The Five Keys (Rudy West 50s-80s vocal rhythm and blues formation)

~ Group


Note that this band is unrelated to the Furness brothers' Three Keys and Four Keys - though, by the time the fifth Furness brother joined in, they attempted to use the name and were eventually ruled out in court by Rudy West.

Annotation last modified on 2007-11-30 14:35 UTC.


The Five Keys was an American rhythm and blues vocal group that was instrumental in shaping this genre in the 1950s.

It was formed with the original name of Sentimental Four in Newport News, Virginia, U.S., in the late 1940s, and initially consisted of two sets of brothers - Rudy West (born 25 July 1932, Newport News, Virginia) and Bernie West (born 4 February 1930, Newport News), and Ripley Ingram (born 1930 - died 23 March 1995, Newport News) and Raphael Ingram. Ingram left in 1949 and Maryland Pierce (born 1933) and Dickie Smith became members in his place. At this juncture the name of the group was changed to The Five Keys.

They were signed to Aladdin Records in 1951, and in 1952 Rudy West left to join the United States Army, and he was replaced by Ulysses K. Hicks. When Hicks died of a heart attack in Boston in 1955, Rudy West returned to the group. In 1954 Dickie Smith left and was replaced with Ramon Loper. At this point the Five Keys was signed to Capitol Records, and their popularity increased, although more instrumentation was used.

The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.

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Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1982 It's a Groove 1
1994 Golden Classics 1
1995 The Aladdin Years 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1954 Ling, Ting, Tong / I'm Alone 1
1955 Close Your Eyes / Doggone It, You Did It 1

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