“Ric Mango has been performing in Long Beach for decades, and he’s consistently our most popular act,” said Tepper. “He loves Long Beach — he has a real connection with the people here — and I couldn’t think of anybody that would be more appropriate to kick off this summer concert series.”
Mango said that he got his start singing when he was just three-years-old. His uncle would take him from bar to bar in Brooklyn, and he would sing for the patrons. He gained entrance into performing arts school by winning a singing contest, and by 14, he had inked his first record deal.
In 1962, when Mango was 15, he joined the rock ‘n’ roll group Jay and the Americans, and his career took off. The band was popular in the ‘60s, and was known for hits like “She Cried,” and “Come a Little Bit Closer.” Mango said they even opened for the Beatles when they came to the U.S. Even though he had solo projects as well, he continued to perform with the group for decades.
“There was a time when I could say, ‘you don’t know me, but you mother loved me,’” said Mango. “Now it’s, ‘you don’t know me, but your grandmother loved me.”
After 57 years, Mango said he decided to retire from performing due to health problems. But he gladly came out of retirement for Long Beach.
“It’s been a great life and a great run,” said Mango. “But everyone has to know when their time is up.”