Saturday, August 28, 2021

Dennis Tufano Representing The Buckinghams at Illinois R&R Hall of Fame Induction

Tuesday, August 31, marks the exciting long-awaited opening of musician Ron Romero’s dream: the Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s located in the heart of Joliet, IL, at 9 W. Cass St. "On behalf of the entire Buckinghams band, original lead singer and founding member Dennis Tufano will be representing in the formal Hall of Fame induction ceremony," announced his friend and longtime fellow Buckingham, Carl Giammarese.

"It’s poignant and so important that Dennis be there just as he was in the very beginning. The founding member we all considered the “heart” of The Buckinghams, John Poulos, and early founding member George LeGros as well as final founding member, Marty Grebb, are no longer with us. Dennis will share memories from his heart and will be wonderful in representing all of us from the beginning. He’ll also sing a few songs that evening," said Carl.

Two early shots of The Pulsations turned The Buckinghams during the early days of WGN-TV's "All Time Hits" broadcast.

The inaugural class of 2020 (delayed due to COVID-19) will usher in some of the state’s most prestigious, beloved musicians, DJs, and radio stations that really propelled iconic musicians and powerful bands from the Windy City forward with signature momentum that have found their popularity only growing with each year since they found garages and basements to plug their instruments in for the first time.

Originally it was hoped that all The Buckinghams, who are among the groups being inducted this first year, would all be able to attend the event at the Rialto Square Theatre. As schedules would have it, the band had been booked already for Tuesday evening to play one of their favorite concerts, the City Festival at Hillside, IL.

However, on Thursday, newly elected Hall of Fame Ambassador Carl Giammarese, founding member of The Buckinghams, said, “The genesis of The Buckinghams, of course, began as The Pulsations, when Dennis and Jon-Jon (Poulos) plus founding member George Le Gros invited me to join them. The original lineup then was different than the group that would find national acclaim and build a following over the past 56 years. We are so appreciative that Dennis is flying in from California to represent everyone who’s been a part of our band over the years, including original manager, Carl Bonafede.”

The Pulsations would change three band members over a year’s time to ultimately become known The Buckinghams. Check out this early photo and note the snappy dinner jackets that would soon be returned to the tuxedo shop in due time.

"During the “All Time Hits” TV show, in week 4, we lost lead singer George LeGros and bass player Curtis Bachman left to join another band.” Giammarese suggested they invite Nick Fortuna and the guys agreed. Both Nick and Dennis Miccolis were with the band all through the recordings at Chess Studios that would ultimately be released on USA Records. The band recorded James Holvay's "Kind of a Drag" and two more Holvay compositions for that contract: "Makin' Up and Breakin' Up" and "Love Ain't Enough."

Not long after USA Records released “Kind of a Drag,” Dennis Miccolis left the band to enter college and study chiropractic medicine, but he was the original keyboard player on all USA Recordings. He's featured in this early promotional picture of the band.

After Miccolis, songwriter Larry Nestor filled in on keyboards. Nestor is pictured on the sheet music for "Kind of a Drag," having arrived fortuitously in time for the photo sessions!

About two months later, Marty Grebb would be recruited by the band to join them, thus rounding out the group of future Columbia/Sony recording artists and touring musicians who are the five best-known founding members of The Buckinghams from 1966 until such time as two of them would eventually go on to other bands.

The Buckinghams quit performing as a band in 1970. Dennis likes to joke, "We were a 60s band, and when it was the 70s, we had to break up!"

“All this history is part of the story of our careers, which I’ve been compiling and writing for some time now,” said Carl. “The most important thing to remember is that Chicago, Illinois, is the hometown of the heartbeat of The Buckinghams. It was here where we all got our start.”

Talented Chicago native and photographer Jack Mongan snapped this picture of Dennis and Carl during a benefit concert for Pam Pulice's biopic "The Dick Biondi Film," soon to be completed. Of course Dick Biondi and WLS-AM will be honored in the inaugural Class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Continuing, Carl said, “It was thanks to the relentless energy of Carl Bonafede, the Screamin’ Wildman, and the “Wild Itralian” himself, Dick Biondi of WLS-AM, and Sheldon Cooper of WGN-TV’s ‘All Time Hits’ that we became introduced to national audiences. We appreciate so much Dennis’ representing all of us on an amazing historic evening that Ron Romero has put his heart and soul into to make his vision a reality.”

Carl and Nick are in Colorado this weekend with two Happy Together concerts (rescheduled from 2020). They will return to Chicago for Sunday’s Cornerstones of Rock show at Ron Onesti's Arcada Theatre with The Buckinghams, The Ides of March, and a host of others before Tuesday’s Hillside date.” Rock and roll is alive and kicking in the Windy City and live music is returning to stages and festivals at last.

The Buckinghams are part of the Cornerstones of Rock concert on Sunday at the Arcada Theatre.

Carl said, “Jim Peterik and I have been on the radio the past few weeks talking about this exciting event. We’re so appreciative that Ron Romero and his team have been so warmly received across the state as we inaugurate this historic museum.”

The renovations and opening of this historic Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum are made possible through support by those who’ve believed in Ron Romero’s dream from the beginning: First Midwest Bank, Rendel’s, Complete Crewing, Firefly, and Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau. They deserve your thanks and your continuing business support.

Photo of Ron Romero courtesy of Sheryl Davis.

Music fans—you still have a chance to join the museum as a charter member today. Visit https://www.roadtorock.org/ and donate by PayPal or safe credit cards, however you can. Keep our music history preserved forever and as soon as you can, please visit the museum. It’s absolutely spectacular and you'll find some Buckinghams' memorabilia there, too.

Tickets are still available to the grand opening evening at the Rialto Square Theatre, in Joliet, starting at a very reasonable $33.50. Doors open at 6 and the show begins at 7pm. There’s already a huge crowd coming so don’t wait around on getting your seats. For a list of all the inductees, click here.

You know what they say about big events —you never want to miss anything that happens only once in a lifetime!