Earlington Carl Tilghman was born in August 1928 in Baltimore, Maryland and had a very typical childhood with his only dream of being a singer. After leaving school his teenage years were appearing in talent contests in the hope of being noticed by the record people.
It was then that he met three people thst he would get to know very well, George Nelson, Alexander Sharp and Tommy Gaither and they decided to form a singing group and called themselves The Vibra-Naires. The group won a big talent contest leading to a recording contract and they promply changed their name to The Orioles in honour of the state bird of Maryland. It was at this point that Earlington Carl Tilghman became Sonny Til – he also became the lead singer of the group.
The Orioles had a brilliant stage show and had legions of female fans screaming and fainting as they got close to the group and especially their idol Sonny Til. Throughout the late forties and fifties they were a big name and sold many records.
In November 1950 a tragic accident accounted for Tommy Gaither and Nelson and Reed were severely injured. The car that lost control at a corner was carrying Gaither and the others while Sonny Til was in the following car. Many personel changes over the coming years did nothing to re-establish the group and in 1955 the disbanded, leaving Til to find another group and he did – he joined The Regals and they soon became The New Orioles. They recorded until 1959 – again, after members leaving the group it was decided to disband the group.
Sonny Til had a brief solo career before it was time for The Orioles Mark 3. Remarkably – The Orioles had at least six “New Orioles”….that was how popular they were.
The Orioles were still together in 1981 when Sonny Til suffered a heart attack and died. Sonny had health issues during his life including diabetes.
This record that is featured is a classic of it’s kind and was and still is very popular on the northern soul circuit. It is quite possible that some northern soul fans had no idea about Sonny Til being the lead singer of The Orioles. “Tears and Misery” is a worthy record to remind people about the great Sonny Til.