Proudly Canadian: The Beau Marks

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The Beau Marks was Montreal rock group established in 1958; their hit single "Clap Your Hands" was the first hit rock ‘n’ rollrecording made entirely in Canada. Under the name The Del-Tones, the group first released the rockabilly single "Rockin' Blues/Moonlight Party" in April 1959. They changed their name to The Beau-Marks (a reference to the Bomarc missile) and recorded "Clap Your Hands" for Quality Records  the following year. The single quickly reached number one in Canada; it was subsequently released in the US (by Shad Records, reaching Billboard's no. 29 position and no. 15 on Cashbox), Europe, and Australia. A French version ("Frappe Tes Mains") was also released.

The Beau-Marks comprised Joey Frechette (pianist), Ray Hutchinson (guitarist), Michel (Mike) Robitaille (bass guitarist), and Gilles Tailleur (drummer). The group differed substantially from earlier Canadian male pop acts (vocal ensembles like The Crew-cuts, The Diamonds and The Four Lads), in that the Beau-Marks were a rock band and wrote most of their own material.

The Beau-Marks' first album, The High-Flying Beau-Marks (Quality Records, 1960), contained 10 songs written by the group, including "Clap Your Hands" and the single "Billy Billy Went A-walking." The front cover featured four clean-cut young men in red and blue plaid sports coats, ties, white shirts and navy dress pants, posed in front of a jet aircraft on the airport tarmac; the notes on the reverse are in both English and French. This was followed byThe Beau-Marks In Person (Quality, 1961, recorded live at Toronto's Le Coq D'Or), containing a musical hodge-podge of selections reflecting the roots of early rock-and-roll: eg, the standard "For Me and My Gal," the jazz hymn "When the Saints Go Marching In," Ray Charles's "What Did I Say?" and Hank Snow's country hit "I'm Movin' On." This was followed by the LP The Beau-Marks in 1962 and another single, "Stay With Me," in 1963.

At the height of their popularity, the band played at Canadian and New York clubs, at Carnegie Hall, and on US TV's American Bandstand. They appeared live on CFTO TV's dance party, Hi-Time. The Beau-Marks disbanded in the mid-1960s but successfully reunited for their 1968 re-release of "Clap Your Hands." In 1975 Frechette, singing under a pseudonym, recorded Joey Conrad Salutes The Beau Marks (Quality Records).

Clap Your Hands The Beau Marks Quality Records