It was formed with the original name of Sentimental Four in Newport News, Virginia, US, in the late 1940s, and initially consisted of two sets of brothers – Rudy West (born July 25, 1932, Newport News, Virginia – died May 14, 1998, Suffolk City, Virginia)and Bernie West (born February 4, 1930, Newport News), and Ripley Ingram (born 1930 – died March 23, 1995, Newport News)and Raphael Ingram.Ingram left in 1949 and Maryland Pierce (born 1933) and Thomas ‘Dickie’ Threatt 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 were 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.
Ramon Loper died on October 16, 2002, after a short illness.
Dickie Threatt, lead tenor from 1958-1961, died on October 9, 2007 in Newport News, Virginia. source