Sonny Geraci of The Outsiders & Climax: Top 10 x 2

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The Outsiders’ first album

Most artists are lucky to have a top 5 hit with one band. Sonny Geraci reached that plateau with two different groups in two different decades: first, in 1966 with the Outsiders (the #5 “Time Won’t Let Me”) and then again in 1972 with Climax (“Precious and Few,” which reached #3).

Those two hits could not have been more different: “Time Won’t Let Me,” a frenetic dancefloor rocker, written by Tom King and Chet Kelley, incorporated popular soul music elements and was consistent with the garage-band trend of the mid-’60s. “Mersey meets Motown,” was how Geraci once described it. “Precious and Few,” credited to Walter D. Nims, was a sweet ballad characteristic of the soft-rock emerging at the time from the West Coast. Together they showed the diversity of which Geraci, who died on February 5, 2017, was capable.

Related: What were the biggest hits of 1966?

Sonny Geraci in 1972, when he was with Climax

Born Nov. 22, 1947, in Cleveland, Ohio, Sonny Geraci was, like seemingly everyone else in the mid-’60s, inspired by the Beatles to join a rock band. He teamed up with guitarist Tom King and other members of the local band the Starfires, who changed their name in 1965 to the Outsiders. Signed to Capitol Records that year, they released “Time Won’t Let Me” in early 1966 and it quickly found its way up the charts. The group reached the top 40 three more times in 1966, with “Girl in Love” (#21), “Respectable” (an Isley Brothers cover, #15) and “Help Me Girl” (#37), a song arranged by jazz artist Chuck Mangione. Four other singles charted in Billboard, as did three albums (the first, also called Time Won’t Let Me, hit #37), before the group disappeared from view.

Geraci was not a national presence for a few years but then he resurfaced in 1972 fronting the Los Angeles-based Climax. Recording for Carousel Records, their ballad “Precious and Few” became one of the biggest hits of that year, but they were only able to follow it with one more chart single, “Life and Breath,” which topped out at #52. Their first and only album, simply titled Climax, fizzled at #177 and the group disbanded in 1975.

Geraci recorded under the pseudonym Peter Emmett in 1983 but then largely disappeared from the music scene until the 2000s, when he began touring with a new group of Outsiders.

In November 2013, a benefit event for Geraci, who’d suffered a brain aneurysm, took place in Ohio, featuring several oldies artists such as Gary Lewis, the Shadows of Knight, Joey Molland and others.

Watch the Outsiders lip-sync “Time Won’t Let Me” in 1966

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  1. John Rose
    #1 John Rose 2 March, 2018, 07:40

    I met Sonny Geraci when he was on a package tour in the mid-to-late 80’s with Dennis Yost, Gary Lewis, and Billy J. Kramer. I was with the radio station that was promoting the show so I was able to hang around back stage. Sonny was just the nicest guy. Really cool to be around. I was genuinely sad when I heard he passed away.

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