful lot to me and to this show," says Romanello. "He helped at fund-raisers. He found vintage artists. He would come by all the time to play the music and talk about it. He was always upbeat, always had a smile. He brought out the best."

Born in Manhattan on April 1, 1935, Crier grew up listening to groups like the Mills Brothers. As a teenager, he sang with a Bronx gospel group called the Heavenly Five, and in the winter of 1953, he formed his first rhythm and blues group, the Chimes. He also sang with the Mellows, but had his biggest success with the Halos, who had a hit in 1961 with "Nag" and backed dozens of singers, from Dion to Johnny Mathis. That's Crier's bass voice on Curtis Lee's "Pretty Little Angel Eyes" and Gene Pitney's "Every Breath You Take."

Years later, when the '50s sound fell from commercial and radio favor, Crier worked to keep it alive, often spreading the word via WFUV. He organized the 1999 "Another Great Day in Harlem" photo, which has hundreds of vocal group singers and now hangs in the Smithsonian. He organized recording sessions and produced a local TV show called "Doo-Wop Is Alive." "He was a galvanizer," says longtime friend Bobby Jay of WCBS-FM. "He really worked to ensure that this music got its proper recognition." Also, Jay notes, another of the few remaining great bass voices is now gone. Romanello plans a tribute on WFUV next week. "This wouldn't be the same show without Arthur," he says.

Posted by acapnews at July 29, 2004 8:20 AM

Comments

Mr. Romanello I'm Arthur's youngest daughter and I just wanted to let you know how much i enjoyed reading about my Dad, he was truly the best! the more i'm forced to live without him the more thankful i am that he was my father and chose my mother and together they raised villages!!!!!!
Thanks for acknowledging my Father.

Posted by: Donna Crier at October 17, 2008 1:54 PM

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