’60s singing group gets star on Walk of Fame

HOLLYWOOD — A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled Feb. 24 honoring the male pop vocal trio The Lettermen thanks to the efforts of their “friends club.”

“What makes this Walk of Fame ceremony extra special is that their very own fans, the Lettermen Friends Club, nominated the group and sponsored the star for their favorite artists,” said Ana Martinez, producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies.

Donovan Tea, a member of the group since 1984, said the star belongs to the group’s original members, Tony Butala, who attended the ceremony, and the late Bob Engemann and Jim Pike.

“But being the gracious men that they are I think they’d be the first to tell you a little bit of the star belongs every sound man, musician, road manager, office personnel and of course, every man who donned a Lettermen sweater and walked on stage to continue that Lettermen legacy,” Tea said.

“I think they would also tell you that the biggest part of the star belongs to the millions and millions of Lettermen fans all over the world, from Tokyo, Japan to Manila, Philippines to Tyler, Texas and everywhere in between. Thanks to the fans, the Lettermen music will always live on.”

Butala, who retired from full-time performing with the group in May but still occasionally performs at its concerts, also spoke at the ceremony in front of the AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts on Vine Street.

The ceremony came two days before the group begins a series of five concerts at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, Nevada.

The group had its first hit in 1961 with the romantic ballad on its first single, “The Way You Look Tonight” reached No. 13 on the Billboard chart. Another ballad on The Lettermen’s second single, “When I Fall In Love” released later that year reached No. 7 on the Billboard chart.

The Lettermen have recorded more than 75 albums, with 18 gold records, and such hits as “When I Fall In Love,” “Come Back Silly Girl,” “Theme From A Summer Place,” “Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” “Put Your Head On My Shoulder,” “Hurt So Bad” and “Shangri-La.”

The Lettermen have toured Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Germany, France, South America, Canada and Mexico.

They have appeared on such television shows as “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “The Jack Benny Program” and “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.”

Independent Wire Services