The group never had a top forty pop hit, or even a record on the national R&B charts, yet they are still considered one of the most influential doo-wop groups, both for their lead singer, Willie Winfield and their pianist/arranger, Raoul Cita. The Harptones recorded for various labels, including Coed Records. The Harptones may have been the first doo-wop group to number a full-time arranger among their members, and Cita knew how to work to Winfield's strengths. Their best-known recordings include "Sunday Kind of Love" (1953), "Why Should I Love You?" (1954), "Life is But a Dream" (1955), and "The Shrine of St. Cecilia" (1956).
In 1956, they recorded some songs for the film Rockin' the Blues: "Mambo Boogie", "Ou Wee Baby", and "High Flying Baby".
The song "Life is But a Dream" was featured in the 1990 film GoodFellas, and can be found on the film's soundtrack.