Golden Hits Of The 60s”
Main MenuConcept Refinement The Author..Wayne JancikGolden Age Of The 50sGolden Age Of The 60s1970s and There After
RANDY & THE RAINBOWS
No. 10 August 24, 1963
Initially the 12 year-old Safuto brothers, Dominick (lead) and Frank (first tenor), along with cousin Eddie
Scalia and Rosalie Calindo, were The Dialtones, responsible for the collectible cut, “Till I Hear It From
You,” issued on George Goldner’s Goldisc. Later, while attending classes at Grover Cleveland High, the
Safuto brothers, Dominick and Frank met the Zero brothers, Mike (baritone) and Sal (second tenor), and
their singing buddy Ken Arcipowski (bass). In 1962, with the addition of the Safuto’s, the fivesome from
the Maspeth section of Queens became Junior & The Counts.
After six months of practice, they secured Fran Carrarie as their manager. Fran was friends with Neil
Levenson, an aspiring songwriter who gave Randy (Dominick) & The Rainbows one of his tunes–Denise”
and hooked them up with Bright Tunes productions, the creative front for the Tokens, known world-wide
for “The lion sleeps Tonight,” who produced the track and approached the Scwartz brothers, Bob and
Gene, owners of Laurie/Rust Records.
“I don’t know how it happened, but the Tokens came back to us and said you guys are now Randy & The
Rainbows,” said Mike Zero in an exclusive interview. “We hated the name. We were kids… They insisted.”
The rest is history–and unfortunately for vocal-group fans, so was the group of excited 16 year-olds; as a
chartmaking act. The Hullaballoos, Jay & the Americans, Jerry Lee Lewis recorded future songs by
Levenson; though none charted. And try as they did, Randy & The Rainbows could never again equal
the phenomenal success of their debut single.
The follow-up was “Why Do Kids Grow Up?.” “There was confusion,” said Zero. “A lot of things were
going on. We rehearsed it a certain way and it never seemed to come off right. It took too long to get it
out. ‘Denise’ was already coming off the charts; and it wasn’t ready yet. It came out just before President
Kennedy was killed. That and the change in music. The Beatles were starting to happen.”
“There was foot-dragging,” added Vinnie Corella, a later member of the Rainbows. “The record company
was at odds with the Tokens [the acts producers]. As a follow-up, the company was looking for something
different. It took a while for the company, the producers and the group to get in sync. Too much time
“Initial record sales were such that, for a moment, it looked like it was going to be a bigger hit than
‘Denise,”‘ said Zero.
“By the first of the year , Neil [Levenson] was presenting us with tunes that had that British flavor,”
added Corello. “Except for the Beach Boys, Four Seasons and Motown acts, it was getting really hard for
any American act to get a break.”
“Happy Teenager,” a retake on THE ELEGANTS’ “Little Star” and “Joy Ride” followed–none gave in to the
sound of the future. “These were, for the time, high tech records,” said Zero. “We didn’t lean towards
the Beatie sound, but the sound wasn’t dated. They were fat-sounding, dense records. It wasn’t doo-wop
either that we were doing. We were on the cusp of a sound that could have happened.”
The Rainbows remained active and continued to record sporadically for Eddie Matthews’ Mike label–
“Lovely Lies” and “Bonnie’s Part Of Town”–and in 1967 the entack group recorded “I’ll Be Seeing You” for
the Tokens’ B. T. Puppy company.
Kenny left the Rainbows in 1968; Sal in ’69. Thereafter, the Safuto brothers and Mike Zero with the
addition of Vinny Corella–who had recorded a pair of platters with his group Triangle for Paramount,
in 1972–performed continuously as Randy & the Rainbows and as Madison Street. Under the latter
moniker, they recorded a pair of 45s–“Minstrel Man” and “Simple Love Song”–for Millenium by 1978.
“In retrospect,” said Zero, “we should have remained with the Rainbow name, rather than Madison Street.
Both of those disks made Billboard’s “Adult Contemporary” charts. It was the Rainbows who recorded
them and there are people who want to get everything that we made that don’t know that Madison Street
In a continuing effort to contemporize and make their music acceptable to a mass audience, Mike and the
Safuto brothers worked the clubs as the hard rock outfit Them and Us. In 1978, the group Blondie had its
first British chart success with “Denis,” a sex-changed remake of “Denise.” When the Rainbows played
New york’s Mudd Club later that year, Harry appeared asking for an autograph from the group.
In 1979, for Infinity, still as Madison Street, they recorded a disco thing, “Hey, Look Whose Dancin”‘–as
a 45 and 12″--with Horace Hart, producer for the Village People; John Benitez, “JELLYBEAN,” as “disco
With the formation of Marty Pekar’s Ambient Sound Records in 1982, Mike, Vinnie and the Safuto
brothers returned to the studios as Randy & The Rainbows. Prior to the release of their first-ever LP,
as merely “the Rainbows,” the group had a Four Seasons medley disk issued by Fox-Moor. C’Mon Lets
Go, a brand new album of greased neo-doo-wop, with “Try The Impossible,” was issued by Ambient
Sound, followed two years later by “Remember (Walking In The Sand)” and yet another package of
harmony heaven, Remember.
“We played in Washington D.C., the Inaugural Balls for Reagan and Bush, the Bottom Line, Little Darlin’s,
the Copa Cabana, the Rock’n’ Roll Palace, Meadowlands… We didn’t just disappear,” Zero said. “And
we haven’t been just sittin’ on our hands, all these years. We’re talking about something we love, as
much as life.”