‘Little Anthony’ tries to peel off sticky labels
“I love my country but we are very well known for labeling things,” said “Little Anthony” Gourdine, who for more than four decades has been trying to clear up a couple of things.
Little Anthony & The Imperials is not a doo-wop band, and Gourdine isn’t little.
Two of the group’s hits, “Just Two Types of People” and “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop” can be labeled doo-wop, but those are the only ones.
“There is a misconception that every time a group sings or they come from New York, they’re doo-wop,” Gourdine said. “That’s something we stopped a long time ago.”
And about this diminutive misnomer.
“Alan Freed started calling me ‘Little Anthony’ but he’d never met me,” said Gourdine, who sings a high falsetto. “It was because of my voice. People come up to me and say ‘You don’t look little.’ That’s right. I’m not. I’m 5-81Ú2.”
Gourdine might be fighting a losing battle. Freed’s labels tend to stick. He was the disc jockey who first called rhythm and blues “rock ‘n’ roll.”