Tears On My Pillow

Little Anthony & The Imperials
1958 Doo-Wop Classic.

Tears on My Pillow is another great original Doo-Wop classic with lyrics you can understand and appriciate while enjoying those fabulous harmonies created by the many great Doo-Wop groups from this era. It will always be a special time in my life as a teenager growing up when songs like this were on the charts.

Written by Sylvester Bradford and Al Lewis, this classic golden oldie has beautiful words of sadness and longing for beginning again.

You don't remember me
But I remember you
Twas' not so long ago
You broke my heart in two
Tears on my pillow.....pain in my heart
Caused by You......(ooh, ooh)

Kylie Minogue covered this in 1990 for the soundtrack of the movie The Delinquents. Her version hit #1 in the UK, however, of all the cover versions of this teen love song, and there were many, this original classic stands alone as the very best. It remains The Imperials' signature song.

Tears On My Pillow | The Beginning

It hadn't been an easy journey for Anthony Gourdine, a Brooklyn native who fronted The Duponts and then The Chesters on singles that failed to hit before the latter group was renamed The Imperials (allegedly by End  label public relations man Lou Galli).

In addition to Jerome Anthony Gourdine, the vocal combo’s original members included  first tenor, Tracy Lord, second tenor, Ernest Wright,  Jr, baritone, Clarence Collins, and bass Glouster "Nate" Rogers. 

Their first single for George Goldner's New York-based End label was supposed to have featured the soaring ballad Two People In The World, but it was the other side, the silky Tears On My Pillow, that became their calling card when it became a massive hit in the summer of 1958.

Well Known DJ  Creates "Little Anthony" Identifier.

Early copies of the original End Record single were credited simply to "The Imperials," a group which had previously been known as "The Duponts" and "The Chesters."

Brooklyn, New York deejay Alan Freed gave the group's lead singer, Anthony Gourdine, top billing while introducing the single over the air and used the nickname "Little Anthony" because of his youthful-sounding falsetto vocals. The nickname became an identifier.

Subsequent pressings feature lead “Little” Anthony Gourdine and  credits “Little Anthony  & The Imperials.” 

“Tears on My Pillow” went to #2 on the R&B Chart and #4 on the U.S. Pop Chart and became a million seller. The original A-side, now the B-side featured the song “Two People in the World,” which was successful as well.  Watch this video and listen to this classic oldie. The people remembered and what a wonderful welcome they got!

Imperials "Diary" Lost To Sedaka.

In early 1959 End label owner, George Goldner was leaving on a European vacation and left instructions with his second-in-command to issue another Imperials ballad, Neil Sedaka's "The Diary" as the group's next 45.

Instead, A&R man, Richard Barrett chose his own composition "So Much" as the next group's release. As it turned out, by the time The Imperials' treatment of "The Diary" came out, Sedaka's own RCA Victor version had stolen its chart thunder.  

1959 - A Missed Gospel Rocker & Then Shimmy Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop.

With some low-end chart entries in 1959 the most exciting thing the Imperials waxed that year, the gospel rocker, "I'm Alright," penned by Gourdine and his pal Sam Cooke, somehow was missed by consumers.

"Very few people know that I wrote that song in the basement at the Apollo Theater in New York," says Anthony. "We were just goofin' around, and one word led to another.  And I came up with a word, he came up with a word. We came up with a riff, and there it was!"

The group's gymnastic choreography on the number never ceased to electrify their audiences.

However, in November of '59 The Imperials rebounded with their upbeat End label entry Shimmy Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop.

The song made its way to #14 R&B and #24 pop. Anthony indicated it was not one of his favorite songs, but he was also quoted as saying..."Whatever people spent their money on and gave us a chance to do what we're doing now, I loved.

The Hits Stopped, The Split-up and A New Beginning!

In the spring of 1960 The Imperials recorded "My Empty Room" b/w "Bayou, Bayou Baby" but barley made a splash on the charts and the hits stopped.

Anthony split from the group but by '64 he rejoined Wright and Collins and added tenor Sammy Strain to reform "Little Anthony and The Imperials." They began an even more impressive string of pop/soul hits with arranger/producer Teddy Randazzo for Don Costa's DCP Productions label.

Starting the year with "I'm on the Outside (Looking in)" that charted at #15, two top ten hits followed, "Goin' Out of My Head" at #6 and "Hurt So Bad" finishing out at #10. 

"It's a nice feeling to begin and end your career, not only with peers but good friends," says Anthony. "We basically all grew up together in Brooklyn."

Hall of Fame and Other Awards.

Little Anthony and The Imperials were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 14, 2009. Gourdine, Wright, Collins, Strain, and Rogers were present to be honored. Tracey Lord was inducted posthumously and his sons accepted his induction on his behalf.

It should also be noted that Sammy Strain is one of the few artists in popular music history who is a double Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, having been inducted with the O'Jays in 2005 and the Imperials in 2009.

More Imperials Awards:

  • 1993 - Rhythm & Blues Foundation's Pioneer Award.
  • 1999 - Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
  • 2006 - Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2007 - Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
  • 2014 - Goldmine Hall of Fame.
  • 2015 - Official Ryhthm & Blues Hall of Fame, Cleveland.

You might also like these...

Return to the Doo-Wop main page.

Visit the Golden Oldies pages here.

Return Home from Tears on My Pillow.

Enjoy this page? Share it with your friends!

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Ever thought of having your own website? I built Vinyl Record Memories "from scratch" with SoloBuildIt! Click below to find out more....

Top of Page
Top of Page

Vinyl Record Memories
(VIP Club)

Become a member - FREE to Join.

A Little Bit of Nostalgia in your inbox each month.

FREE  To  Join

Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye

Will anyone ever record songs like this again? A Beautiful song with perfect harmony and words you can actually understand, make sense and have a meaning.  Read more.

Back To The Fifties
Burgers and Fires.

It was simple and good back then never thinking it would end. Cruising the drive-in restaurants where guys with duck tails met gals with pony tails. It was Burgers and Fries and Cherry Pies in a world we used to know.  Read the Burgers & Fries story here.

Pink Shoe Laces
A Soda Shop Classic.

Pink Shoe Laces was a cute # 3 hit song for 13 year old Dodie Stevens in 1959. Forty years later she performs with her daughter in a 1999 special called "Rock-n-Roll Graffiti" and WOW! Check it out!

Nora Jones
A Music Tribute to Elvis.

A Nora Jones perfect cover of this Elvis classic at Vinyl Record Memories.com

Of the many Elvis Presley love songs, Norah Jones adds her personal touch and sings one of the best covers of this original by Elvis. Read more...

Girl Watching - Our Most Popular American Pastime.

Poetry in Motion is a song written about our most popular American pastime, girl watching. A fun "Soda Shop" song that would send Johnny Tillotson to fame and fortune. Read more about this Girl Watching '60 #2 song.

Remember The

The Orlons doing the Wah-Watusi down on South Street.

Before they became the Orlons, they were an all-girl quintet called Audrey and the Teenettes.  The name Orlons was a tongue-in-cheek nod to the friendly rivalry they had with a popular group at their high school, The Cashmeres. Read their story here.

Girl Group Favorites.

As countless broken-hearted teenage girls cried into their pillows, girl group records addressed themes of special importance to these young teenage  girls. Read more..

Darling Lorraine

A remarkable true story and memories of this seldom played classic from 1959. Read the Darling Lorraine story.

Remember the line...
A-hoopa, a-hoopa, hoopa?

Watch as the original "Diamonds" perform live for the last time, this great American classic.  Read more...

The Chordettes
Lollipop & Mr. Sandman

If you lived and breathed in the fifties those songs of the past reminds us of our connection to innocence and the fabulous harmonies of these four pretty gals.

More than 60 years later, the emotional power of these two songs still resonates with listeners, and as a result, still remains current. Read more