This highly influential vocal group was formed in 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Along with the Ravens, the Orioles were considered the pioneers of rhythm and blues vocal harmony. The group members were Sonny Til (b. Earlington Carl Tilghman, 18 August 1928, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, d. 9 December 1981, USA; lead), Alexander Sharp (b. 1919, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, d. 1970; tenor), George Nelson (b. Baltimore, Maryland, USA, d. 1959; baritone), Johnny Reed (b. 16 July 1923, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, d. 18 June 2005, Lakewood, New Jersey, USA; bass) and guitarist/second tenor Tommy Gaither (b. Baltimore, Maryland, USA, d. 5 November 1950, USA). Originally known as the Vibra-Naires, the group (with original bass vocalist Richard Williams) made their debut on the Manor label in March 1948 with the track "Tell Me So". The newly renamed Orioles (to honour the state bird of Maryland) launched their career with the quiet, languorous ballad "It's Too Soon To Know", which went to number 1 in the R&B charts (number 13 pop) in late 1948. The song was written by Deborah Chessler, the group's manager, and she wrote many of their subsequent hits. Recordings
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