— The Happenings scored their first big hit with ‘See You in September.’ They perform at the Sellersville Theatre on Saturday.
They met as young boys in a Paterson, N.J., high school, and from there went on to form a band and record a song that gained them worldwide attention.
“When we started out around 1963 or ’64, we were originally known as The Four Graduates,” said Bob Miranda, 70, lead singer and one of the original founders of the group now known as The Happenings. Famous for their No. 1 seller, See You In September, the group is set to appear at the Sellersville Theater 1894 this Saturday.
“We met one night at a dance and actually went into the men’s room to try to see how our voices sounded together, because that’s where all the singers went for the echo,” Miranda continued. “And actually, we sounded pretty darned good, so we decided to get together, do some rehearsing, and see how it went.”
Within months of getting together, the group started getting some work up in the Catskills. They were willing to perform almost anywhere for next to nothing just to get exposure.
But Miranda finally decided he needed to get some kind of job in the music business, and one day, while walking the streets of Manhattan, found himself in the office of the singing group known as The Tokens.
“They had a production company and offered me a staff writing position for twenty-five dollars a week to write songs for their publishing company,” Miranda explained. ”Eventually, they put together a record company called B.T. Puppy and began looking for artists. So I brought in my three other band members, we auditioned for them, and they signed us to a record contract.”
Before putting out that first record, the Four Graduates decided their name was dated. Miranda said they thought about a whole list of names — really bad names — until they hit upon The Happenings.
“It was a time when the phrase ‘what’s happening’ was a popular expression, and so we thought that might make a pretty nice name for us,” Miranda said.
And so it was, and so was their second recording session in April 1966, just in time for the summer months.
“The record company decided if we could release See You In September in time, they would go with it,” Miranda said. “We made the deadline and after its release, it just kept going up the charts, all the way to number one. It was amazing.”
Although he never imagined the kind of success that would come his way, Miranda said he knew with the recording of See You In September that the group had a hit on their hands.
“After I heard it, I pretty much knew the song was going to be a hit, although I never imagined that forty-five years later, audiences would still be playing it and asking for it wherever we perform,” Miranda said.
See You In September was followed by other hits, like Go Away Little Girl, I Got Rhythm and Mammy, although Miranda added modestly, “there were also some bombs along the way.”
Today, Miranda, who still sings lead vocals, explained that they put lots of songs in their act, including their most popular, as well as medleys from successful musicals and other successful vocalists.
“We do songs from the Four Seasons, the Beach Boys, the Rascals. We also do Motown as well as our own music,” Miranda explained. “We really try to mix it up as well as doing these. It’s really a cross section of music.”
In addition to singing and touring, Miranda continues to write music. And, with any time on his hands, he looks forward to perhaps getting into more production of other people’s work — “with no plans whatsoever to ever retire!” ••
For show times and ticket information, call 215-257-5808.