The Rondels produced a eight singles between 1961 and 1964 and had a Top 100 hit in 1961 with Back Beat No. 1. Based in Boston, Massachusetts The Rondels and were originally known as The Rhythm Rockers who had a regional hit with Madness on Square Records in 1960 and a later single as The Northern Lites.
The early stages of the Rhythm Rockers started in 1954 when Lennie Petze saw a TV performance by Elvis Presley on The Jackie Gleason Show. He was very interested in music and his influences included Johnnie Ray, Little Richard and Gene Autry. But it was the king himself, Elvis Presley who had the biggest impact on Lennie.
In the summer of 1954, Lennie did odd jobs so that he could earn enough money to buy his first guitar, an acoustic Silvertone from Sears & Roebuck. Seeing Elvis on TV literally changed the future course of his life. Growing up in Weymouth, MA, Lennie Petze’s home was filled with music. His older sisters played piano and his father picked away on a banjo. Lennie enjoyed singing while my sisters played all the hits of the day on the piano.
His cousin Jimmy Petze lived next door. Jimmy was more like his brother. Jimmy’s mother was he mother’s sister and his father was Lennie’s father’s brother. Lennie and Jimmy then met Nicky Latteo at a school variety show. They started playing together and were sounding so good that they decided to enter a talent contest at the school. They won the contest and The Rhythm Rockers were born. Then Eddie Grispi, had joined the band on drums. They were together for a year playing as a quartet but three guitars and drums left a lot to be desired. Then they met an amazing Saxophone player names Ray Pizzi. He was so good it was scary!