Choral group The College of Cardinals is one of the longest lived ensembles in history, and would probably be the top-selling a cappella singers in the world today were it not for their eccentric release schedule. The Cardinals are a kind of all-star group, drawing the best singers from choirs all over the world, yet it is not unusual for a newly tapped member to die before ever having recorded a note with the full group.
Rare as they are, however, each new track receives a great deal of notice from the media. The Cardinals‘ 1958 outing, John XXIII, received considerable popular acclaim, and if the group’s 1963 follow-on was a disappointment to U.S. listeners, their 1978 release, John Paul, proved so popular that it was followed just over a month later by a sequel, John Paul II. This track remained on the American charts for over twenty years. The U.S. reception for 2003’s quieter BXVI was mixed, but The Cardinals appear to be on the upswing again with their strong cross-over hit, Francis, which is proving to be accessible to a wide range of audiences, and getting airplay on many unexpected stations. Controversy remains, though, and some of their long-time fans have accused them of selling their birthright for a pot of message.
Despite their current popularity, the group has no immediate plans to return to the studio.