"The Magnificent Seven" lit up the silver screen in 1960. The panoramic Western starred Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen as leaders of a posse of hired gunmen protecting a Mexican village from banditos.
Less than 10 years later, seven Syracuse rock musicians decided to use the movie's title as the name of their new combo.
The Magnificent Seven became one of the most popular bands in CNY.
The septet, which deftly blended rock, funk, jazz and psychedelic sounds, featured Chuck Wheeler, Chuck Sgroi, Al Ruscito, Frank Sgroi, Tony Licamele, Nicky Russo and Chuck Mellone. As the Hammond B3 player, Mellone's music drove the hot-wired band.
Chuck Mellone died April 7, in Malibu, Calif. He was 68.
Drummer Nick Russo predeceased his former bandmate here on Oct. 1, 2010. He was 69.
Tossed from Twisters
In 1958, Mellone - who played accordion at the time - and his guitarist friend Sam Amato formed a band called The Twisters.
"I talked Chuck Mellone into investing money into a unit called an accorgan," Amato once recalled. "It was an accordion but when you played it, it sounded like an organ."
When Mellone balked at playing the accorgan rather than his usual axe, Amato ended their relationship and changed the band's name to Sam & The Twisters.
Coincidentally, Amato died Feb. 17, in Florida, at age 69.
While Amato's combo went on to make Syracuse rock'n'roll history, Mellone did as well. He played keyboards with Don Barber and the Dukes before joining the Magnificent Seven, which soon morphed into The Seven.
'Tell Her No'
The Seven truly was magnificent. Their wall of sound could knock over a semi-truck, and their vocals rang out clearly, pitch-perfect and carefully harmonized. At clubs like Hewitt's and The Brookside and at countless scholastic dances, they dished out rockin' versions of songs like The Zombies' 1965 hit "Tell Her No,"