IF YOU GO
The Vogues, with special guests the West Side Soul Surfers
When: 6 p.m. Sat. (May 31)
Where: Fifth Third Ball Park , 4500 West River Dr. NE
(Concert preceded by a 3 p.m. classic car show)
Admission: With free ticket, available at WGVU studios, Whitecaps box office, Kent District Library and Ed Koehn Auto Group locations, and select Papa John’s locations.
More info: wgvu.org, (616) 331-6666, (800) 442-2771
Even though he’s just 38 years old, singer Troy Elich grew up with the 1960s sounds of The Vogues.
“My dad sang with them,” recalled Elich of his father, Stan, who was a fill-in before permanently joining the pop vocal group in 1989.
“Back in school I took some heat because I didn’t know who many of the current acts were,” said Elich from his home southwest of Pittsburgh.
“Everyone else was listening to Motley Crue or New Kids on the Block, and there I was talking about The Drifters and The Platters.”
The smooth vocal sounds of The Vogues were behind their great ‘60s hits such as “Turn Around, Look At Me,” “You’re The One” and “Five O’Clock World.”
Several other groups (including The Lettermen) did versions of “Turn Around,” but The Vogues’ rendition was the biggest. In fact, it was the group’s top-selling hit single.
“That’s odd because ‘Five O’Clock World’ is the most recognizable of our songs, with all the TV shows and movies it’s been in,” said Elich.
That ballad standard was a huge chart-denter in 1965-66 and was later highlighted in films such as “Good Morning, Vietnam” and on TV in the “Drew Carey Show.”
While the song offers a small nod to the earlier doo-wap era, the tune’s mini-bridge (“Oh-de-lay-ee-ee…..”) actually contains something rarely heard in contemporary music – yodeling.
“You can’t believe how many people think there are actually words being sung there,” Elich said.
“But it’s nothing more than a yodel.”
The Vogues original lead singer, Bill Burkette, has been back with the group since 2008. Elich says the 71-year-old still sings lead on all the group’s songs and “can still hit the high notes” in their original keys.
In concert, The Vogues will often cover some other songs of the era – from The Coasters or the Everly Brothers. The generally close their sets with the Lee Greenwood standard, “God Bless the U.S.A.”
But the crowd reaction to the music of The Vogues is what Elich loves most.
“When you see their faces light up and get a big smile…,” he said.
Troy joined the group in 2000 and shared the stage with his father until the elder Elich passed away four years ago.
“As a kid, he was always my hero and later singing with him was a great experience,” he said.
“I still feel close to him when I’m up there singing those songs. And I can still envision myself as a kid in the audience watching him sing.”
Back in their heyday The Vogues had four vocalists and a back-up band. They’ve stayed with three singers for most of the time since, careful to keep the harmonies precise.
Elich admits the group is doing fewer concerts now than five or 10 years ago.
“We were on the road so much back then…now if we have a month with five gigs, that’s OK,” he offered.
The singer says they keep the songs as close to their original sound as possible – minus the 40-piece orchestra used in the recording studio on several of them.
“We have to get that sound out of two keyboards – that’s the only difference.”Tags: concert, film, movie, music, singer, tv