The group originated in Ozone Park, Queens in 1957 when they were teenagers. The original members were Nick Santamaria (aka Nick Santo, lead), Mike Mincelli (first tenor), Frank Reina (second tenor), Vinnie Naccarato (d. 26 December2008) (baritone), and John Cassese (bass). They were all around 15 years of age at the time and still in school. Vinnie, Mike, and John all went to John Adams High School, while Nick was a student at Woodrow Wilson and Frank attended Franklin K. Lane. Mike Mincelli, started the group and recruited the members. In the spring/summer of 1958 the final member was recruited and really got things together. They originally called themselves "the Supremes" but soon changed to "The Capris". It is often thought their name came from the island of Capri, since the boys were all Italian, but Nick confirmed in a 1993 interview with Greg Milewski, that they named themselves after the 1950s Lincoln Capri.
By 1958 the group had started gaining experience and popularity by performing at local venues, school dances and churches. They attracted the attention of independent record producers. Soon they would record their first single.