Tenor: Gene Cokeroft
Lead: Bob Franklin
Bass: Bill Cain
Bari: Harlan Wilson
A young Florida quartet crowned as International champion in Philadelphia in 1961 was destined to become one of the most popular, active and long-lived in the Society’s history: the Suntones. Formed less than three years earlier, the quartet sang for over 25 years, averaging 40 annual shows – more than 1,000 performances. It produced ten record albums and pioneered such show-business touches as individual microphones and a tall stool for each singer.
Original members of the quartet were Gene Cokeroft, tenor; Bob Franklin, lead; Bill Wyatt, bari; and Bill Cain, bass. Harlan Wilson replaced Wyatt before they won the championship, and that foursome stayed together until Drayton Justus, former lead of the Gentlemen’s Agreement, took over the lead slot when Bob retired in 1980.
Next to the Buffalo Bills of The Music Man fame, the Suntones probably were the Society’s best-known quartet, thanks mainly to their long run on Jackie Gleason’s television show of the ’60s. The quartet made numerous appearances and worked behind the scenes, providing background music and other services, for as long as the show originated from Miami.