Toni Cistone (lead), LaVerne Novak, and Karen Topinka were the original Poni-Tails. Unlike some other acts who scored big in rock, the trio of ladies didn't come from meager beginnings; they all were from Lyndhurst, OH (an upper-middle-class suburb of Cleveland where they expected children to graduate from high school, go to college, earn a degree, and become a professional; involvement in popular music was considered frivolous). The trio began singing at Brush High School; attorney John Jewitt introduced them to music publisher Tom Illius who got the ball rolling. Illius liked a self-penned song the high schoolers wrote, "Que la Bozena," and offered to shop it around town. A deal was secured with a local label, Point Records, with Illius acting as their manager. Point released "Your Wild Heart" with the Poni-Tails tune as the B-side. They almost charted with their first release, but Joy Layne, a Chicago singer, covered the song on Mercury Records. Layne's version zoomed to number 20 on Billboard's pop charts; her version deserved to hit, she had range and vocal dynamics that the Poni-Tails didn't possess, and she was only 15 years old. Layne was a Sandy Duncan look- and soundalike.