Monday, November 18, 2013


This highly regarded Syracuse 1955-58 Syracuse vocal group consisted of Syracuse natives Greg Tearney (age 16 who attended Nottingham High School), James Royal (age 18) his brother Tom Royal (age 22) and James Fagan (age 18). The group never released any songs professionally but did record a 4-song demo at Syracuse's Dufford Studio that included the classic song "School Boys Love" (also Red Top) that is included on our History of Syracuse Music album series.
By 1957 the quartet have been singing together for almost two years and have appeared mostly in area clubs, schools and local functions. They also played the Cotton Club in Rochester and appeared many times at talent shows the Syracuse War Memorial.
One of the earliest 1957 performance we have found was a show billed as "The Great Record Show" at Syracuse's Jefferson Street Armory (Feb 8, 1957) for DJ's Bill Thrope (WFBL) & Chet Whiteside (WNDR). That February they also appeared with Jim DeLine on WSYR TV and then Feb 14, 1957 sang at the War Memorial during a Syracuse Nationals NBA basketball game vs Rochester. March 2 came an engagement at the Jewish Community Center teaming with the Syracuse University band the Orange Peels.

October 13, 1957, The Emeralds played at benefit at the VA Hospital for their "Helping Hands Event". That day they sang and shared the stage with the Bigtree Sisters (Norma, Jean and Sandy), Melo Wiley and others making it a great success.

Other 1957 dates brought the Emeralds to Nottingham High School singing during halftime for a football game (November 1, 1957) and ended the year December 20, 1957 playing a Radio Talent Show at the War Memorial in Syracuse with headliner Thurston Harris who had the national hit "Little Bitty Pretty One". Others on that show included The Eldaros (Bobby Green), Jennie Lee Lambert (mother of current CNY singer Lisa Gentile), Rhythm Cadets (Otis Smith & Bebo Singleton), Tex Roe (Cortland area country singer), Johnny Carlo (Decca Records artist), Bobby Hosid and others.,

Benefits at the Veterans Hospital was a regular part of the Emeralds schedule. They also worked on a recording deal, that resulted in a 4-song demo mentioned above.

April 18, 1958 The Emeralds shared the Lincoln Auditorium stage with Louis Armstrong & His All-Star band. A few week later (May 7, 1958) came the Syracuse Youth Rally before a packed crowd at the War Memorial with the 4 Vagabonds, Dick Van Dyke, National Baseball Hall of Famer- Jackie Robinson, Jimmy Randolph, Norma Smith and Danny Rose along with some of show business brightest prospects.

The Emeralds were tremendous vocal talents who were highly regarded in the entertainment field (1955-58).

Greg Tearney became a famed national black belt and a top instructor owning his own business. He was recently inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame (Oct 2013). One of the Royals Brothers became Ast. Principal at my old school Grant Junior High.

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