Beach Music legends schedule Ahoskie appearance

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2006

AHOSKIE – There are numerous bands credited with making “Beach Music” what it is today.

But there’s only one Bill Deal’s Original Rhondels.

That group is headed to Ahoskie on Saturday, June 17 to perform in a benefit show for the Hertford-Gates Relay for Life. If you didn’t contribute to that worthwhile cause during its two-day run last month at Chowan University, then here’s your chance to join the battle against cancer while shagging to the popular beat of the Original Rhondels.

The event is scheduled for 9 p.m. n 1 a.m. at Quinton’s Restaurant in downtown Ahoskie. Advance tickets are selling fast for $25 per couple or $15 for singles. All proceeds benefit Relay for Life.

For tickets, contact Debbie (332-5707), Ricky (332-2029), Janet (357-0470) or Melanie (358-7822).

Hailing from Virginia Beach, Bill Deal and the Rhondels are a Beach Music tradition who have performed their hit recordings in almost every major city in the United States.

In 1969, Bill began a recording career that would include five hit singles in a 24 month whirlwind. First was “May I”, followed by “I’ve Been Hurt” and “What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am?”

With these three hits charting the top 10, Bill traveled coast to coast as the eight piece ensemble Bill Deal and the Rhondels.

Displaying outstanding choreography, vocals and lots of brass, their hits went to the top of the charts in countries such as Argentina, Spain, Brazil, Germany and Mexico where “He Herido” (“I’ve Been Hurt”) was nominated Song of the Year.

Bill recorded the organ solo on Jimmy Soul’s “If You Wanna Be Happy” at the age of 16, which has been featured in movie sound tracks such as “Good Will Hunting,” “Grumpy Old Men,” “Mask” and others. After years on the road, Bill decided to retire and spend time closer to home.

Over the years, Beach music and certain vintage music had grown in popularity with such magnitude that Bill decided to respond to demand and perform a “one night only” engagement at Fat Roger’s Beach Club in Virginia Beach. What was designed as an evening of fun and reminiscing with a few friends turned out to be an instant sell-out, a magical event televised by news media. There were more friends and fans outside than inside the standing-room only concert. It would prove to be an evening of some of the best music these gentlemen had ever created. There have been many encores ever since.

Fifteen years later with five new CDs and tapes to their credit, Bill Deal’s Original Rhondels appear in areas such as Orlando and Tampa, FL, Charleston and Myrtle Beach, SC, Montgomery, AL and Washington, DC. The Original Rhondels repeatedly return to crowds of thousands at various annual Beach Music festivals, college events and concerts throughout Virginia and the Carolinas. A tape that accompanies Pat Conroy’s novel “Beach Music” which debuted at #1 on the New York Best Seller List, features Bill Deal’s biggest hit “What Kind of Fool”.

“I’ve Been Hurt” and “What Kind Of Fool” are featured on the soundtrack of the film FARGO and the producer’s film TREE’S LOUNGE, available in all video stores and shown on HBO. These songs are also included in Pat Conroy’s BEACH MUSIC.

The unexpected passing of Bill Deal in December of 2003 was a great loss to the music industry. The Original Rhondels are committed to keeping alive the great music that Bill’s fans have grown to love over the years.

With Brian Bleakley and Gary Hardy on vocals and trumpet, Wayne Kessinger on bari sax and vocals, Mike Kerwin on guitar and vocals, Peter Pope on keys and vocals, Steve Ambrose on sax and vocals and Sonny Morris on drums, the Original Rhondels are stronger than ever, performing hits from their newest CD, &uot;Spinnin Round.”

Please, do yourself a favor and catch what has proven to be a Beach Music tradition for over 40 years and help the ongoing fight against cancer at the same time.