The Tymes and the Story of “So Much In Love”       

 

With a group with roots back to 1955 that is still going strong today, it’s impossible to cover 65
years of singing in a short article. Instead, we’ll tell the fascinating story of their iconic first
record, “So Much In Love.” The Tymes, George Williams, Norman Burnett, Ceasar Berry,
Donald Banks and George Hilliard began as a North Philadelphia vocal group initially known as
the Latineers. While the group sang locally in clubs and dances, they didn’t get a chance to
record until 1963. In that year they appeared in a talent show hosted by WDAS radio and
sponsored by the Tip Top Bread Company. That led to the group audition for Cameo-Parkway’s
A&R man, Billy Jackson. Jackson, a former member of the Re-Vels, agreed to record the group
and the record label changed their name to the Tymes. Lead singer George Williams had begun
writing a song called “The Stroll.” Billy Jackson and arranger Roy Straigis polished up the
music and lyrics, retitling the song “So Much In Love.” In the studio the group did quite a few
takes of the song using different instrumentation and tempos. In the end, the version that was
released had just the five voices, a bass, drums, and keyboard. Ceasar kept the rhythm by
snapping his fingers. Since the record would be reaching the charts in the summer, Billy Jackson
had the idea of adding the sounds of seagulls and crashing waves to the opening bars. Norman
Burnett recalled that one unissued take actually had the sounds of the chirping birds all
throughout the song. That idea was rejected as being over the top. The first pressings of the
record actually had Billy Jackson’s spoken introduction of “We find ourselves in a world of our
own” before the bird and wave sounds started. The labels were printed with the title “So In
Love.”

As the record started climbing the charts, Cameo-Parkway realized it was taking too long
to get into the music. They pulled the record and released it again, this time retitled “So Much In
Love” and without the introduction. The record reached number 1 on the Pop Charts in the
summer of 1963. Cameo-Parkway was quick to capitalize on the success of the single by issuing
a “So Much In Love: The Story of a Summer Love” LP. The album was a concert album with
spoken introductions to each song telling a love story. Again, Cameo-Parkway recalled the first
album cover (shown here) and replaced it with the more familiar cover of the Tymes looking at
their watches. Copies of the album’s first cover are now highly sought after by record collectors.
“So Much In Love” launched the career of the Tymes, eventually totally 28 singles, 10 of which
were chart records. The Tymes are honored this year as East Coast Music Hall Of Fame
Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.

The Tymes LP So Much In Love