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Passings: Guy Villari, Lead Singer For the Regents (1942 - 2017)

by VVN Music

A lot of people think that Barbara Ann was created by the Beach Boys but four years earlier, it was a number 13 hit for the Regents.

Guy Villari, the lead singer for the Regents, died on Thursday (September 21) in Middletown, NY at the age of 75.

Villari was born in the Bronx where Villari was part of the group the Monterays along with Sal Cuomo, Chuck Fassert and Ernie Maresca.  Two years later, in 1959, Maresca was gone and Don Jacobucci and Tony Gravanga joined the newly named Regents.

The band recorded a version of Maresca's "A Teenager in Love" along with "Barbara-Ann" but they couldn't get a recording contract, so they disbanded.  It wasn't until the owner of Cousins Records heard the Regents version of "Barbara Ann" and decided to release it that the original members came back together for another try.

Cousins leased the song to Roulette who put it out nationwide where it went to number 13 on the Hot 100. Their followup, another Maresca song, was "Runaway" which peaked at 28 on the Hot 100 and 30 on the R&B Singles.

After just two more records, the band broke up again but Villari revived the name in 1973 and continued to tour with them for a couple of decades including an appearance on the 1988 Grammy Awards.

Guy later had an on-line radio show, "Good Times Rock and Roll" and owned and raced harness horses.

Villari is survived by a daughter and two grandchildren.