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In the Beginning

There Was the Men’s Room

 Sam Wellington


Sam Wellington

In the Beginning…There Was the Men’s Room, is the second book from Sam Wellington former singer with the Nashville harmony group photo of the Jets 1955The Four Guys. Sam’s highly successful first book “Who Wants to Be a Country Music Star” made the Top 100 charts in major bookshops.

A group of high school kids originally from the Steubenville/Toronto area of Ohio enjoyed singing doo-wop and a cappella named themselves The Jets in the mid 50’s. They enjoyed rehearsing in the men’s room of the Ft. Steuben Hotel due to the acoustic reverberation, hence the book title! After winning a Tri-State area talent contest the group disbanded as they moved from high school to college and military service. After two stints in the US Navy, two of the Jets, Sam and his friend Brent Burkett formed a new group calling themselves The Four Guys.

From the 1960's onwards The Four Guys were a popular harmony singing group who drew book coverappeal with a unique sound by blending easy country, western and pop music that drew much broader audiences. The Four Guys regularly toured with artists such as Charlie Pride, Hank Williams Jr, Ferlin Husky, Faron Young, Marty Robbins and Jimmy Dean and later on the cruise ships. In 1967 they became members of the Grand Ole Opry and also appeared on shows hosted by Bob Hope, Willie Nelson, Dinah Shore and Dolly Parton. Hall Of Fame D.J. Charlie Douglas later tagged them The "Fabulous" Four Guys. After 32 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and singing with the Guys, Sam and Brent retired in 1999 and The Fabulous Four Guys ended as a single unit.

In the Beginning…There Was the Men’s Room, chronicles the trials and tribulations of four young men seeking their fame and fortune in the country music business. Very often the lack of fortune was inevitable. We read of the naivety of the early years when these four somewhat gullible star-The 4 Guys 1989 L-R Laddie Cain, John Frost, Sam Wellington, Brent Burkettstruck young men are both INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY tied when they sign legal contracts without having them checked by their own legal representative, only to see them come back and haunt them at a later date. We read of the ups and downs and the hard slog of building a career together.

We face the egos, difficulties and lessons learnt when several people have to work daily in the close proximity of a single unit. See how the sparks fly as personalities clash and individual members look at the greater picture of pursuing their own individual career opportunities. Suffer the headaches of having to find a replacement when one member both upsets the apple-cart and has to be replaced or in some cases decides to move on to greener fields, (sometimes finding The 4 Guys today Glenn Bates, John Frost, Sam Wellington, Gary Buckthem so green after all). Endure the thrill of the major record companies offering to sign The Four Guys, only to see it turn to despair as the hand of fate snatches away that converted prize.

On the brighter side of the coin; experience the camaraderie and see how friends and big named stars of the day are so generous and unselfish with their support help and input. Follow the changes of the group’s line-up and their move up the career ladder and on to opening their own highly successful theatre restaurant The Harmony House in Nashville. Filled with a host of wonderful photos, there is a short history of the Barber Shop Quartet singing and a nod to the earlier harmony bands such as The Mills Brothers and The Ink Spots.

As you read “In the Beginning…There Was the Men’s Room,” you’ll not want to put it down as it races ahead at an exciting pace throughout. There is frustration, desperation and great lifetime friendships to be found in this fascinating and revealing insight into the turbulent days of The Four Guys career. A book not to be missed!!!
In the Beginning…There Was the Men’s Room  can be purchased at good book stores incuding AuthorHouse
Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Books-A-Million.com, Target.com and Borders.com
Four Guys website

Graham Lees July 2008


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