The Sunbeams were formed in Glen Cove, in Long Island, New York; this is not a place you'd normally expect an R&B group to hail from. John Cumbo was originally from Philadelphia, and relocated to Glen Cove when he was 18 (around 1947). In 1950, he started singing with some local guys. "Glen Cove was a small place; I met some singers and asked around for others." The members of the resulting group (called the "Kovaks", for "Glen Cove") were: Bobby Lee Hollis (tenor lead), Bobby Coleman (first tenor), James Davis (second tenor), John Cumbo (baritone lead), and William Edwards (bass).