Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Farewell Ronnie I, UGHA founder & DooWop Ambassador!

I just received some very sad news. For those of you who don't know my musical tastes I am a big fan of DooWop (Rhythm & Blues based vocal Group Harmony from the 50's and 60's). the music has just lost one of its biggest fans and ambassadors in Ronnie Italiano "Ronnie I" last night as he lost his valiant battle with cancer. He was the founder and President of the United In Group Harmony Association (of which I was a proud card-carrying member) which was founded in 1976 in Clifton, New Jersey (where Ronnie owned a record store, Clifton Music). UGHA and Ronnie I (he is pictured in the middle between my adopted Uncle Andy on the left an me on the right at the UGHA Hall of Fame inductions in 2002) were responsible for keeping the music alive and I owe him a great debt for doing so because without people like him I would not have discovered the great DooWop sounds. In 2002, 2003, and 2005 I traveled up to New Jersey for a UGHA meeting/shows that the Internet DooWop clubs held weekends in conjunction with. I have great and fond memories of those times and it saddens me to hear of Ronnie I's passing.

My most sincere condolences go out to his wife, Sandy, the Italiano family, and the many friends, fans, DooWop groups, and singers who love him. Ronnie I will be definitely missed by many around the world. UGHA had members from all over the country and as far away as Europe and Japan.

Ronnie I, We will miss you. However I rejoice that you are reunited with the long list of UGHA members who have passed on before you in the Heavenly Choir. They now have their emcee and those legends will be singing for you tonight my friend! Thank you for all you did for our music. Rest In Peace! We will miss you Ronnie!


Indy John said...

Hi Bopper...
I was sad to hear of Ronnie I's passing.
He kept the music alive,,when real music could have easily passed you and I by..
He left a great legacy throughout the music world.

Indy John

John Rozz said...

I go back with Ronni I & UGHA in the 1970's. Ronni kept the vocal group harmony alive. He was always helping the original artists in getting gigs and even reforming. He secured Earl Lewis & Channels & the Chantels for my daughter Renee's wedding back in 2000. The world of rock n roll lost a treasure.
This Dop Wop is for you Ronni............. Rest in peace brother.

John Rozz from Connecticut

Rockin' Richard (Phillips) said...

Hi my name is Richard Phillips and I do a doowop radio show here in CT for the past 34 years.
I send an emailer out each week to thousands that love doowop and today I must have gotten 50 or more emails from people telling me about Ronnie I passing. I also dedicated tonights show (Tuesday 6pm to 8pm www.wnhu.net) in Ronnie's memory and it was amazing how many people called in to just say they knew him and how much they liked him.
He was quite a promoter of the group harmony sound and for that plus being a very nice person, he will be long remembered.
Salute! to Ronnie I
Rockin' Richard (Phillips)

Rio Lover said...

I was Ronnie's long time engineer at WNYE-FM. I'm as shocked as anyone outside of his immediate family at his untimely demise. What a nice guy. I still have the cd's he would give me during the Holiday Season to show his appreciation for making him sound so good during the year. I'm guessing we must've had a good 10 - 12 years together, all those Wednesdays. Of couse, I can't forget his friends such as BJ, Tony O., and Sandy I., to say nothing of the too numerous groups that came by the studios to perform "live" over the broadcasts.
No doubt Heaven is an even more melodious place having received Ronnie to help orchestrate the throng up there.
Physically he'll be missed, but spiritually and artistically he'll always, always be with us.

Dale B.

John V said...

I too am sad of the passing of a legend of Vocal Group Harmony. One of my favorate songs is by The Five Blue Notes called "The Beat Of Our Hearts" and Ronnie Italiano was just that. Hands up for Christine Vialli Who keeps his work alive on the radio. 31 1/2 years in living in Queens New York I have attended UGHA meetings and was a member. My fondest memory was taking a trip with Ronnie to Philly to see a Charlie Horner show and they had the Ink Spots with one original member left. Also got introduced to an acapella group called The Ballodeers. Real nice. He was a super man and his influences never left me even though I moved to conneticut. His smile will always live in my Heart and now that I am 40 years old my life is not the same without him. Thank you for posting this picture. Thats the Ronnie we all Loved and Adored.

John Vigilante
Email: starmaker1968@yahoo.com

John V said...

Thank you for posting this Bopper. I grew up 31 1/2 years in New York. Was a UGHA member and listened to Ronnie Italiano's radio program. Ronnie I was a good friend to me and my Heart. I am 40 years old now and I can say that Ronnie I was the person who got me into this music Hard Core. Now a good friend has passed. My fondest memories was once taking a trip with Ronnie to philly to watch a show that Charlie Horner had out there. We rode in Ronnie's van. We saw the The Ink Spots with one original member left and also saw The original Students on Red Top. If there is one song I could dedicate to Ronnie and one of my favorates it would be The Beat Of Our Hearts By The Five Blue Notes. I was happy to find that Christine Vitali has a show and keeping this great music alive. Now I live in Conneticut but I do miss the days of such a wonderful time in my life and rest assure this music will never die as long as I am around. Thanks for posting the picture. Thats the Ronnie we all Loved.

John Vigilante
E-mail: Starmaker1968@yahoo.com


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