The Limeliters

Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1959, The Limeliters is a folk music trio founded by vocalist / guitarist Glenn Yarbrough, bassist/ vocalist Lou Gottlieb, and banjo player / vocalist Alex Hassilev. The three musicians met at a Kingston Trio concert and initially came together to work out arrangements for the Kingston Trio but realized that their voices blended well together, and they decided to form a group together. They began to work out their act at a club called The Limelite in Aspen, Colorado – hence the name – and made their first high-profile live performance a famous San Francisco, California folk music nightclub, the Hungry I. The San Francisco shows earned the trio a label deal with Elektra Records, which resulted in their self-titled debut album in 1960. The trio then signed to RCA Records and released the live album Tonight in Person (1961), which climbed to number 5 on the Billboard 200. Because of the success of the live album, Elektra reissued their first album, which competed in the charts with their next studio release, The Slightly Fabulous Limeliters (1961). They continued to release charting albums including Sing Out! (1962), Through Children’s Eyes (1962), Folk Matinee (1962), and Our Men in San Francisco (1963). Glenn Yarbrough left the trio in 1963 to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Ernie Sheldon. The Limeliters continued as a recording act until 1965 but broke up once their contract with RCA Records expired. The original trio briefly reunited in 1968 and released the album Time to Gather Seeds on Warner Bros. Records, but the members went their separate ways again. Surprisingly, the trio reunited in 1974 and began a series of annual tours featuring the three original members. These shows spawned several live albums throughout the rest of 1970s and the success of their reunions inspired Gottlieb and Hassilev to make the reunion permanent in 1981. However, Yarbrough was not involved, and he was replaced by Red Grammar. This line-up remained intact until Lou Gottlieb died on July 11, 1996. A decade later, Hassilev – the trio’s only original member – retired and left The Limeliters. Glenn Yarbrough died on August 11, 2016, at the age of 86. Alex Hassilev died on April 21, 2024. The Limeliters continue to tour with no original members.

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