The Jaywalkers were one of the first rock and roll bands from Asbury Park, New Jersey and forerunners of theJersey Shore sound. Started by high school classmates in Manasquan, New Jersey in 1958, the band became one of the local scene’s most popular acts during the 1960s, with hits including “My Bonnie” (later covered by the Beatles), “Summer’s Coming,” “Wild Surfer’s Call,” “Love at First Sight,” “Ebb Tide,” and “Can’t Live With You, Can’t Live Without You.” As a top 40 band doing all the American soul and R&B, "[t]here was no other band that attracted as many people and no other as well played," according to Jaywalkers guitarist Billy Ryan.
The founding members of the Jaywalkers were John Shaw (drums), Jim “Jack Valentine” Cattanach (guitar and vocals), John “Cos” Consoli (saxophone and vocals), and Bob Carlson (bass). This original lineup of the Jaywalkers was formed from “Jack Valentine” Cattanach’s initial band the Four Teens, who played at sock hops and canteens at the Jersey shore during high school, and a subsequent band the Tokays. Other members of these earlier bands who would later join the Jaywalkers included Richard “Fletcher Henderson” Hetherton (guitar and vocals), Larry “The Great” Gadsby (saxophone and vocals), and Larry Bonafide (guitar). When the Jaywalkers played their first major gig at the Rainbow Room in Asbury Park’s Albion Hotel in 1961, the band added Buzzy Lubinsky (drums) and Bonafide to the lineup. Other members during the band’s ten-year run included Mickey Holiday (vocals and bass), who replaced Bob Carlson and sang lead vocals on “My Bonnie” and several other hits, along with Ryan (guitar), Ray Dahrouge (keyboard and songwriter), Billy “Cherry Bomb” Lucia (saxophone and vocals), Alan Gordon (organ), Steve “Mole” Wells (bass), Mike Moses (guitar, bass, and vocals), Donnie Lubitz (keyboard), Gary Arntz (guitar), Jay Pilling (keyboard), and David Heth (keyboard). The Jaywalkers would also include future E Street Band members Garry Tallent (bass), Steven Van Zandt (guitar), and David Sancious (keyboard), whose Belmar address gave the E Street Band its name. Leon Trent (vocals) and Nicky Addeo (vocals) also occasionally sat in with the band.
The rock critic Dave Marsh has observed that the "isolation of the Jersey Shore, where there was nothing to live up to, was also an advantage" for the young Bruce Springsteen, who was able to "[a]bsorb...styles and influences that were too quickly forgotten in the music industry centers" and become "not so much a human jukebox as a human synthesizer, with an enormous repertoire of songs, influences, bits and pieces picked up from almost anything on the radio." At the time a teenage Springsteen joined the Castiles in 1965, "[r]ock 'n' roll ruled," in the words of journalist Anders Mårtensson, and the Jaywalkers were "by far the most popular cover band in and around Asbury Park, and certainly the biggest thing to hit the clubs along the Jersey Shore."
The Jaywalkers were a mainstay at the top Asbury Park clubs of the 1960s such as Arthur Paul’s, the Candy Cane Lounge, Mrs. Jay’s , Steve Brody’s, and Big Bill’s on Springwood Avenue, where they were the rare all-white band playing in the historically African American west side of Asbury Park, as well as other shore bars such as Tony Marts in Somers Point and Dudley’s By the Sea and Groh’s in Belmar. In 1964, the Jaywalkers performed at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City, with members of other bands including Felix Cavaliere ofthe Rascals sitting in on organ.
In 1965, “Jack Valentine” Cattanach, Cos Consoli, and Mole Wells left the Jaywalkers to form the Spot Lights, featuring Nick Addeo as lead singer and Vinnie DeRoma on drums. In May 1968, keyboard player David Heth, then 22, was killed in an auto accident while driving from Belmar to a show at Upstage in Asbury Park. According to Ryan, the band, and their record contract, died with him. The band Moses, featuring Mike Moses, Shaw, Consoli, and Ryan, had a hit with “Take This Load Off My Back” in 1970.
The names of Shaw, Cattanach, Gadsby, Consoli, Ryan, Holiday, Lucia, Pilling, Arntz, Wells, Dahrouge, and Lubinsky, along with Tallent, Van Zandt, Sancious, Addeo, and Trent, are included among the “Creators of S.O.A.P.” honored for their role in creating the Sound of Asbury Park by a plaque on the boardwalk outside of Convention Hall dedicated on December 9, 2006.