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Gene Puerling

Gene Puerling, leader of the innovative vocal quartet the Hi-Lo's and a noted vocal arranger whose sophisticated harmonies influenced the sound of other groups, including the Beach Boys

The Hi-Lo's rich sound sprang from Puerling arrangements that could make other performers swoon. Jazz pianist and TV host Steve Allen is said to have called the Hi-Lo's “the best vocal group of all time.” Singer Bing Crosby reportedly said: “These guys are so good they can whisper in harmony.”

Puerling “exhumed songs from the past and reinvigorated them,” creating “a catalog of grand American standards,” Don Gold, a former Downbeat magazine editor, wrote in 2002 in the Chicago Tribune.

One of the Hi-Lo's first recordings, Georgia, experienced some success, and the group received critical praise for pop renditions of such classic jazz tunes as Fascinatin' Rhythm and Skylark.

Their 1956 album Suddenly It's the Hi-Lo's briefly became one of the Top 20 albums and two years later another, And All That Jazz, was highly praised. Despite being critical favorites, the group never achieved great commercial success.

Clark Burroughs, the tenor whose range as the Hi-Lo's lead vocalist freed Puerling to write daring arrangements, Puerling's charts were “complex and hilarious and beautiful -- and difficult. He could make our four voices sound like a brass section.”

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