“Reparata and the Delrons”

The group started out as a five-piece high school harmony group called the Delrons, formed in 1962 at St. Brendan’s Catholic School in Brooklyn, New York by the lead singer Mary Aiese. The other original members included Nanette Licari, Regina Gallagher, and Anne Fitzgerald, but they were soon replaced by Sheila Reilly, Carol Drobnicki and Kathy Romeo. Romeo was replaced by Marge McGuire, but McGuire herself then left the group.

As a trio, Aiese, O’Reilly and Drobnicki were spotted by record producers Bill and Steve Jerome. They asked Mary Aiese to choose a stage name to make the group name more interesting and marketable. She chose Reparata, her confirmation name, which she had taken from one of her favorite teachers at Good Shepherd Catholic grammar school.

The Jeromes recorded them in 1964 first for Laurie Records, then on the Pittsburgh-based World Artists label with Ernie Maresca’s song “Whenever a Teenager Cries”. The song became a regional hit and reached #60 on the Billboard Hot 100. The follow-up, “Tommy,” co-written by Chip Taylor, reached #92. Writing about “Tommy” in her 2003 memoir A Misfit’s Manifesto: The Spiritual Journey of a Rock-and-Roll Heart, journalist and sociologist Donna Gaines comments:

“What better focus for saintly feminine devotion than the sullen “Tommy”, who once treated our girl with consideration, respect, and tenderness? But then Tommy starts acting like a dick. Still, she won’t give up on him. Her response to her callous indifference is to love him even more. I ached to love a boy like that, only in dreams.” source

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