During the 1960s, the Megatons emerged as a group with a Motown/Soul style hailing from New Jersey, USA. Comprising four talented musicians who were all Caucasian, and one exceptional African-American lead singer, they captured the essence of their genre.

The band consisted of bass, drums, guitar, and organ players. They enthralled audiences in various nightclubs across Jersey, amassing a devoted fan base. In 1967, three members of the group, namely Bob Ligatino on bass, Eddie Dill (aka Eddie Charles) on guitar, and Eugene Thomas as the lead singer, decided to make some personnel changes. Consequently, Mike Paladino joined as the drummer, and Joe DeJohn as the organist.

Both Mike and Joe were accomplished musicians, and they had previously enjoyed noteworthy careers as backup artists. Mike occasionally served as the personal drummer for The Four Seasons, while Joe played the keyboard during Elvis Presley’s highly anticipated Las Vegas comeback period.

With a fresh lineup of musicians, the Megatons continued their performances on the nightclub circuit. During their off days, they would rehearse in Mike Paladino’s mother’s basement in Bound Brook, NJ. Robert Paladino, Mike’s brother, frequently attended these rehearsals.

In the early to mid-60s, Robert had collaborated with doo-wop and jazz vocal groups, contributing his songwriting skills. Impressed by the Megatons, Robert took it upon himself to compose two songs specifically for them. Armed with an old, worn-out guitar with missing strings, he crafted “You Don’t Love Me” and “Where Were You.” When he sang these songs for the group, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Eager to support the Megatons, Robert offered to produce and record both tracks, mentioning a newly opened studio nearby in Bound Brook. The group readily agreed.

Robert composed the musical intros for the songs and collaborated with Joe on chord structure and key transpositions. Meanwhile, Eugene took charge of creating and delivering the lead vocals, while the rest of the group arranged and played the foundational tracks. To enhance the recordings, they enlisted the talents of two female and three male local vocalists as background singers.

The studio itself was situated within the walls of the old “Lyric Movie Theatre.” Although it only featured two tracks, the Bound Brook Studio, known as Venture Sound, had a knack for producing recordings with a distinctive sound. This was attributable to the expertise and credentials of the studio’s two partners. Anthony Bongiovi, who happened to be Jon Bon Jovi’s uncle, served as the engineer, while Tony Camillo took charge of musical arrangement and orchestration. What made the studio’s sound even more unique was the fact that its echo chamber resided in the former men’s room of the theatre, several feet below ground level. Thanks to the natural echo and acoustics of this unconventional setup, Robert was confident in the studio’s ability to bring their vision to life. Little did they know that the studio partners would soon become instrumental in shaping their futures, adding a touch of magic to their journey.

By late 1967, the recording dates had been scheduled. They decided to lay down the basic music tracks first, including the acoustic guitar intros and accompaniment. A demo was recorded to allow the lead and background singers to practice. They returned to the studio to capture the vocals once this crucial preparation was complete. With the vocal recordings finalized, Tony Camillo was enlisted to arrange and add strings to both tracks.

Tony Camillo, a classically trained musician, arranger, and conductor, had previously focused primarily on the Big Band style of music and had played bass in small combos. In the early ’60s, he had declared that he would never play rock-and-roll since it didn’t align with his musical style. However, a few years later, he found himself arranging and conducting for a Motown-style soul record. It just goes to show how people and circumstances can prompt a change of heart.

Under Tony’s guidance, the strings and horns were skill fully integrated into the recordings. Anthony Bongiovi, using the limited two-track system, seamlessly moved from track to track, ensuring minimal sound loss. The final mix was completed the following week, culminating in the creation of a Master Tape.

At last, they had a finished product in their hands. Robert’s next goal was to find a label that would express interest in releasing the songs as a 45 record, providing the necessary support for its success.

It didn’t take long for feedback and offers to pour in. While shopping the record around in New York City, they caught the attention of Alvin Cash, famous for “Twine Time,” who expressed a desire to purchase the rights to the record outright and then re-record it with another artist. However, this offer, along with subsequent proposals, such as one from the manager of Jay and the Techniques, known for “Apples, Peaches, and Pumpkin Pie,” was turned down.

Eventually, an up-and-coming label from Long Island called “Sandbag Records” presented an offer that aligned with their requirements. The two owners of Sandbag Records proposed releasing the record as a 45 within a specific timeframe, and they promised to promote the group through Record Hops and appearances on TV and radio. However, they weren’t particularly fond of the name “The Megatons.” Thus, they asked the group to come up with a new name. Bob Ligatino and his wife brainstormed and ultimately suggested “The Epitome of Sound,” which became their new identity.