By Warren Kurtz
On February 5, we lost Sonny Geraci, lead vocalist for The Outsiders in the ‘60s and Climax in the ‘70s. We remember him with his first flip side.
Flip side: Was It Really Real
A side: Time Won’t Let Me
Top 100 debut: February 19, 1966
Peak position: 5
When WIXY 1260 AM debuted in Cleveland in April of 1966 as a 24 hour rock and roll radio station, they listed the local band the Outsiders, with their debut single “Time Won’t Let Me,” at number one. The up-tempo song with a trumpet accent, co-written by the group’s Tom King, beat Capitol label-mates the Beatles’ latest slower single “Nowhere Man” in the Cleveland market. Nationally, these two records were close in rank, with the Beatles reaching number three and the Outsiders reaching number five.
The flip side of “Time Won’t Let Me” was a softer moody piece, similar to some of the Beau Brummels’ songs, called “Was It Really Real.” Sonny Geraci provided a soft vocal delivery, with Tom King providing harmony on another of his compositions. Sonny Geraci reflected on a relationship with the question, “Was it really real or were you just passing time?” Bill Bruno’s guitar had the bounce of Buddy Holly’s “Heartbeat” and provided a solo, with a touch of a surf guitar sound. This song was also included on the group’s debut album Time Won’t Let Me as part of their four album deal with Capitol. The album concluded with their next single, “Girl In Love,” which was another Tom King composition, soft in nature like “Was It Really Real,” and was augmented with an orchestral arrangement. The song reached number 21 that summer.
For their third single, an up-tempo cover version of fellow Ohio group the Isley Brothers was chosen, “Respectable,” which reached number 15 late that summer. Its flip side “Lost in My World” sounded a lot like “Time Won’t Let Me” including the brass arrangements. Both were included on their second album.
Released ahead of their third album was the single “Help Me Girl,” written by Scott English and Lawrence Weiss. It brought the Outsiders to the Top 40 for their fourth time, in early December of 1966. Late that month, as the Outsiders’ version of the song left the Top 40, it was replaced with a version by the Animals.
Three singles for the group in 1967 fell below the Top 100, starting with “I’ll Give You Time to Think It Over” in March. The Outsiders ultimately evolved into Climax.
Climax reached number three in 1972 with the love ballad “Precious and Few,” followed by “Life and Breath” which reached number 52 that year.
Sonny Geraci performed both Outsiders and Climax songs in concert for years.