The Hilltoppers, one of the top vocal groups of the 1950s, will be inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame on April 12 in Lexington.
The Hilltoppers, known for their hit “P.S. I Love You” and for their collegiate attire of beanies, letter sweaters, gray flannels and white bucks, got their start in April 1952 when musician and WKU alumnus Billy Vaughn asked WKU students Jimmy Sacca, Don McGuire and Seymour Spiegelman to help him record his composition “Trying.” The song, recorded in Van Meter Auditorium, was released in May 1952 and reached No. 7 on the Billboard charts that fall.
McGuire and Sacca will attend the induction ceremony. The RedShirts, WKU’s all-male chorus of a capella singers, will perform songs of The Hilltoppers as part of the induction at the Lexington Center Bluegrass Ballroom.
The other 2013 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum inductees are Steven Curtis Chapman, The Kentucky Headhunters, Exile, Skeeter Davis, Old Joe Clark and Emory & Linda Martin. These artists will join other Kentucky native music professionals to be honored for their contribution to music in the state of Kentucky and around the world. (Read more about the Hall of Fame.)
From 1952 to 1957, The Hilltoppers charted 19 hits on Billboard, half in the top 10 including “Trying,” “I’d Rather Die Young,” “P.S. I Love You,” “To Be Alone,” “Love Walked In,” “Till Then,” “From the Vine Came the Grape,” “Only You” and “Marianne.”
While still students, The Hilltoppers performed on eight nationally syndicated television programs and flew to countless weekend engagements in cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Boston, St. Louis and New York.
On Oct. 26, 1952, The Hilltoppers appeared on Ed Sullivan’s nationally syndicated CBS TV show “Toast of the Town.” The Juke Box Operators of America voted The Hilltoppers the best vocal combination of 1953 in a Cash Box magazine poll.
Throughout the 1950s, The Hilltoppers kept a teenage and college following but were also a big draw for popular nightclubs like the Casa Loma in St. Louis, the Castle Farms Ballroom in Cincinnati and the Emerald Room in Houston. Tours abroad to Great Britain (1956), Germany, France & England (1958) and the South Pacific (1959) brought them international recognition.
Still best known for “P.S. I Love You,” which sold over 3 million copies, The Hilltoppers secured fame for themselves and their alma mater. From Van Meter Auditorium to stages around the world, Sacca, McGuire, Spiegelman and Vaughn promoted a clean-cut image of 1950s college life and romantic love.
Read more about The Hilltoppers at http://www.wku.edu/thehilltoppers/
Contact: Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, (877) 356-3263.