2019 INDUCTEES >> RAVONS
Members: Norm Luker, Russ Rippen, Dave McLaughlin, Denny Fuller, John Compton, Bob Willits, Gary Fuller
In 1959—and still sophomores at in Mason City, IA—three boys, Russ Rippen, Doug Klindt, and Norm Luker, started playing their Silvertone guitars together. The same year, they decided to participate in the local high school talent show and were a big hit. That led to the
addition of singer and guitarist Dave McLaughlin and drummer Gary Godfredson. The group was born.
The Ravons started playing area school dances, bowling alleys, and parties including sororities and fraternities. As word spread about the group, so did their popularity and area ballrooms began to call.
In 1962 they entered the Bill Riley regional talent contest and won, sending them to the State Fair competition. 1963-1966 brought about many changes. Denny Fuller joined the group in 1963 on guitar and vocals. Drummer Gary left and was replaced by Mike Studer the same year. 1964 was the year Dave was drafted into the military, but while on leave the group managed to record Hey Little Girl and Can't Leave Your Baby, both written by Dave at Bangar Studios in Minneapolis.
1965 was a year of good fortune for the group. In September of that year, they received the Outstanding Service Award from the National Ballroom Operators Association for entertainment and top quality danceable music. 1966 also had many changes. Gary Fuller joined on bass replacing Russ who left to pursue a career as a disc jockey in Duluth, MN. Mike left and was replaced by John Compton on drums and vocals. Dave returned from the service and rejoined the group, which led to another record at "Bangar I Tell My Heart" and "Run Around," again penned by Dave.
During the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, The Ravons performed cover tunes, concentrating on the vocals leading to 3 and 4 part harmonies. Through this period, they were also privileged to open for such rock celebrities as Billy Joe Royal, The Beach Boys, Conway Twitty, The Everly Brothers, Jan and Dean, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, and The Turtles. The conversations they had with these artists were priceless and will always be remembered.
In the early ‘70s the group disbanded, but the urge to play led to them reuniting in 1976 with Norm (lead guitar and vocals), Denny (rhythm guitar and vocals), Gary (bass and vocals), and new addition, Bob Willits (drums and vocals). With four singers, vocals were a big part of the band, which led to many compliments and a more diverse variety of tunes they could perform, adding country and southern rock along with the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s rock and roll.
Once again the group found themselves very busy, reigniting the popularity they enjoyed previously. Although the group still liked to perform and enjoyed the good times, the onset of DJ's taking over much of the live entertainment greatly reduced playing venues, so they hung up their guitars and put away the drums on New Year's Eve, 1989. It was a great ride for all the members past and present, and they still stay in contact, have a very special bond and all are proud of being in The Ravons.