Monday, June 18, 2007

Vivian Carol, "Oh Yeah Yeah Yeah"

Vivian Carol was an up-and-coming pop singer in the 60's who recorded several songs in Philadelphia, PA, written by Joe Matt. Her birth name at the time was Vivian Carol Tancredi. She dropped the surname to create her stage name: Vivian Carol.

We were pleasantly surprised to see that many people have been enjoying one of her earliest recordings titled "Oh Yeah Yeah Yeah," written by Joe Matt, produced by Marv Epstein and pressed on Merben records. After reading numerous postings on the web, we figured it would be fun to give Vivian Carol a little history, since no one really seems to know much except that her music came out of Philadelphia. We became aware of the mystery by casually wondering one day if we could find an mp3 of the song online because we only had ONE remaining copy of the vinyl. The only reason we thought we might find one on the web is because a friend of ours had mentioned that somewhere in the U.K. people were playing the record in dance clubs.

It seems that over the years, people have been mistakenly spelling her name as "Carroll" like the common spelling for the surname, but as she took "Carol" from her middle name, there is actually only one "r" and one "l." Since collectors and fans of Northern Soul have come to know her by "Carroll," we've used the incorrect spelling as an alternate address for the blog so people can find her more easily.

Vivian Carol was 18 when she recorded "Oh Yeah Yeah Yeah." She had just met Joe Matt – a trumpet player, arranger and composer – with aspirations to become a singer. The story goes that Joe casually told a friend of his that he was looking for a girl singer. The friend called him up one day and said he'd found a talented singer and he wanted to make an appointment for him to meet her. Joe said yes – although he really wasn't looking for a singer - and made an appointment, planning on cancelling beforehand. Fortunately he forgot to cancel and he met Vivian one fated night in his home in South Philly. He mainly remembers "how beautiful her teeth were," and fell in love with her not long after. He would quickly find out that she had a fantastic voice and a great stage presence.

About a year later, Vivian Carol and Joe Matt (Matt was short for Matarazzo) married, and two years later a boy was born. After a time they moved from South Philadelphia to the suburbs, had another child - a girl - and Vivian Carol Matarazzo spent many years enjoying motherhood.

Joe and Vivian still recorded music of all kinds over the years, but Vivian didn't really get back into music professionally for a number of years. She now makes her living as a music teacher, a.k.a Vivian Matarazzo. She is still happily married and lives in New Jersey with Joe and her two dogs, Toby and Nicole.

And in case you were wondering, her voice is better than ever.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post away. Vivian will comment when she can.