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Arts and Entertainment

Ruby and the Romantics Day in Akron
Akron group scores major hit with "Our Day Will Come" and others but retires quietly in Akron.

Mark Urycki
Ruby and the Romantics
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Yesterday (Thurs) the Mayor of Akron declared it to be “Ruby and the Romantics Day.” While Akron has boasted such recording stars as Chrissie Hynde,  James Ingraham,  and the Black Keys,  few people in the city can recall that group. But as WKSU’s Mark Urycki reports, most will know their music.   

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The Romantics were Ed Roberts,  George Lee,  Ronald Mosley, and  Leroy Fann.  They’re all dead now but two of their widows and other family members gathered in Akron’s City Council chambers along with lead singer Ruby Nash Garnett and her husband.  They may not be household names but they went straight to the top of the charts with their first single 50 years ago this Saturday, "Our Day Will Come."

Just two years earlier in 1961 Ruby Nash was excited just to sing in a talent show at the Akron Community Center, which no longer exists.  Nash won the contest and the members of a male group in the contest immediately asked her to join them. She did and soon they were auditioning as the Feilos in New York for Al Stanton and Kapp Records.  

Stanton was reluctant to give this new band "Our Day Will Come" but they won him over and it hit number one on February 9th 1963.  Ruby and Romantics were not one hit wonders.  They hit again a few months later with "My Summer Love."  And by August of 63 another hit "Hey There Lonely Boy."

Ruby Nash had a more modern sound than many R&B singers,  similar to Dionne Warwick who was also just getting started then.   

The band stayed mostly in the North but took one bus tour to the South with Dick Clark.  Both black and white musicians were part of the tour and they felt the sting of the Jim Crow laws when they pulled in to a hotel and the white people there exited the pool.   

In 1963 Ruby and the Romantics recorded the 1934 Johnny Mercer song PS I Love You.  The same year The Beatles released their own PS I Love you.  The British invasion was about to start.  

Ruby and the Romantics stayed together about 10 years, recording 4 albums.   Ruby moved back to Akron as did Ronald Mosely. She worked for Ohio Bell and at a Salvation Army store.  Mosley worked at a car lot.  Roberts, Lee, and Fann stayed in New York. In 2002 Ruby came out of retirement for a PBS television doo wop concert.  That was the last time she sang in public. 

Ruby Nash Garnett says the first time she heard herself on the radio she was unable to speak.  She was just as emotional yesterday at Akron City Hall for Ruby and the Romantics day.   

Listener Comments:

Ruby your voice was so beautiful you were so classy and poised. You were my favorite the words of your songs were so different when I first heard Summer Love . I thought it was the most beautiful song I had ever heard. I love you till this day and no other group in my eyes ever sounded like you guys. I have the best of recordings and I just ordered another. I am wearing this one out. You are my all time favorites.

Posted by: sandy cofield (N.Y.C.) on January 13, 2014 6:01AM
What a wonderful tribute to such a great group!Ruby, I still play your "Best Of" Cd over and over again!Mosley,Roberts,Lee, and Fann R.I.P. Your background vocals and arrangements were Timeless!
Byron Woods

Posted by: Byron Woods, Singer (Chicago, IL) on February 9, 2013 12:02PM
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