"In 1993 my baby brother, who was 26 at the time, was killed in a horrific automobile accident in New Jersey. We were very close, and he was all I had, and I struggled to deal with his death. I kept praying to God, "I need to know if my brother is okay, and I need to know where he is." It was my first experience with the death of someone close to me. As the months went on and I continued to struggle, one day I was coming home from the cemetery in New Jersey, and I had on my favorite radio station out of New York City, CBS FM. It was a terrific oldies station. All of the sudden, the disc jockey announced a song dedication, and he said this is "to my sister Diane from her brother Dominic." I couldn't believe it because me brother's name was Dominic and my name is Diane. Even though they're common names, I really felt that the dedication was for me from my brother, and I became very upset. The song that came on the radio was a song called, "I believe." The song talked about where he was, and that he was okay, and the people were looking out for him, and that he went astray and needed help, but he was okay. I was overwhelmed and hysterical and told my husband that he had to find the song. I had never heard the song before hearing it that day on the radio. My husband found a 45 record of the song, but I never really paid attention to who sang it. So from that day on, if I was having an unusually bad day, I would play the song and just cry and miss my brother. An opera singer would sing it on Christmas morning as we opened gifts on TV, or it would play on the radio on my birthday. I would hear it when I would think of my brother and be missing him on the radio. A few years later, Larry Chance and The Earls were playing at the Moscow Fair, and I didn't really make the connection that they were the ones that sang the song that meant so much to me..."I Believe." During the concert, Larry came over and sat on my lap, and we sang a song together. But, I still didn't know who he was, and then he started to sing the song "I believe". I looked at my husband in disbelief and asked him to please take me out. My husband said "No, you need to sit here and listen to this!! The group who sang this song, which you heard on the radio, and which means so much to you is here. ..this is for you." So I sat in the audience, three rows back and listened to Larry Chance and The Earls sing, and I just silently sobbed. I prayed one day I would get to tell him, but I didn't want to bother him.
I met Larry on August 23, 2014 in Hamlin, PA. for The 5th Annual Big Dog Daddy Fest, hosted by Eddie Pappa Vee. I told Larry a short version of the above story. Every time that song comes on, I know that it's a message from my brother just reminding me he is okay. He did go astray, but there are people watching over him, and it has brought me years and years of comfort. I believe it is definitely a supernatural message for me, for struggling through the loss of my brother. Every time I hear that song it's a gift...and to meet Larry Chance in person was a also a gift, and to tell him my story.. was priceless."
"Thank You" sooooooooooo very much Larry. Incidently, my friend, you and the guys were "Sensational, Super, Great, and Spectacular" as A L W A Y S !!! this past Saturday Night at Lehman. Stay well Larry. Give Debbie our Love !!!
Johnny Z :)
Last night at Sullivan County Community Collage, Carol and I went to a Great Show! It was a Full House...There he was.....Mr. Larry Chance with his Earls.....He was Wonderful and Funny!! He took us back in time with some Earls tunes..He sang some other tunes and told some jokes...This man KNOWS how to connect with people! He was in Great Voice and Had all of us Rockin' and Rollin' and Doo Woppin' !! The Chanceman IS DA MAN!
Anyone who has not seen him is missing out on something Very SPECIAL! It's a wonderful evening down memory lane! When they come to your area...Get tickets! Support The Earls and all those who gave us the music that "Gave Eyes to our Ears" YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY! Thank you Larry for another A-1 evening!
We'd like for Larry to have scans of the images to use on his website or for personal use. I didn't scan them all because they are a bit repetitive, so if you'd like me to scan the rest of them, I'd charge a fee per image for my time. I have a band and a full time job. It's hard to find the time as I'm sure you know!
Our request is that we get a credit for website use on his site. And that if they are going to be used in a magazine or an album or any other web site or other such thing that we get paid for them.
How does that sound?
I wanted to thank you and the Earls for coming out to Roosevelt Park on Sunday and “wowing” our audience – it was the happiest crowd I’ve seen all summer – you had them dancing in the pit, on the lawn and in the aisles!
On behalf of the Freeholders and myself, thank you for a great afternoon of music.
Best of luck to you with the rest of your concert schedule this year –
Middlesex County Department of Parks & Recreation
I am SGT George Sinzer and I am a member of the New York Guard a State Militia or better known now as a State Defense Force, I am writing to you just to thank you for your long standing service in music.
I remember the first time you came to my home town of Peekskill, NY for the Riverfront Concerts and did “Charlie Brown” and when you walked into the crowd you came to me and had me do that one chorus. It was for me not only fun but a thrill.
Larry, someday I hope to catch you in concert again, but I don’t know if or even when that may be but when it is I look forward to it. Your music lifts my soul when I most need a lift. I care for my mother now as she has Alzheimer’s and your music helps me more than you could ever know.
In the wake of the 9-11-01 attacks I listened to your music to help me during the down time and to get that needed distraction that we all need most.
God bless you for your talent (which I wish I had, but I will never know that) you’re a true gift to us in uniform...
Sincerely and respectfully,
SGT, NYG, MP
I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed your music over the years, I lived thru the Doo Wop years and have many really fine memories of it. The music of that time reminds me of so many really good moments in my life, Your music in particular.
I watched your show on PBS last night and relived all of those wonderful moments in my life again, thank you so much. I was very touched by your words before the song "I believe" . I'm glad your recovery from cancer went well, you and your guys are a really an inspiration to other cancer survivors, Your music, the music of the 60's has a magic to it, it stirs the soul and makes the heart smile. Your music makes those of us who grew up listening to your music want to stand up and say YESSSSS !!! Thank you Sir for the music that touched my life and the lives of so many others. I hope you continue to record for a very long time, if one day you come to the Atlanta area I hope to go to see your show.
When I listened to the first Doo-Wop show that you were on, I was thrilled to finally see 'the man with that voice'! There are just some voices that tug at your soul, regardless of when you first hear them. I must have been 10 years old when I heard you on the radio. When you spoke of your battle with cancer (I refuse to give it a capital letter because it is not a proper noun.) you quickened my heart again because I have had my go around with cancer also. At the time I went through it I was also wasting away from a 19 year old marriage that was sucking the life out of me. I was therefore not grateful to be winning the war with the cancer. You and a friend who recently lost her fight taught me the lesson I needed to learn. Since my cancer war, I managed to leave the bad marriage behind, finish my Master's degree and begin anew, my career in teaching. Now, I feel so ashamed for what must have seemed like foolishness to our Father in Heaven. He had to do my fighting for me and I didn't understand what a gift it was to survive. I hope that as I work to improve the lives of kids, many of whom got the short end from day one, I can only hope that HE forgives me, just a little. Any way, he sent angels like you to teach me to love this life we're given! I had hoped to maybe hear you in concert and somehow say thanks, face to face. But having sent my contribution to PBS for this second concert with you in it, I realized that time is slipping away and I had better not put it off. So, Thank You for carrying the message to me. I am finding that this second chance at life is truly a blessing beyond measure. Maybe, I'll even find someone special to share it with before it's all said and done. Happy 2008!
May God Bless and Keep You Singing!
I think my last letter was back when I still resided in Florida and you were getting ready to play at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Anyway, I was just flipping through the channels and came across a Doo Wop special on the New Jersey Network with you on it. I am sorry to hear about the cancer, I hope it is still gone. It is a difficult time in my life right now, and it was great to see and hear some of the music that brought me back to a happier time. I know sometimes people don't realize what kind of an impact they have on other peoples lives, and I wanted to thank you. It was good to see Ronnie's picture on the site with Jennifer O'Neill. If he hadn't introduced me to that musical era with the album you were working on, I would have missed out on some great music (it was considered "Oldies" to me at that time!) I hope all is well with you. Take care, bless you.
Douglas Forde Simms
Just this morning I had the distinct blessing of listening to you perform on a recent (2007?) PBS-TV special. Truthfully, it was the third time I watched the program this week. I taped it.
Sir, I thank our Lord that He, in his mercy and wisdom, gave you a gift that has brought joy to so many, especially me. From the instant I heard you way back when; I knew your voice was anointed. The blessing continues today.
I’ve been asked many times why I think the music of that time (romance, vocal arrangements) is still so popular. I answer because the music that served as the backdrop of my coming of age was joyful, innocent, loving, warm, sincere, and spiritual for the most part. Moreover, for me, there were specific voices, arrangements, notes, and chords that in combination made me weep. It was/is electric, breathtaking, and sometimes, it felt like I was touching God’s face. Billy Ward and the Dominos, the Flamingos, Larry Chance and the Earls all have those qualities. I believe that is because of the joy inherent in your music.
I gave thought, too, to the music of the late 60’s and early 70’s, and while there are some artists and songs that I liked, I rarely felt a spiritual connection. Most of the voices in harmony, the vocal groups, had been replaced by electric guitar players with voices, rather than vocal artists with a backup band, and exhibited little respect for the bond of trust and intimacy between the audience and the artist. I digress.
Last year, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Because of God’s mercy, they found it before it did real damage. They only had to remove my right kidney, ureter, and some intestine. I finished chemo in April and continue quarterly checkups. I go again Friday. To date, I’ve been clean and healthy.
My prayer is that the Lord continues to bless you, and watch over you, and heal you completely. You, and your gifted voice, provide a ministry of sorts. When you sing, “I Believe,” I know you really do. I am transported back to a choir loft. You have been a blessing to me.
Perhaps, as a kid who grew up in Irvington, New Jersey, now living in Tampa, I might see you perform some day. Either back in Jersey or down here. Until then, I am content to watch the video.
Finally, my new book, The Life and Times of Tucker Pitts: 1957-1963 will be released by Thanksgiving. It follows the antics of a young boy coming of age in New Jersey in the late 50's and early 60's. Each chapter concludes with an interview did with some of the pioneers of Rock and Roll and Motown. I would love to send you a copy.
Douglas Forde Simms