The Mancini Brothers/The Corals

From The Street Corner To The Gates Of Graceland


The Mancini Brothers: Joe & Richard, 2009

The Mancini brothers – Joe and Richard – are two of the more successful songwriters to emerge from Rhode Island during the post-war era.

The boys grew up in the North End of Providence and by 1955 were ensconced on the same street-corner doo-wop scene which produced some of the finest vocal groups of the Rock ‘n’ Roll era including The Delrays with Ray Gambio and Guido Rosati, The Federials with Ron Iacobucci, and the group with whom they were most closely associated over the years, The Videls with Peter Anders, Vini Poncia, Dino Amaral, Bobby Calitri, Herbert Richey and Norman Marzano.


The Idols circa 1956 (left to right): Eddie Palmisciano, Richard Mancini & Joe Mancini

Their first lineup was called The Idols and they made quick headway on the local scene. The group expanded and evolved over the next couple of years and was re-christened The Corals. The best-known lineup of the group consisted of Joe and Richard along with Dino Amaral who had recently left The Videls, Tommy Ciccone, and future saxophone legend Louie Camp. It seems the only thing that could get Louie to put down his sax for a moment was the chance to sing with the Mancini brothers!


The Corals circa 1960 (left to right): Dino Amaral, Tommy Ciccone, Richard Mancini, Louie Camp & Joe Mancini

They became one of the top groups on the Rhode Island scene during the early Rock ‘n’ Roll years, equally in-demand at clubs, concerts and sock hops and other teen events. They often worked in tandem with The Videls and other local doo-wop groups sharing the services of Rhode Island’s top instrumental group,The Del-Renos, as a backing band. In 1957, The Corals recorded their first efforts at Ace Recording Studios in Boston with The Del-Renos in tow. The two sides which were pressed into an acetate, but there was not enough interest to follow through with a pressing.

By 1960, The Videls had parlayed the New England success of their first record, “Place In My Heart”, into a major label record deal and hit it big with “Mister Lonely”. They encouraged The Corals to come to New York City to try their hand at a major studio and provided the songs and production at Stereo Studios in The Brill Building. The A-Side was written by Peter Anders of The Videls and the B-side by the Videls’ manager Maurice “Jimmy Boo” Bouchard. Again, the sides were made into an acetate, but there were no takers at the labels.

Back in Rhode Island, The Corals continued their successful string of club dates while The Videls toured the country, but by 1962, The Videls had run their course and songwriters Anders and Poncia had accepted positions as staff writers at Hill & Range Publishing (home to Elvis Presley Music) and had moved to New York City. They continued performing in New England with The Videls on weekends, but soon the demands of their “day jobs” prohibited them from commuting on a regular basis. It so happened that The Corals were in transition at that time as well – Dino and Tommy had left the business and Louie had decided that his future was as a saxophonist, not as a singer, and had formed his own group, The Savoys. Literally putting two and two together, the remaining Videls, Norman Marzano and Bobby Calitri, joined forces with Joe and Richard to become the “new” Videls allowing Peter and Vini to remain at work in New York.



The Videls "road" group: Norman Marzano, Bobby Calitri & Joe Mancini (standing left to right), Richard Mancini (seated)

The new lineup was as much in demand as the original Corals and Videls and they rode that wave for the next couple of years. In 1965, however, Anders and Poncia had come up with their smash hit “New York’s A Lonely Town” and called Bobby and Norman back into action under their new moniker, The Trade Winds. Richard and Joe decided to call it a day for the time being. Richard continued on in music becoming one of the area’s top bass guitarists while Joe pursued other business interests. They continued to compose together as time allowed.

After The Trade Winds had run their course, Anders and Poncia along with Norman Marzano and the band’s backing guitarist, Jimmy Calvert, had all accepted positions as staff writers, producers and musicians at Artie Ripp’s burgeoning Buddah/Kama Sutra empire. Never ones to forget an old friend, the remaining Trade Winds helped Richard score a writer’s deal with Ripp’s publishing company, Kahoona Tunes, and between 1966 and 1968, he managed to secure the A-side of four nationally released singles as a composer. Joe was also active and had a very close call with a song called “Humpty Dumpty” (a/k/a “The Assassination Of Humpty Dumpty”) co-written with Bobby Calitri in the style of “Little Red Ridin’ Hood” by Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs. The song was picked up by Dot Records, but a publishing discrepancy barred its release. “Humpty Dumpty” passed into legend as the song that “coulda been a contendah”.

Around 1970, after his songwriter’s deal had run its course, Richard formed a new band which became one of the most successful New England club acts of all time, The Chang’n Times. For over two decades, the band saw phenomenal success throughout the area rivaled only by such legendary local acts as The Spi-Dells, Albi & The Spellbinders, The Royal Coachmen and, towards the end, Sunshyne. Joe was still working outside the music business, but still, the brothers continued to write together.

The Chang'n Times, early 1970s: Richard Mancini (at top), Craig Wilcox & Frank Franzone (bottom, left to right)

They had an extremely close call with the “big time” in 1977 when one of their songs, “Touching Yesterday” was picked up by Elvis Presley. The King heard their demo and snatched up the song for his next recording project. Unfortunately, Elvis passed away before recording their song. They heard from his producer, Felton Jarvis, shortly after the King’s passing, who assured them that, if Elvis had lived, their song would have been definitely been on his next album.

During the early 1980s, Peter Anders had returned to Rhode Island and formed a new publishing company with Jimmie Crane (the composer of “Hurt” and the godfather of Rhode Island songwriting) which they christened Providence Productions. They called in Bobby Calitri, Dick Domane and the Mancinis as staff writers.

Around the same time, Joe and Richard began working the Nashville scene, making the rounds with their songs and making connections. One such connection was with the receptionist at Acuff-Rose Music, at that time the most powerful publisher in town. Future country superstar Lorrie Morgan was then working the front desk and singing demos for Acuff-Rose and she got them in to see Juan Contreras, a legendary deal maker in country music publishing.


Joe Mancini, Juan Contreras & Richard Mancini, Nashville, Tennessee, mid-1980s

Taking a liking to both their songs and the Mancini brothers themselves,  he began to help them work their material and the relationship continued when he formed his own independent firm, Double J Music Group. In 1988, the Mancinis’ hard work and persistence finally paid off. They scored a major Country hit with an up-and-coming singer named Robbin Lynn. Joe and Richard composed “Misbehavin’ Lover” with the young woman and the record reached #33 on the country charts.

New England's own Robbin Lynn

The Mancini brothers profiled by Jim Seavor, The Providence Journal, 1988

Only a month later, they scored a major  European hit with a song called “You Only Love Once In A Lifetime” with Portuguese singer Jorge Silva who made the song his first English-language recording which allowed it to spread far beyond the borders of Portugal.

European singing star Jorge Silva of Portugal

Since then, Joe and Richard have continued writing and recording demos and making the rounds, mostly in Nashville, and now that they’re both semi-retired, they have the time to pursue their goals with even greater fervor. As of this writing (2011), the Mancini brothers have been traveling back and forth to Nashville on a regular basis and if the cards fall right, we should be seeing a new ending to this inspiring story about two of Rhode Island’s finest songwriters.

The Mancinis at the gates of Graceland, 2009


The Girl I Left Behind b/w Why Oh Why (Ace Studios acetate) 1957
Both sides written by Maurice “Jimmy Boo” Bouchard

Foolish Pride b/w I’ll Always Love You (Stereo Studios acetate) 1960
Side A written by Peter Andreoli, Side B written by Maurice Bouchard

(The Assassination of) Humpty Dumpty (publishing acetate) 1967
Co-written by Joe Mancini and Bobby Calitri

Tryin’ To Get To You b/w When He’s Home (Columbia 4-44825) 1967
A-Side co-written by Richard Mancini, Steve Couto and Bobby Calitri

Tryin’ To Get To You b/w My Baby’s Soul Good (Team TM-518) 1968
A-Side co-written by Richard Mancini, Steve Couto and Bobby Calitri

Love Hurts b/w You’re Wrong (Buddah BDA-210) 1968
A-Side co-written by Richard Mancini, Steve Couto and Bobby Calitri

Got To Give A Little b/w 1000 People (Funky Records FR-1002) 1969
A-Side co-written by Richard Mancini and Steve Couto

Misbehavin’ Lover b/w Sunrise, Sunset, Morning, Night Time
(20th Century RL-72187) 1988
A-Side co-written by Joe Mancini, Richard Mancini and Robbin Lynn

You Only Love Once In A Lifetime b/w ??? (Henda Records ??? – Portugal) 1988
A-Side co-written by Joe Mancini, Richard Mancini and Paul D’Agostino