Late one night, in 1952, lead vocalist Jimmy Sacca, Seymour Spiegelman and Don McGuire, three Western Kentucky State College students, along with Billy Vaughn, a local musician and songwriter, gathered around a piano with a portable tape recorder in the school auditorium and recorded a new song written by Billy Vaughn called "Trying". A small label called DOT Records released the record and the rest, as they say, is history!
During the 1950's, The Hilltoppers played an important part in musical pop culture. They helped bridge popular music from the sounds of the early 1950's to the rock and roll era that followed. Their style, with Jimmy Sacca's distinctive voice, phrasing and sense of feel, certainly influenced and inspired some well known groups that followed them into music history. They had numerous records on the Pop Charts beginning with "Trying", their first top ten national hit. In 1953, the Juke Box Operators of America voted The Hilltoppers the #1 Vocal Group in America as a result of a poll taken by Cash Box Magazine, the music industries "gospel" at the time. They performed with many artists including Tony Bennett, The Four Lads, Bill Haley and the Comets, Liberace, Edie Gorme and Steve Lawrence, Nat King Cole, Louie Prima, Aldo Ray, Mickey Spillane, Basil Rathbone, Louie Nye, Arlene Dahl, Robert Ryan, Wally Cox, Dagmar, Shecky Greene, Don Knotts, Connie Francis, Monty Hall, Julius LaRosa, Jonathon Winters, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Morey Amsterdam, Allen Freed, Tab Hunter, Jerry Vale, Soupy Sales, Marty Krofft, Mahalia Jackson, Tex Beneke and Eddy Fisher to mention a few.
The group also performed with some of the major big bands of that era such as The Glen Miller Band, The Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey Bands, Duke Ellington, Johnny Long, Ralph Marterie, Charlie Spivak, Stan Kenton, Ray Anthony, and Ray McKinley. The Hilltoppers appeared on many of the major popular television shows which included Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town", Dick Clark's "American Bandstand", Perry Como, Donald Wood's "The Orchid Award Show", Patti Page, Kate Smith, Sammy Kaye, Eddie Arnold's "Louisiana Hayride", Steve Allen and The Milton Berle Show.
The Hilltoppers extensively toured the United States, Canada, France, England, Scotland, Germany, Okinawa, Formosa, the Phillipine Islands and Japan, where they hosted their own TV show on Japanese television in Tokyo. Their Single "Only You" remained on the charts in Great Britain for over 26 weeks. The group's accomplishments include 25 songs in the top 100 charts, 18 songs in the top 40 charts and 9 songs in the top 10.
Today, there are Hilltopper fans worldwide as evidenced by the fan mail that is received almost daily. Their songs can still be heard on many radio stations around the country. The Hilltoppers remain one of the most celebrated and beloved singing groups in the world!