Ronnie Bright, who sang bass with such groups as the Valentines, the Cadillacs, the Coasters and on Johnny Cymbal's hit Mr. Bass Man, has died at the age of 77.
We first learned of Ronnie's passing from Joey Dee who posted:
RONNIE BRIGHT PASSED AWAY ON THANKSGIVING DAY. MEMBER OF THE VALENTINES, COASTERS AND HE WAS MR. BASSMAN. MY SPECIAL FRIEND WILL BE MISSED EVERY TIME I HEAR A BASS SINGER, AS I WILL THINK OF HIM AS THE QUINTESSENTIAL BASS SINGER OF OUR ERA. JOEY DEE AND FAMILYRonnie formed his first group, the Dreamers, in 1952 in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem. Like so many vocal groups of the time, the Valentines would sing on the street corners in their neighborhood. Their first single, Summer Love, was released on Hy Weiss' Old Town Records in 1954. They moved to Rama the next year, changing their name to The Valentines and recording seven singles from 1955 to 1957, none of which broke onto the charts. The group broke up in 1958.
In 1960, Ronnie joined a reformed Cadillacs with Earl Carroll for a few months but he found more work in the studio as a bass backup singer. Among the sessions was Barry Mann's Who Put the Bomp and Jackie Wilson's Baby Workout but his voice is best remembered as Mr. Bass Man on Johnny Cymbal's 1963 hit.
In 1968, Bright was invited to join the Coasters with Carl Gardner, Billy Guy and Earl "Speedo" Carroll and remained the group's bass singer for the next 41 years.