The Three Strangers was a South Philadelphia group that had been in a studio several times prior to this under a variety of names. Salome (pronounced Sah-loam) Bey (not to be confused with a female singer of the same name from the Bey Sisters), Ike Smith, Melvin Wright, Heywood Royster, and John “Buck” McLaughlin formed the Daytons, named after a popular style of shoe, when they were attending Barrett Junior High School. They debuted on the local Norgolde imprint (best known for the Revels’ “Midnight Stroll”) in 1959 with the doo-wop ballad “King Of Broken Hearts” and a rocking “Friday Better Come.” They pared it down to Salome, Melvin, and Ike when they cut “He’s A Bum” and “Hi Diddle Diddle” for producers John Madara and David White in the autumn of 1964 as the Three Jokers. The single was issued on Mercury before year’s end.
The Three Strangers name came when the trio hooked up with producers Leroy Lovett and Frank Bendinelli to release a very Impressions-influenced ballad, “I’ll Be Alright,” and “Little Boy Blue” (both co-penned by Huff) in early ’66 on ABC-Paramount. Gamble and Huff wrote and produced a delightful throwback for the trio at Frantic, Arctic's subsidiary label.
Bey moved to Chester, Pennsylvania in ’71, and in 1976 launched the Eastern Standard Band, which performed on the casino circuit for decades. Versatility remained his motto until his passing a few years ago. “In recent years, he was in a reggae-based group, and then after that he was doing Nat King Cole tribute show,” according to Philly guitarist Bobby Eli.