A self-contained quartet from Philadelphia with every member doubling on an instrument, The Fireflies launched the career of Ritchie Adams, whose later solo vocal exploits were overshadowed by his writing success. Adams was their original lead singer/guitarist, joined by bassist Lee Reynolds from Knoxville, Tennessee, New Yorker Paul Giacalone on drums, and guitarist Carl Girasoli.
Their 1958 A-side debut for Roulette, The Crawl, was co-penned by Girasoli. Where The Candlelights Glow adorned the flip; the guys were billed as The Fireflys. Producer Gerry Granahan was the leader of Dicky Doo and The Don'ts, who waxed a series of upbeat '58 hits for Philly-based Swan Records (Click-Clack, Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu and its B-side Flip Top Box, Leave Me Alone [Let Me Cry]). Granahan also scored a rocking '58 hit for Sunbeam Records under his own name, No Chemise, Please.
Granahan produced The Fireflies' ballad You Were Mine, penned by Giacalone and featuring Adams' lead in front of mixed-gender vocal backing. Again, Rudy West stepped up to cover it for King. The flip, Stella's Got A Fella, was basically twangy rockabilly. You Were Mine rolled up to #21 pop during the autumn of '59 as the maiden issue on the fledgling New York-based Ribbon label. Their encore outing for the firm, Adams got featured billing on The Fireflies' Ribbon encore I Can't Say Goodbye, another ballad that made it to #90 early the next year with What Did I Do Wrong situated on the other side. The Fireflies tried once more on Ribbon with Because Of My Pride b/w My Girl (not The Tempts' song either, still a ways off).
Ribbon broke Adams out as a solo after that, issuing Lonely One b/w Tell Me BabyDid You Wait? and Back To School b/w Don't Go My Love, Don't Go while The Fireflies moved over to Canadian American for 1961's Marianne b/w Give All Your Love To Me before calling it quits for awhile. Adams took his pipes over to Joe Rene's Beltone logo, another New York imprint, in '61. His two singles there paled in comparison to his co-writing Bobby Lewis' pop chart-topper for Beltone, Tossin' And Turnin'. That didn't stop Adams from extending his own singing career with three '62 45s for Imperial, five more for Congress, and a Teddy Randazzo-produced remake of You Were Mine in 1966 for MGM.
Reynolds reformed The Fireflies with new members for four singles and an album on the Taurus label that stretched through much of the '60s; the first was a '62 takeoff on their biggest hit, You Were Mine (For Awhile).