Passings: Ronald "Bingo" Mundy of the Marcels

Mundy (top left) with the Marcels
by VVN Music

Ronald "Bingo" Mundy, one of the original members of the Marcels, died on Friday from pneumonia at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA at the age of 76.

Formed in 1959 by Cornelius Harp, Fred Johnson, Gene Bricker, Richard Knauss and Mundy, they signed in 1961 to Colpix Records which took a chance on a classic doo wop group at a time when the genre was waning in popularity.

The group was recording their debut album but were short three tracks when producer Stu Phillips brought up a number of standards including Blue Moon. Phillips had them graft the now famous intro from the group's live version of the doo wop classic Speedo onto the beginning of Blue Moon and, in two takes, the band had their biggest record.

The record made its way to DJ Murray the K who supposedly played it 26 times in a row, setting the song on its way to number 1 on the Hot 100. Blue Moon also topped the R&B Singles and the U.K. Singles chart, one of the last doo wop songs to have an impact on the charts.

The Marcels followed with two more standards, Summertime (1961 / #78 Pop) and Heartaches (1961 / #7 Pop / #19 R&B) before Mundy left the group late in the year. He returned to Pittsburgh where he became a bus driver for the Port Authority of Allegheny County where he worked for the next 25 years.

Over the years, Mundy has participated in reunions in 1973 and 1999 for the PBS special Doo Wop 50.

Mundy is survived by his wife, Janet, a son, a daughter and two grandchildren.

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