The Brothers Four are an American folk group founded in 1957 in Seattle, Washington. They bear a distinction as one of the longest surviving groups of the late 1950s and early 1960s folk revival, and perhaps the longest running 'accidental' music act in history.
Bob Flick, John Paine, Mike Kirkland and Dick Foley met at the University of Washington, where they were members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity in 1956 (hence the 'Brothers' appellation). Their first professional performances were the result of a prank played on them in 1958 by a rival fraternity, who had arranged for someone to call them, pretend to be from Seattle's Colony Club, and invite them to come down to audition for a concert. Even though they were not expected at the club, they were allowed to sing a few songs and were subsequently hired. Flick recalls them being paid 'mostly in beer.'
They left for San Francisco, California in 1959, where they met Mort Lewis, Dave Brubeck's manager. Lewis became their manager and later that year secured them a recording contract with Columbia Records. The group's first single, "Chicka Mucha Hi Di"/"Darlin' Won't You Wait," disappeared without a trace in late 1959.
Their second single, "Greenfields," released in January 1960, hit #2 on the Billboard U.S. pop singles chart, and their first album, Brothers Four, released toward the end of the year, made the Top 20 in the U.S. albums chart. "Greenfields" was written by Terry Gilkyson, Richard Dehr and Frank Miller in 1956, and the Brothers Four release sold over one million copies, attaining gold disc status.. Other highlights of their early career included singing their fourth single, "The Green Leaves of Summer," from the John Wayne movie The Alamo, at the 1961 Academy Awards, and having their second album, BMOC/Best Music On/Off Campus, go Top 10. They appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and The Brothers Four Song Book, released later in 1961, drew on traditional material.