Dick Foley & The Brothers Four

I would like to add another Northwest group to Kirk Wilde’s list. Dick Foley and I were childhood friends and I so admire all of his wonderful achievements with the Brothers Four and his accomplishments after leaving the group. At the link below there’s a sample of The Brother’s Four and their fantastic talent!


Dick Foley, musical performer and television host.
16 years as an Emmy award-winning broadcaster on KOMO Television, host of such shows as Northwest Afternoon.
Photo from NorthwestPrimeTime.com

Author: Bruce Caplan

Bruce Caplan is a Seattle native with very eclectic interests. Back in the 70’s he was the sponsor of a 40’s music radio show on KXA in Seattle.When he watched the movie Titanic staring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck in 1953 Caplan became fascinated with the horrible tragedy. In 1996 his book on the subject was released. It’s now in the 20th printing.A decade ago Caplan began to do a weekly radio show on KIXI. The program is called Radio Trivia and he weekly brings to his audience the best of the best of the comedies from the golden age of radio.Because of Caplan’s interest in true crime, he began a second program on KIXI called Crime Club. On this show he often discuses events with authors of books on criminal subjects and weekly plays the great radio mysteries from long ago.Bruce has lectured throughout our nation and on scores of cruises. His greatest thrill is searching through the goldmine of radio gems of mysteries and comedies from yesteryear and bringing them back to an eager audience of young and old. --- View other articles by Bruce Caplan
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14 thoughts on “Dick Foley & The Brothers Four

  1. I seem to recall reading that The Brothers Four – or at least some of them — years ago owned KSWB-AM 840 radio down in Seaside, Oregon. I remember as a kid visiting Seaside from Seattle and hearing the station ID, which had the group singing to the tune of that old popular song “By the Beautiful Sea,” with the lyric slightly changed: “By the sea, by the sea, K-S-W-B!”

    1. You are correct John Fortmeyer – The Brothers Four, Jerry Dennon & investors owned KSWB in Seaside in 1968. The B4 later sold their share in the station. I like that little ditty about “by the sea, by the sea, K -S-W-B.” I wonder who came up with it! Incidentally, the B4 also had quite a few other investments. A good idea, considering the fickleness of the American music scene!

  2. While I’ll certainly agree that Dick Foley & The Brothers Four were among the more successful recording acts to come out of the Pacific Northwest in the late 50s and early 60s (and I was a fan) I’m not quite sure their music falls into the narrow premise of Kirk Wilde’s article: “The Northwest Sound • The Early Years” … ‘Sound’ being the optimum word here. The terrific ‘sounds’ of The Brothers’ wonderful harmony is more akin to the other “folkie acts” of that era … such as The Kingston Trio … and bears very little kinship to the likes of The Fabulous Wailers, The Sonics, The Dynamics or The Frantics. The Brothers Four do, however, have an exact relationship with another successful folk group of that era, also comprised of college friends from the Pacific Northwest, The Chad Mitchell Trio … whose national hits included “Lizzie Borden” (’61) and “The Marvelous Toy” (’63) and who performed as The Mitchell Trio until 2014. (Sidebar: at one time, John Denver was a member of The Mitchell Trio).
    Part of the confusion may be attributed to the inclusion (I suspect) of Bonnie Guitar, who because of her NW record company’s contribution … by recording the “Northwest Sound” … received a mention, but not necessarily because of her personal vocal stylings.

  3. Jay, thanks for your clarification on the musical sounds. At my home in Madison Park, growing up, my father kept the melodies of the 40’s spinning all through the 60’s. I was always treated to the likes of Buddy Clark, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole or Margaret Whiting.

    My dad’s good friend was Seattle lad, Al Hoffman who wrote gems like “Mares Eat Oats” and “If I Knew You Were Coming I’d of Baked A Cake.” It really is amazing all the great musical talent that has come from this area!

    1. Bruce: You were a lucky young man to be treated to the wonderful sounds of the original crooners growing up. That music (at least for me) is still as pertinent today as it was when originally recorded. The recordings of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra … along with Rosemary Clooney and Lee Wiley are still among the absolute favorites at our house. We listen to it much more often than music attributed to my own generation (although I enjoy that music too).
      I’m well aware of your father’s songwriting friend, Al Hoffman. He wrote many clever ditties including “Hot Diggity” and “Papa Loves Mambo” for Perry Como and “Close To You” recorded by Sinatra. I always loved “Mairzy Doats” as a little kid and it was a number of years before I realized what the lyrics in the song were actually saying.
      I couldn’t agree with you more about the great talent that originally came from this area.

    2. Bruce,

      I’ll bet you remember Smokey Stover in the funny papers. One day the strip mentioned a song, “If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Faked an Ache”.

    3. Bruce:
      As I mentioned before, as a young boy I loved that song “Mairzy Doats” written by your father friend, Al Hoffman. I was recently looking for some information on an old 1941 movie musical, “Melody Lane”, and discovered (among others) it starred The Merry Macs who had the 1944 Decca Records hit of that song. Thought I’d pass it along to you … or anyone else who may never had the pleasure to hear it before:

  4. I worked on Dick and Mary’s house a number of times over the years remodeling the bath rooms kitchen and stairs I also play and sing and we spent time singing together. I also had many lunches and dinners with them. Mary it seems can make soup out of about anything and make it taste great. Very lovely couple wonderful man and friends. When i first brought my wife up for lunch one day she was almost speechless she recognized him from the tv shows he did. They probably think I am dead I lost all my contacts and got sick they will always be fond memories in my past Not to mention his music always great and great stories. If he asks give him my new email please

  5. I met Dick while working for his. Condo association I did a lot of work for him we became friends and I had many a meal with him and Mary she made really good soups along with other things They invited my wife and I over one Saturday for lunch I had known them for a while but it was a first for my wife she nearly feinted. I also play guitar and we played together some. I wrote a song and played it for him and he liked it a very fine gentleman I lost track of when all my things were stolen in a hospital. A fine friend with Mary also I was sick I am sure he thinks I am dead but I did almost but am still here it would be nice to hear his voice again.

  6. Dick Foley hosted NW Afternoon in 1985 with a female co-host. We lived in Renton in the 80’s. Our 7 year old son, Ryan, was asked by his karate instructor, Kelly Jenkins, to appear with him on that program to highlight safety and self protection. Dick and his co-host were highly professional and kind. Ryan performed his karate moves and role played a scene depicting someone attempting to kidnap him. He fought him off. It was hilarious and fun. The gun safety expert, Chris Brown, died several years later while carrying a buck down a mountain he had bagged. Sadly and ironically Chris’s rifle went off and shot him in his heart. His safety was off.

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