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the Savoys

Cleveland, 1957-62


L-R: Don George, Bob Arlow, Tony Valentino, Bill Derus

The Savoys were one of Cleveland's first rock-n-roll bands. The band was started by some students at East High School, drummer Don George and bassist Bob Arlow. They added sax player Tony Valentino, and guitarist Bill Derus. Bill was from Willowick. Ron Shaffer rounded out the band. Bob Arlow, in addition to playing a standup bass, played  sax.

The band's first 45 had two rockin' instrumentals, "Razorback" and "The Throb". The 45 was on Shelly Haims' Studio label. The band is really blasting away, with Bill's guitar playing sounding like it was 10 years in the future. 

The band recorded another 45, "Blo Jangs", on a Chicago label. 

By 1962 the band seemed like it was over. Bill Derus was in the military, and was serving in South Vietnam in 1963, playing an early role in the Vietnam War. Bob Arlow, like many local musicians of his generation, turned to his eastern European roots and played the bugarija in the long lasting Continental Strings tamburitza band. Don George became a record promoter, among his accomplishments was playing a major role in 'breaking' Rush in Cleveland and eventually the US in 1974/5.

Don George passed away in June 2021, the last surviving member. Bill Derus died in 2011 and Bob Arlow in 2002. 

In 1962, the Savoys aka Ronnie and the Savoys from Uniontown, PA, moved to Cleveland and were appearing in local clubs. There is no connection between the two Savoys.

The Throb / Razorback - Studio 1000 (RCA masters J8OW-9239/40), 1958
Blo Jangs / The Lament - Arnie 1087, 1962

Thanks to Tom Fallon, Matt Baker