The Rock A Bops evolved from an early 50’s group called “The Harry Vee Five”.  The group, active from 1951 through late 1954, consisted of bandleader Harry Verfaillie on sax, Rose Perigine on piano, Johnny Barkham on drums, Fred Anzide on bass and Harry's wife, Joan Weber handling the vocal duties. Harry and Fred had been playing together since the 1940s and were both charter members of the Gloucester City, New Jersey-based Garden State String Band.

Harry and Joan left the group to go on tour promoting her record “Let Me Go Lover”.  “Let Me Go Lover” was first heard on the Studio One television show on November 15, 1954. A result of the program was to illustrate how efficiently a song could be promoted by introducing it to the public via radio or television production. The recording, released by Columbia Records as catalog number 40366, was pre-placed in national record stores by Columbia executive Mitch Miller the week before the program and because of its availability the record sold over 100,000 copies in the first week of its release. It first reached the Billboard magazine charts on December 4, 1954, and by January of 1955 had gone to Number 1, selling over a million copies.

After Harry and Joan departed, Johnny, Fred, and Rose formed the Rock A Bops. The Rock A Bops performed at many South Jersey nightclubs and entertainment venues, including Murray's (known later as the Green Briar Restaurant), Andy’s Log Cabin, Lindenwold Inn (also known as Charlie Ventura’s), Lou Palma’s, Jack Downey’s, the Hurricane in Wildwood and Bay Shores in Somers Point to name just a few.  They also made many appearances at the Erie Social Club in Philadelphia along with the famous artists appearing there on the weekends. The group continued to work well into 1984 with various musicians joining.

Some of the well known local musicians who became part of the Rock A Bops over the years, in addition to those in the picture included Joe Phillips, George Nardello, Eddie Rose, and Sonny Sparano. There were many others.

Johnny B. & and the Rock A Bops

Rose Peregine (piano), Johnny Barkham (drums), Fred Anzide (bass)
Ray Knispel (trumpet), Stan Culver (trombone), Cullen Offer (tenor sax)

The Harry Vee Five - December 31, 1954

Johnny Barkham, drums - Rose Peregine, piano - Harry Verfaillie, saxaphone
Joan Weber (Mrs. Joan Verfaillie), vocals - Fred Anzide, bass
at Difigers in Gloucester City, New Jersey - New Years Eve, 1954

Thanks to Fred Anzide for his help in creating this web-page.

This webpage grew out of another page on this website called MOVIES, DINING, NIGHTLIFE, & GENERAL FUN In Camden and Vicinity - June 10, 1960 which basically consisted of all the advertisements in the entertainment section of the Camden Courier-Post on the day mentioned. Johnny B. and the Rock-a-Bops were one of the acts mentioned. As stated on that page, I would very much like to find out and post some information and photos of some of some of the live acts advertised below. Some of course are relatively famous... Gerry Mulligan, Earl Bostic, and Steve Gibson & the Red Caps for example. Then there are some less well known today.... after all, who wouldn't want to know about "The Sensational Trolley Car and her Motormen", "The 3 Leaders featuring Acey Ducey", and Col Nemeth, the "Gypsy King of the Ivories"? If you have any information on some of these acts, please contact me by e-mail

As always, HAVE FUN!!

Phil Cohen
February 16, 2013