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Bob Flanigan, Original Member of Four Freshmen, Dies

Vocalist and musician was 84

Bob Flanigan of the Four Freshmen
Bob Flanigan
Four Freshmen album cover

Jazz vocalist and musician Bob Flanigan, who was one of the original founding members of the Four Freshmen, died on May 15 of heart failure. He was 84 years old.

Along with Hal Kratzsch and brothers Ross and Don Barbour, Flanigan formed the Four Freshmen in the ’40s, as an offshoot of a barbershop quartet. Their first hit single was “It’s a Blue World,” in 1952. The group would go on to release a succession of increasingly popular records in the 1950s, culminating with “Graduation Day.” According to a statement released by their management company, the Four Freshmen have over 50 albums, 70 top-selling singles and six Grammy Nominations. A major influence on modern-jazz vocal groups such as the Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices, the Four Freshmen are more famously credited with influencing the Beach Boys by providing a model for unconventional yet mellifluous high harmonies. Over the years, the Four Freshmen developed a large following and even a large fan club that remains active to this day.

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