Tuesday, April 21, 2015


On a sad note we report the passing of Thomas M. Royal April 18, 2015 at age 81. Tom was the leader of the vocal group "The Emeralds" (1955-57) and the father of the very talented Susan Royal famed drummer in many CNY bands/ Below a history of The Emeralds.
The Emeralds  Syracuse vocal group (1955-57) consisted of  leader Tom Royal (age 22), Greg Tierney (age 16), James Royal (age 18) and James Fagan (age 18). This great group never released any songs professionally but did have a four-song demo that included their classic song "School Boys Love' (also Red Top) that is included in Ron Wray's "History of Syracuse Music" album series.
The Emeralds earliest performance we can find dates back to October 13, 1956 at the VA Hospital for their "Helping Hands" event. That day they shared the stage with the Bigtree Sisters (Norma, Jean & Sandy), Melo Wiley and others. Next they played a show billed as "The Great Record Hop" at the Jefferson Street Armory (Feb 8, 1957) for WFBL Radio DJ Bill Thorpe & Chet Whiteside (WNDR). They appeared in Feb 1957 on Jim Deline Show on WSYR TV-3 and then at the Syracuse War Memorial during half-time at a Syracuse Nationals NBA game vs the Rochester Royals on Feb 14, 1957. Next Emeralds sang at the Jewish Community Center (March 2, 1957) with the Orange Peels.
November 1, 1957. brought the Emeralds to a Nottingham High football game for a stunning half-time performance then ended the year Dec 20, 1957 playing a Radio Talent show at the War Memorial with headliner Thurston Harris who had a national hit with "Little Bitty Pretty One". Also on that show was local area performers- The Eldaros (Bobby Green), Jennie Lee Lambert, Rhythm Cadets (Bebo Singleton & Otis Smith), Tex Roe (Country singer) , Johnny Carlo, Bobby Hosid and others.
April 18, 1958 The Emeralds shared the Lincoln Auditorium stage with Louis Armstrong and His All-Star band. A few weeks alter (May 7, 1958) came the Syracuse Youth Rally at the War Memorial with the 4 Vagabonds, Dick Van Dyke and Baseball Hall of Famer- Jackie Robinson. Then traveled to Rochester appearing at the Cotton Club.
A great career and a legendary great vocal group that we are still talking about to this day.

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