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Passings: Sonny Geraci of the Outsiders and Climax (1947 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Sonny Geraci, whose voice can be heard on such classics as Time Won't Let Me by the Outsiders and Precious and Few by Climax, died on Sunday at the age of 69. He had been in poor health since 2012 when he suffered an aneurysm.

Salutes quickly appeared online from Dennis Tufano, formerly of the Buckinghams, and the group The Shadows of Knight.

Originally known as the Starfires, a band from Cleveland that started in the late-50's that included Geraci, Mert Madsen, Richard Kriss, Al Austin and Jim Fox, later of the James Gang, they changed their name to the Outsiders in 1965.

The band signed with Capitol and their first single, Time Won't Let Me, went to number 5 in early 1966 followed by three more top 40 hits, Girl in Love (1966 / #21), Respectable (1966 / #15) and Help Me Girl (1966 / #37).

Capitol stuck with the group through three albums although they had no further hits and a fourth album was planned but scrapped for a "live" album that was actually studio recording with crowd sounds overdubbed.

After the Outsiders broke up, Geraci formed a new version as The Outsiders Featuring Sonny Geraci and released a few singles on Bell but, after a legal battle, he was forced to change the band's name to Climax.

This band's biggest hit, Precious and Few, was originally recorded in 1970 but reworked by producer Larry Cox (Jefferson Starship). The record company didn't have a lot of confidence in the record so they test marketed it in Hawaii for six months. Precious and Few began to gain traction in the eastern U.S. before eventually breaking nationwide and going to number 3 in 1972.

Climax only had one other charting song, Life and Breath (1972 / #52 Pop / #15 Adult Contemporary). In total, they released nine singles under both the Outsiders and Climax names and had a number of other tracks in the vaults that were never used on a second album. They disbanded in 1975.

In 1980, Geraci left music to work for his family's business but attempted a comeback three years later using the name Peter Emmett. The Peter Emmett Story was released on MCA and, although backed by a tour, did not do well.

Later, Sonny filled in for Rob Grill as lead singer of the Grassroots and, in 2007, began touring again as Sonny Geraci and the Outsiders but, in April 2012, he suffered a brain aneurysm. A benefit concert was held on November 15 and 16 of 2013 to help with his medical costs that included the The Rip Chords, Dennis Tufano, Gary Lewis, Frank Stallone, Gary DeCarlo of Steam, Joey Molland of Badfinger, Terry Sylvester of the Hollies, Billy Joe Royal, Ron Dante, Pat Upton of the Spiral Staircase, Jim Gold of Gallery, The Shadows of Knight, The Michael Weber Show, Johnny Farina, The Vogues and the 1910 Fruitgum Company.