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the clovers

The Clovers

l to r: harold lucas, harold winley, bill harris, buddy bailey and matthew mcquater in 1951

The Clovers were an R&B group formed in Washington D.C. in 1946.

The group members comprised of:

John H 'Buddy' Bailey (b. 29th December 1931, Seneca, Virginia, U.S.A. d. 3rd February 1994, Henderson, Nevada, U.S.A. - lead)

Matthew A. McQuater Jr. (b. 4th March 1927, Texas, U.S.A. d. 19th December 2000, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. - tenor)

Harold P. 'Hal' Lucas Jr. (b. 27th August 1932, Washington D.C., U.S.A. d. 6th January 1994, Washington D.C., U.S.A.)

William Joseph 'Billy' Mitchell Jr. (b. 30th January 1931, Washington D.C., U.S.A., d. 5th November 2002, Washington D.C., U.S.A. - second tenor)


Harold Jerome Winley (b. 13th May 1933, Washington D.C., U.S.A. - second tenor)


Bill Harris (b. William Harris, 14th April 1925, Nashville, North Carolina, U.S.A., d. 6th December 1988, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. - guitar)

other group members (at various times) comprised of:

Charles R. Stevens

Prentiss Floyd

Billy Shelton

Thomas Woods

John Phillip

Charlie White

James 'Toy' Walton

Robert Russell

Roosevelt 'Tippie' Hubbard

Nathaniel Bouknight

Peggy Winley Mills

Ann Winley

Jimmy Taylor

Daniel 'Steep' Abbott

Tyrone Burwell

Andrew Lawyer

Juan Hawkins

Johnnie Mason

Ron Reace

William Rawlings

Antwan Drayton

King Raymond Green

Franklen Poole

Carlos Wilson

Chuck Battle

Edward 'Ike' Bowers

Tye Lovell

The Clovers hailed from Washington D.C. and were formed, initially, in 1946.

The original members were Harold ‘Hal’ Lucas, John ‘Buddy’ Bailey, Mathew McQuater and Harold Winley, who all attended the Armstrong High School in Washington, D.C.

John ‘Buddy’ Bailey was a later addition, with the group performing under the name of the Four Clovers.

Clovers 1950Clovers 1951

yes sir, that's my baby - 1950 / don't you know I love you - 1951

They released their fist single for the Rainbow imprint, in 1950, entitled ‘Yes Sir, That’s My Baby’ b/w ‘When You Come Back To Me’, before a change in the line up the following year.

This incarnation comprised of Harold ‘Hal’ Lucas, John ‘Buddy’ Bailey, Mathew McQuater, Harold Winley and Bill Harris.

Their, then manager, Lou Krefetz took the group to Atlantic Records, and Ahmet Ertegün signed them to the label in 1951.

The same year saw the group performing at the Apollo Theater.

It was in 1951, the group began releasing single releases, with their first big hit, ‘Don't You Know I Love You’ b/w ’Skylark’, reaching number 1 on the national charts in June of that year.

A second single, entitled ‘Needless’ b/w ‘Fool Fool Fool’ was followed by another number one hit, ‘One Mint Julep’ b/w ‘Middle of The Night’.

John Bailey was drafted into national service during 1952, and John Phillip was brought in to replace him.

He was, subsequently replaced by Charlie White after just a few months.

Charlie White was then made redundant in 1953, and was replaced by Billy Mitchell.

The CloversClovers 1959Clovers 1959Clovers 1961

the clovers - 1956 / the clovers dance party - 1959 / in clover - 1959 / lovebug - 1961

The Clovers continued to record at Atlantic until 1958 releasing some 22 singles and one album.

In 1954, Buddy Bailey was discharged from the Army, rejoining the group’s ranks.

In 1955, they released ‘Blue Velvet’ b/w ‘If You Love Me’ to some success (number 14 R&B).

When their contract with Atlantic expired, the group relocated to the Poplar Records imprint.

The Poplar label was then brought under the wing of United Artists Records, which, subsequently, led to the group collaborating with the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

In 1959, they released, their best remembered song, the single ‘Love Potion #9’ b/w ’Stay Awhile’, with a further release following on of the same song.

A parent album was also released to accompany the singles success.

On leaving United Artists, the Clovers moved to the Winley Records imprint.

The group went their separate ways shortly afterwards.

In 1962, John Bailey reformed a version of the Clovers, recording with his own version of the group, at Winley Records.

after further departures from the line-up, the group recorded under the names of Tippie and the Clovermen, and also Tippie and the Clovers.

John Bailey's version of the group comprised of Nathaniel Bouknight, Peggy Winley Mills, and Ann Winley.

In 1963, the two versions of the group merged into a trio of vocalists, which comprised of Harold Lucas, John Bailey, and Harold Winley.

In 1965, the British group, the Searchers reworked ‘Love Potion #9’, which led to the reissuing of some of the earlier songs by the Clovers, which were released on the album, ‘The Original Love Potion No. 9 by The Clovers’.

Harold Winley then departed the group again, and the group recruited Robert Russell and Jimmy Taylor, for some further Atlantic Records recordings.

Love Potion No 9Clovers 1975

the original love potion #9 - 1965 / bump jive - 1975

For a short period, the group recorded under the name of Tippie and the Wisemen, before recording as the Clovers, re-recording some of their earlier sides, including a further version of ‘Love Potion #9’.

The Clovers then became a group name utilised by up to three versions of the singers, which Harold Winley, Bobby Adams, Johnny Taylor, and Ray Loper comprised of one of these incarnations.

In the mid Seventies, the Clovers released ‘Bump Jive!, a double sided single on Aladdin Records.

With the passings of group members Toy Walton and Tippie Hubbard (in 1980) the group went into retirement, however, a reunion was planned in 1988.

In Austin, Texas, Harold Lucas’ version of the Clovers were reunited with John Bailey, Matthew McQuarter, and Harold Winley, briefly.

Harold Lucas’s version of the group performed at a benefit concert for Bill Harris, the group's guitarist.

This version of the Clovers recorded for Ripete Records, in South Carolina.

In the early nineties Harold Lucas became ill and stopped touring, although the group continued to tour with Richard Merritt taking his place.

The Clovers performed on the PBS special, ‘Doo Wop 51’ in 2000.

The Clovers were inducted to the Doo Wop Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.

The Clovers' name has become utilised by several incarnations over the years, with multiple groups claiming the name in various performing venues and recording studio’s.

Real Player


The Clovers (Atlantic Records 1956)

Dance Party (Atlantic Records1959)

In Clover (Poplar Records1959)

Lovebug (Atlantic Records 1961)

Love Potion Number Nine (United Artists Records 1965)

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