Johnson County Community College
College Information and Publications
Julie Haas, associate vice president, marketing communications, ext. 3120
Diane Carroll, writer/editor/media relations, ext. 3425
Tyler Cundith, sports information director, ext. 3122
The Lettermen find love songs have staying power
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The harmonious voices of The Lettermen first hit the music charts in 1961 with the megahit, The Way You Look Tonight.
The soft, romantic song shot to No. 13 on the Billboard chart. The group's second single that year did even better. When I Fall in Love hit No. 7, establishing the trio as the most romantic singing group of the 1960s.
While their letter sweaters are no longer standard fare and members have changed over the years, the group continues to make music and perform. The Lettermen will appear at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, in the Carlsen Center's Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College.
Tickets, which are $100, $45 and $35, are available through the college box office at 913-469-4445 or online at jccc.edu/TheSeries. The current group consists of Tony Butala, the group's founding original member, Donovan Tea, an accomplished singer and songwriter who joined the group in 1984 and Bobby Poynton, who first joined in 1989 and recently returned. Among the group's more recent albums are New Directions 2010, Live in the Philippines and Best of Broadway.
The trio has produced more than 30 albums. Four of them were certified gold in the United States: The Lettermen!!!...And Live (1967), Goin' Out of My Head (1968), Best of the Lettermen (1969) and Hurt So Bad (1970).
The original members with Butala were Jim Pike and Bob Engemann. The three together were among the top college concert attractions during the 1960s.
The Lettermen have performed at more than 10,000 sold-out shows. Their tours abroad have included visits to Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
The group also toured with George Burns, Jack Benny, Bob Hope and Bill Cosby. Butala estimates that they made some 200 appearances on television shows such as Dick Clark's American Bandstand and on variety shows with Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin and others.