The Fortes

2004 - Band

Members: Ron Brown, Dan Josephsen, Ray Armstrong, and Randy Larsen


The Fortes’ were a dynamic band from Southwest Iowa that had their roots in the mid 60’s and actively performed until 1978. With four lead singers, their vocal compliment was uncompromised in their harmony and blend. They possessed an amount of talent and versatility unmatched by many groups of that time.

The group had an enormous amount of equipment for a group from that era. . . valued in excess of $25,000!!

The original members consisted of C.A. (Al) Smith from Hamburg, Iowa who played rhythm guitar and sang vocals; Dan Josephsen from Exira, Iowa who played lead guitar and sang vocals; Ron Brown from Omaha, Nebraska who played bass and sang vocals; and Ray Armstrong from Atlantic, Iowa who played drums and sang lead vocals. Randy Larsen, from Anita, Iowa later replaced Al Smith at rhythm guitar and lead vocals.

The group later expanded to a five piece group with the addition of Rick Mellor, from Sioux City Iowa on trumpet and keyboards.

The Fortes’ were able to share the stage with several national acts. A few of the groups they performed with were The Beach Boys, 3 Dog Night, Tommy James and the Shondells, Sonny & Cher, and The Rip Chords.

The Fortes’ traveled extensively and played such popular venues as The Roof Garden Ballroom in Okoboji, The Cobblestone Ballroom in Storm Lake, The Acova Ballroom in Avoca, the 4-H Building in Atlantic, the Rose Garden in Shenandoah, The Chicken Inn in Creston, The Plamor Ballroom in Fort Dodge, the Coliseum in Worthington, Minnesota and high schools and colleges in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois.

The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum exists to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in Iowa by honoring achievements, educating youth and inspiring artists. Established in 1997, we are a501(c)(3) non-profit statewide organization with many areas of service.

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