139th Street Quartet

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139th Street Quartet is a quartet in the Barbershop Harmony Society. Between 1977 and 1992 they earned eight medals in the BHS International Quartet Contest, twice rising as high as 2nd. They continued to compete at International until 1996.


Quartet Members

Medalist Members:

  • Tenor: Doug Anderson
  • Lead: Jim Meehan (1976-1977), Larry Wright (1979-88), John Sherburn (1989-91), Dan Jordan (1992-1996)
  • Bari: Peter Neushul
  • Bass: Jim Kline

Contest Placements

International

1976 1977 1978 1979 1980
10th 2nd 5th 6th
1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990
7th 8th 7th 10th 9th 6th 4th 6th 3rd 2nd
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
5th 4th 6th 12th 25th

District (FWD)

  • 1975 - 2nd
  • 1976 - 1st

Recordings

  • Standing Room Only[1]
  • Double Header[2]
  • Complete Works

Extended History

The 139th Quartet, although never winning gold, were among the most popular and influential quartets in Barbershop Harmony Society history. Winning 8 medals, they were a constant fixture at International contests, with a repertoire of catchy Tin Pan Alley and 1920s tunes that often challenged the contest rules of the time.

To some, they are more famous for the lore surrounding an International contest they missed rather than the many in which they participated. After placing 2nd in 1977, they were contacted the following spring by someone who was scheduled to be an Arrangement Judge at the 1978 contest. He indicated to them that if they sang one of their famous songs, "Don't Put a Tax On The Beautiful Girls," they would be penalized and/or disqualified for singing the altered melody, as it was not allowed at the time. The quartet decided to boycott the upcoming contest.

After discussion with then Arrangement Category Specialist, Ed Waesche, it was determined that the song was allowable and the threatening judge was informed of that fact. The quartet was prepared to return to contest, but lead Jimmy Meehan was still upset that a judge would make such a threat. The rest of the quartet decided they wanted to compete, and told him that he was outvoted. In response, he quit the quartet. They missed the 1978 contest, brought newly relocated Larry Wright into the fold, and the rest is history.

The quartet was very influential in many other facets of the hobby we enjoy today:

  • They encouraged the early growth of many affiliates, traveling to SNOBS and BABS regularly.
  • They encouraged barbershop in Russia, bringing The Quiet Don Quartet to the San Francisco convention in 1990.
  • Peter Neushul and Jim Kline were the founders of the Collegiate Quartet Contest in 1992.
  • The appeared often on TV: Night Court, Nurses, 2 episodes of Cheers, and others
  • They own two Platinum Records as back-up singers for 2 of Neil Diamond's Christmas Albums

The 15-year gap between their first and last medal remains a record, including a 13-year gap between silvers. Jim Kline won another silver with Gotcha! in 2003, 13 years after 139th Street's last silver.

Individual Histories

Doug Anderson

Jim Meehan

Peter Neushul

Jim Kline

Larry Wright

John Sherburn

Dan Jordan

See Also


External Links

References

  1. http://www.discogs.com/139th-St-Standing-Room-Only/release/4339450
  2. http://www.discogs.com/139th-Street-Quartet-Double-Header-Greatest-Hits/release/6599571