The Brothers Four are an American folk group founded in 1957 in Seattle, Washington. Bob Flick, John Paine, Mike Kirkland, and Dick Foley met at the University of Washington, where they were members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity in 1956 (hence the "Brothers" appellation). Their first professional performances were the result of a prank played on them in 1958 by a rival fraternity, who had arranged for someone to call them, pretend to be from Seattle's Colony Club, and invite them to come down to audition for a gig. Even though they were not expected at the club, they were allowed to sing a few songs anyway, and were subsequently hired. Flick recalls them being paid "mostly in beer."
They left for San Francisco in 1959, where they met Mort Lewis, Dave Brubeck's manager. Lewis became their manager and later that year secured them a contract with Columbia Records. Their second single, "Greenfields," released in January 1960, hit #2 on the pop charts, and their first album, Brothers Four, released toward the end of the year, made the top 20. Other highlights of their early career included singing their fourth single, "The Green Leaves of Summer," from the John Wayne movie The Alamo, at the 1961 Academy Awards, and having their second album, BMOC/Best Music On/Off Campus, go top 10. They also recorded the theme song for the ABC television series Hootenanny, "Hootenanny Saturday Night," in 1963.