WILSON GANT

 

Champlains,The Hootennannys, The Invitations

          Place of Birth: Marion, South Carolina

Wilson Gants early aspirations was to become an entertainer period. So he started out in Jr. high and high school performing in the choir, marching band and orchestras. While in the U.S. Navy he Formed a group named after the ship he serve on called The Champlains. As good fortunes would have it we signed with United Artist. When leaving the military he moved to Brooklyn, NY. It was only a matter of a few months before he started performing with a dance team called the Magnificent Three. He then Help to form a singing  group at a local but well known venue  in Brooklyn, NY. called the Five Twenty One Club.  All of the local groups and lots of well known acts performed there. You got a chance to rub elbows with the likes of Wilson Pickett, Ben E. King, Charlie and Inez Fox. So here you had a chance to horn your craft and watch and pick up from all the greats. We sang every wakeing minute of the day and night in hallways, street corners, rehearsals at anyone's home. It was during this era that I was so blessed to meet Richie Pitts, Robert Blanding and Alvin Ham. But we were all in differant groups.In the Latter Part of 1963  Gary as his friends called him was ask to fill in at a baritone slot for a group called the TipToppers they had just returned from Sweden and was about to return but had lost a member. the group worked well together with Roy Jolly as Lead singer, Billy Morris, Robert Rivers and Gary Gant sharing most of the background duties. Their big break came when they Changed their Name to the Invitations and signed a contract with Dyno-Voice Records. Their hits were What's Wrong With Me Baby, Skiing In The Snow and Hallelujah this was Bob Crewe Productions. It was also the home of The Four Seasons and The Toys. Our sister group at the time. Then there was a one recorded Deal with MGM. The Invitations was then signed to do a tour in the United Kingdom but to their dismay upon arriving  at verious venues they were booked as other artist. Thanks to a local Promoter Leo Declerk who became their Manager they finally had the freedom to work in the UK as the Invitations. Those years were our most precious years says Gary. We knew that we performed well but had it not been for our many fans that we had acquired in that first four month tour. We would not have been able to re turn for as many tours as we did. On one of our return trips home in the early 70's we produced a recording session with Lew Kirton and recorded "They Say The Girls Crazy" written by Gary Gant and O'neil Johnson to make a long story short it was follow by Look On The Good Side and Lets Love And Find Together on Sliver Blue Records. The present group members now consist of Richie Pitts, Alvin Ham, Robert Blanding And Gary Gant We Are The Invitations

 

 

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