There were five of them: Frankie Lymon (lead tenor), Jimmy Merchant (first tenor), Herman Santiago (second tenor), Joe Negroni (baritone), and Sherman Garnes (bass).They were not the first group to have a young lead: Frankie was 13 when he started recording; both Ray Wooten of the Mello-Moods and George Grant of the Castelles had been 16 when their groups had first recorded several years earlier, although they both sounded much younger.(This was actually done in self-defense, to get them to sing something different for a change; listening to a group practicing the same songs over and over and over could really get on your nerves.) These weren't poems that could be set to music, as much as love letters with some romantic, poetic interludes.
Many things that we somehow feel lasted a lot longer, only lasted eighteen months.
The pony express was only in operation for eighteen months.
Then Sherman hooked up with a Hispanic neighborhood friend, Joe Negroni (who was in the process of forming a group, to be called the Ermines, with his friend Herman Santiago).
Joe asked Sherman to sing bass and to bring his friend Jimmy along. They practiced in the hallway of Sherman's house (on the corner of 165th Street and Edgecombe), or in Herman's house (165th, between Amsterdam and Edgecombe).
They started jamming together and the guys were impressed with the sound of Frankie's high tenor/soprano voice and showmanship [read "ham"] qualities.