Cincinnati, late 1950s
The Students formed while in junior high school as the D'Italians.They were five singers - Leroy King, Dorsey Porter, Roy Ford, John Bolden, Richard Johnson - and a guitarist, Ralph Byrd -from the Avondale area of Cincinnati. The group got an auditon for Chess records and recorded 4 songs.
The first 45 "I'm So Young" and "Every Day Of The Week" was issued in the summer of 1958 by Note records from Indianapolis. Seems that Chess was hedging their bets and waiting for a smaller label to test the record before taking it national. The songs were written by William "Prez" Tyus, another Cincinnati high school student. "I'm So Young" was a big hit in Cincy and Indianapolis so Chess issued it quickly on the Checker label. The group changed names from D'Italians to the Students for the 45.
The 45 was successful in the midwest and the east coast, and the group hit the tour of one nights stands and chitlin circuit clubs that were the norm for black vocal groups of the time. On the summer of 1959 they recorded 2 more songs, "That's How I Feel" and "My Vow To You" at Chess. The songs were released on Note, but not on Checker at the time. This 45 was not successful.
The group lost momentum and as they aged out of high school, they went their seperate ways.
In 1961, New York City was experiencing the first wave or rock and roll era nostalgia - perhaps disillusioned by the American Bandstand parade of Bobbys = and someone got Chess to reissue "I'm So Young" on the Argo label. This time the record made the R&B charts.Checker then issued "That's How I Feel" which flopped. "I'm So Young" was reissued again on Cadet.
We don't really know what happened to the group members. Prez Tyus's name shows up on some later Cincy soul records.