larry chance 2017

Legendary Music Star and Local Resident Honored with Distinguished Citizen Award

Thursday, October 17, 2019
Monticello, NY – Sullivan County legislators today bestowed the Distinguished Citizen Award on Liberty resident Larry Chance, lead vocalist in the legendary doo wop group Larry Chance and the Earls and a talented solo artist and songwriter.

“Larry’s songs – like ‘Remember Then,’ ‘Never,’ ‘Life Is But a Dream,’ ‘I Believe’ – are American classics, representing the distinctive sounds of 1950s and ‘60s popular music,” remarked Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez. “Larry and his ‘Earls’ continue to share those cherished tunes with millions around the world. We are blessed and privileged to call him a local neighbor.”

Born in 1940 in the Bronx and raised in Philadelphia, Larry attended school with another icon of the era, Frankie Avalon, before moving back to New York City, where he formed his first group, the High Hatters, at age 17. The band’s name, however, didn’t stick.

“We each had a different idea about what to call ourselves,” Larry remembered. “So I told them whatever word my finger lands on in the dictionary, that will be our name. I landed on ‘Earl’.

“A little farther down,” he joked, “and we could have been the ‘Ears’!”

Larry Chance and the Earls went on to become best-selling, top-performing artists in both the live radio and recording industries, earning legions of fans for their warm, infectious songs and lyrics, much of them written by Larry himself.

“I write and arrange all my songs in my head,” he acknowledged. “I’ve created 100-150 over my career – many of which are awful, but I’ve written some good ones!”

Some, like those in friend Chazz Palminteri’s “A Bronx Tale,” weren’t sung by Larry, but most have become indelibly linked to his voice and style. And not all of them are doo wop.

“We’ve done everything up to (and not including) rap,” he explained. “And we still record!”

He became famous to another generation for his memorable voiceover work on the “Imus in the Morning” radio show in the ‘80s, where he’d play comedic foils to host Don Imus as “Vice President in Charge of Editorial Opinions Geraldo Santana Banana” and streetwise entrepreneur “Rainbow Johnson.”

Having travelled the world during his career, Larry ultimately found the Liberty area attractive both personally and professionally.

“I moved here 40 years ago because I was doing a lot of work at the hotels, opening for Red Buttons, Joan Rivers and Alan King,” he shared. “I fell in love with my property and built a home. I still love the area.”

He continues to travel and perform, most recently returning from a particular favorite locale: Barcelona, Spain (though his favorite venue is New York’s own Radio City Music Hall – and he’s performed there!).

“I’m working on a solo album, mostly jazz and standards,” Larry affirmed. “Though doo wop, even in this day and age, is huge in Europe and Japan.”

A fixture at the Liberty Diner, Larry loves sharing stories of his incredible career with fellow patrons, particularly the one about the glee club advisor in his elementary school in Philadelphia.

“Two years in a row, I was turned down for the club,” he recalled with a grin. “In 1960, we released ‘Life Is But a Dream,’ which got me on ‘American Bandstand with Dick Clark.’ Afterwards, I went to see that teacher, and I said, ‘I don’t think you remember me, but watch American Bandstand.’ I gave him my latest 45 [record] and walked out. That felt very good!”

He’s as good a listener as he is a storyteller, however.

“I love hanging out at the Liberty Diner,” he said. “The owners are sweethearts, the food is terrific, and the company’s even better!”

He regularly sees his family in Florida, where his son, daughter and three grandchildren live, but you can be sure he always returns home to Sullivan County – and inevitably finds himself recording more material with people he’s known all his life.

“My drummer and I have been working together for 56 years,” he related. “I still get my jollies in the recording studio, and as long as I can keep recording, I’m happy!”

For the full details of this legendary musician and his colleagues, visit or head to their Facebook page.

To Our Loyal Fans

Who would have ever thought that a bunch of kids from the streets of the Bronx, who loved to sing for the joy and love  of  it, our lives would have  turned out the way they did. We have had the honor of traveling all over the world and entertaining audiences like yourself.  For all of you who knew or did not know our music, we hope we have brought you into the Earl's family.  For the most part, all of the fans we met along our journey have turned out to be true friends.  Most of all, you, our fans gave us the opportunity to allow us to do a job that we view not as a job but as a true labor of love.  With heart felt thanks, we thank you for buying our records, coming to our shows and for all of the wonderful mail and accolades we have received from you over the years. 

Thank you for all of your love and  your support.
Larry Chance and the Earls