The Dells formed while the members were still in high school (1952) during the early doo-wop years, and it's not hard to imagine these young men honing their chops while singing under a street lamp in their hometown of Harvey, IL (just south of Chicago). Their first single was released as The El-Rays in 1954 (featuring the lineup of Marvin Junior, Mickey McGill, Lucius McGill, Verne Allison, Chuck Barksdale, and Johnny Funches), and by 1955 they had renamed themselves the Dells and became a quintet after the departure of Lucius McGill. The group cut the exquisite "Oh What A Night" for Vee Jay Records in 1956 which became a million seller, and one of the most loved doo-wop songs in the history of the genre. As simple as a haiku it goes straight to the heart, and the purity of this record sends chills down my spine, and Marvin co-wrote this track with group member Johnny Funches.
The Dells spent the early part of the '60's as studio singers (most notably singing the backups on Barbara Lewis' "Hello Stranger"; a performance which I rank as one of the all time greats, not only from Barbara Lewis and The Dells, but in the history of recorded music). The group cut several unsuccessful (but usually quite good) singles for Vee Jay during these years (such as this one from 1965,
but their career renaissance began when they were signed to Chess records and began working under the production and writing talent of Bobby Miller. The singles released by the group between '66-'68 are some of the greatest ever, and the LP There Is, which collects some of these 45's and adds in a few more stellar tracks, is simply one of the greatest soul LP's ever released. "Run For Cover" is featured on that LP, and was also released as a single. The track has it all- drama, tension, and a groove that, once again, hypnotizes me and sends me into a really great place. e-posted another amazing Dells track, the title track of their masterpiece LP, There Is. Check it out here. I recommend immediately buying and listening to this LP as soon as possible! While the '60's soul era is typically best represented by singles, this album hangs together as a whole, and every song on the album is stellar.
"Stay In My Corner" proved to be one of the Dells biggest hits, and this ballad (once again) shows Marvin's uber-powerful voice along with those sublime group harmonies. Luckily for us, this incredible live performance is available for our viewing and listening pleasure.