Buckeye Beat

Bands and Performers
About the site
Contact Us


Cleveland, 1956-1960

The Poni-Tails were a very early trio in the format of what came to be called "girl groups" - teenage girls singing songs for (mostly) teenage girls. They were also one of the first Cleveland groups to have a high charting record during the 'rock-n-roll era'. 

The original group was formed by three girls at Brush High School (many years before Eric Carmen was there) - Tony Cistone, Karen Topinka, and LaVerne Novak. After singing in some local shows, they were pointed to the Point label (a New York label with a Cleveland connection) and recorded a song they wrote called "Que La Bozena" and a song that had been pitched to various groups called "Your Wild Heart". The group recorded at Schneider Recording with Al Tercek's band backing. Tercek was mainly a polka/'nationality music' artist but like many other similar local bands they could play charts and do popular music. "Your Wild Heart" got some airplay but it was cut by another recording of the song by Joy Layne on the muck larger and powerful Mercury records. 

After another 45 on Marc, the group was shopped to record companies by their manager, Clevelander Tom Illius, and got a deal with ABC records. Around this time, Karen Topinka had to leave and the group had local auditions which resulted in Patti McCabe as her permanent replacement (the group had a sub member or two for a brief time). Patti was not from Brush. Their first ABC 45 didn't happen but the second 45, "Born Too Late", took off after influential Cleveland radio DJ Bill Randle got behind the song, which had been released by ABC as a B side. It made it to #7 on the Billboard chart, and even higher in the UK.

Over the next couple years, the girls recorded 6 more 45s for ABC and did some barnstorming type package live shows. Of the other 45s they recorded, "Early To Bed" was another UK hit, and "Seven Minutes In Heaven" charted in a lot of places, but was more due to spillover from the previous big hit. 

By 1960, their ABC contract was up and the group seemed to be tired of the grind and their (in at least one case, fake) ponytail hairstyles  even though ABC expressed confidence and was willing to resign the group. None of the 4 members continued with professional music. Patti McCabe is desceased.


Your Wild Heart / Que La Bozena - Point 8 (also on 78) 12/56
It's Just My Luck To Be Fifteen / Wild Eyes and Tender Lips - ABC 9846 10/57
Born Too Late / Come On Joey Dance With Me - ABC 9934 6/58
Close Friends / Seven Minutes In Heaven - ABC 9969 10/58
Early To Bed / Father Time - ABC 9995 1/59
Moody / Oom Pah Polka - ABC 10,027 6/59
I'll Be Seeing You / I Keep Tryin' - ABC 10,047 10/59
Come Be My Love / Before We Say Goodnight - ABC 10,077 1/60
Who, What, When, and Why / Oh My You = ABC 10,114