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The Eternals

Rockin' In The Jungle

With only three releases to their name, The Eternals managed to leave a couple of genuinely inventive rockers behind.

Originally calling themselves The Gleamers when they formed in the Bronx during the late '50s, they consisted of lead singer Carlos 'Charlie' Girona, first tenor Fred Hodge, second tenor Ernie Sierra, baritone Arnie Torres, and bass Alex Miranda. The multi-racial quintet switched their handle to The Orbits prior to meeting manager Bill Martin. Gerona had sketched out a novelty rocker entitled Christmas In The Jungle; Martin brought the group to WABC deejay Cousin Brucie Morrow, who hooked the group up with veteran label owner Morty Craft.

Since it was the spring of 1959, a Yuletide ditty was way out of season. So Girona and Martin transformed it into Rockin' In The Jungle, a very atmospheric theme populated with bird calls and other jungle ephemera largely supplied by Torres. The quintet waxed their creation and its Girona/Martin-penned flip Rock 'n' Roll Cha-Cha at New York's Beltone Studios, and it came out that May on Craft's new Hollywood logo. The group had undergone another name change prior to its pressing; Martin reportedly inspired the group to change its name to The Eternals with a Biblical proclamation about eternity.  That summer, Rockin' In The Jungle made a #78 showing on 'Billboard's' pop charts. 

The Eternals' raucous Hollywood encore that September, Babalu's Wedding Day, was just as imaginative, a veritable 'you are there' account of Babalu's nuptials (complete with a nefarious monkey tied to a string) penned by Girona, Miranda, and manager Martin (Joe Rene arranged and conducted; King Curtis stepped up for a sax solo). With My Girl adorning the flip (no, not that My Girl), it failed to dent the charts. The group moved over to another Craft-operated imprint, Warwick, for their '61 farewell offering, Blind Date b/w Today. Miranda died in 1971; Sierra formed another lineup entirely the following year for live oldies appearances.

- Bill Dahl -

Various Street Corner Symphonies 1959 Vol.11

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