The Sandpipers

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The Sandpipers
GenresFolk rock
Years active1966–1975
Past membersJim Brady
Mike Piano
Richard Shoff
Pamela Ramcier
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The Sandpipers
GenresFolk rock
Years active1966–1975
Past membersJim Brady
Mike Piano
Richard Shoff
Pamela Ramcier

The Sandpipers were an American easy listening trio/quartet,[1] who carved a niche in 1960s folk rock. They are best remembered for their cover version of "Guantanamera", which became a transatlantic Top 10 hit in 1966, and their Top 20 hit "Come Saturday Morning" from the soundtrack of the film The Sterile Cuckoo in 1970.


Founding members Jim Brady (born August 24, 1944), Mike Piano (born October 26, 1944, Rochester, New York) and Richard Shoff (born April 30, 1944, Seattle, Washington) first performed together in the Mitchell Boys Choir, before deciding to go it alone as "The Four Seasons". It was pointed out to them that a group of that name already existed in New York, and they changed their name to "The Grads".[1]

Although The Grads did not enter the charts with their early recordings, they performed well enough to secure them a residency in a Lake Tahoe nightclub, where a friend brought them to the attention of Herb Alpert[1] of A&M Records. Alpert was impressed with The Grads, but after a couple of singles without success the group agreed upon a name change to "The Sandpipers", apparently unaware that a girl trio in Florida[2] was already using that name. After the name change, their producer, Tommy LiPuma, recommended they record the Cuban anthem, "Guantanamera", and they had their first hit.[1] The use of a female singer (Robie Lester, uncredited)[3] to add background vocals on "Guantanamera" established a trend that the Sandpipers would incorporate in multiple future studio recordings and live shows.

Along with the name change, came a fourth member. Although sidelined by the original trio for reasons which may never become clear, Pamela Ramcier had now become an integral part of The Sandpipers' sound.[1] Her lyricless vocals were used much like second strings, adding an ethereal quality to The Sandpipers' sound.[1] For the Sandpipers' first live show, in San Diego, their management hired two females, the well-known folk singer Penny Nichols and Pat Woolley. They, too, were replaced by subsequent backup singers.

"Guantanamera" charted in the United States in September 1966, and in the United Kingdom the following month, and remains the group's biggest hit. Nevertheless, they had many lesser chart entries, including cover versions of "Louie Louie", "The French Song" (Quand Le Soleil Dit Bonjour Aux Montagnes), and songs from the movies The Sterile Cuckoo and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.[1]

The record sleeve for their 1966 album, "Guantanamera", was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package. Dolores Erickson appeared in part of the sleeve's design.

In 1967, they recorded a cover version of the Lovin' Spoonful's "Daydream", for their album, "Misty Roses". Their 1971 album "A Gift of Song", contained at least two more covers: "It's Too Late" and "An Old Fashioned Love Song".

In 1968 they participated at the Festival di Sanremo in Italy, a highlight on the Italian music calendar. They were, as then usual, alongside Anna Identici one of the two performers of the song "Quando M'Innamoro," which attained sixth place. The song would become more popular in the interpretation by Gigliola Cinquetti. The English version by British pop singer Engelbert Humperdinck, "A Man Without Love", became a global hit.

By 1971, the Sandpipers had secured seven separate album entries in the US Billboard 200 chart.[4] However, having not had a hit in the previous five years, The Sandpipers broke up in 1975.[1]

Other Sandpipers[edit]

  1. In 1965-66 an American girl group from Pensacola, Florida briefly toured and recorded as The Sandpipers, backed by an early Gregg-Duane Allman band called the Allman Joys. After "Guantanamera" was released they became The Daisies.[5]
  2. There was a South African group called the Sandpipers. No one from the American groups was in their line-up, and it is assumed that these groups have no connection beyond their name.
  3. Another group known as The Sandpipers (or sometimes The Golden Sandpipers) sang for Golden Records, most notably the theme to Mighty Mouse, the version that is now the best known and perhaps the original.[6]
  4. The psychedelic rock group, The Lemon Pipers, overlapped the Sandpipers' years of success (c. 1967-68) and the two groups were frequently confused.[7]



A&M Records[4]



YearSongU.S. Hot 100[8]U.S. ACUK Singles Chart[9]CANCAN ACRecord label and catalogue reference
(Joseíto Fernández)
93710-A&M 806
"Louie Louie"
(Richard Berry)
3024-31-A&M 819
1967"Bon Soir Dame"-20---
"Cuando Sali de Cuba"-3---
"For Baby"-31---
1968"Let Go!"-36---
"Quando M'Innamoro (A Man Without Love)"1241633--A&M 723
1969"Kumbaya"--38--A&M 744
"Come Saturday Morning"
(Fred Karlin/Dory Previn)
176-3013A&M 1134
1970"Free To Carry On"
(Dale Bobbitt, Jim Brady)
"Santo Domingo"-17--1
1971"The Sound of Love"----13
1976"Hang On Sloopy"
(Wes Farrell, Bert Russell)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine". Retrieved September 27, 2009. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar (2006). Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records. Oxford, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. p. 95. ISBN 1-57806-848-7. 
  4. ^ a b "Allmusic ((( The Sandpipers > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". 
  5. ^ The Sandpipers at
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Lemon Pipers Biography :
  8. ^ "Allmusic ((( The Sandpipers > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". 
  9. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 481. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.