The Dramatics formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1964, originally performing and recording as The Dynamics. When the band released their second record in 1966, the label was misprinted changing their name to The Dramatics. The group eventually ended up signed to Stax-Volt, and in 1971 they had their first big hit with Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get. The song was the title track off their first album, which also featured the hit song In The Rain. Shortly after their successful debut, the group split up into two groups - each one claiming ownership of the group's name. The two groups toured and recorded separately for years before a court finally ruled on their battle over the name. The group that lost the name then became A Dramatic Experience.
In the 1960's and 1970's southern soul singer Joe Tex was one of the predecessors of rap music, known for his style of singing while talking over background music. He was born with the name Joseph Arrington Jr., and grew up in Rogers, Texas. In 1955, at 18 years old, a talent contest won Arrington a trip to New York City. After four first place wins at the Apollo Theatre he was offered a record contract with King Records. By 1958 he was opening up for artists like Little Richard and James Brown. It had been claimed by many, including Little Richard, that Arrington's unique dance moves and microphone stand tricks were stolen by James Brown. Arrington and Brown were well known for their long-standing feuds - personal and professional. In 1972, a converted Arrington quit music and devoted himself to touring as a minister for the Nation of Islam. After a few years he returned to music, his final big hit was the novelty song Ain't Gonna Bump No More in 1977. The song was nominated for a Grammy, and a live performance was featured at the award ceremonies that year.
In 1946, the female vocal group The Chordettes was formed in Sheboygan, Wisconsin by four college friends. One of the founding members, Virginia Osborn, was the daughter of the president of the Barbershop Harmony Society. In 1949 the quartet, usually singing in a barbershop style a cappella, became regular performers on Arthur Godfrey's daily television show. In 1954 they had their first big hit with Mr Sandman, which was released on Cadence Records. The label had been founded by Godfrey's bandleader Archie Bleyer, who also married one of the singers that same year. In 1958, their next big hit Lollipop hit number two on the charts. The teen novelty song had previously been recorded by racially-mixed duo Ronald and Ruby, whose version had hit number twenty on the charts. The song was written by Beverly Ross and Julius Dixon, who wrote almost 200 songs for artists including Bill Haley & the Comets and Roy Orbison. The song had come about when a lollipop got stuck in the hair of Dixon's daughter, making him late to an important meeting with a music publisher. Ross had arrived on time, and when Dixon eventually showed up, Ross sat down at the piano and the song came about immediately. In this video for Lollipop, Andy Williams is featured as the final "pop".
The original production of Annie opened on Broadway in 1977, and it ran for a record setting six years. The musical is based on the long-running comic strip Little Orphan Annie, and it is set in New York City in 1933. The opening act features one of the plays most popular songs - Hard Knock Life. The song references the Chrysler Building which, at the period the play is set, had just lost the title of world's tallest building to The Empire State Building. On the song, the chorus is lead by Molly, the youngest orphan, played by Danielle Brisebois. Despite the huge popularity of the song, and the soundtrack, Brisebois never received any royalties - she had been paid a flat fee for performing the song in the musical. This left her feeling bitter, especially after Jay-Z sampled her vocals for his 2002 hit song Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem). At the time, it was Jay-Z's most commercially successful song, and it earned him a Grammy nomination. To clear the sample with composer Charles Strouse, Jay-Z had made up an elaborate story about seeing the play as a child, and writing a competition winning essay at his school. This clip is from the 1982 movie Annie, so it is not the recording that was sampled for Jay-Z's song.
Bill Withers was born on the 4th of July, 1938 in a small West Virginia coal-mining town. After serving nine years in the Navy, he moved to Los Angeles with hopes of getting into the music industry. He worked as an aircraft assembler, save up enough money to record demos. In 1970 Withers got his first record deal - with Booker T. Jones producing. The recording sessions would feature Stephen Stills on lead guitar. His debut album Just As I Am was recorded during 3 three-hour recording sessions, and it was released in 1971. The first single off the album - Ain't No Sunshine - won the the 35-year old a Grammy in 1972. The other single released off the album was Grandma's Hands, a song that Withers has said is his personal favorite. As a child Withers was picked on a lot because he had a stuttering problem, and his father died when he was 13-years old. Grandma Galloway, his maternal grandmother, looked after him and had a huge influence on his life. The song has been covered by many artists since, and in 1996 the song's guitar riff was sampled for the hit song No Diggity by Blackstreet and Dr Dre.
In 1984 Diana Ross had her final top 10 hit with the song Missing You, which was featured on her Swept Away album. The song was a tribute to Marvin Gaye who had died earlier that year. Gaye and Ross were very close friends, and they both joined Motown Records in 1961. They released numerous duets, including their very successful duet album Marvin and Diana. Missing You was written for Ross by Lionel Richie, who also composed and produced the song. In the music video for the song, the images expand the tribute to include Paul Williams of The Temptations and Florence Ballard of The Supremes - who had died several years earlier. In more recent years, the song has been covered and sampled many times as a tribute to various others. In 1997 Whitney Houston covered the song as a tribute to a specific list of artists - Princess Diana, Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G. and Gianni Versace. In 2010, Houston covered the song again as a tribute to Michael Jackson.
In 1979 Los Angeles-based group Dynasty released their debut album Your Piece Of The Rock, featuring their signature song I Don't Wanna Be A Freak. The band was created by Dick Griffey. who was the founder and head of Solar Records, and Leon Sylvers III - formally of the disco family group The Sylvers. In 1972, after changing their name from The Little Angels, The Sylvers released thei first of many albums. The group was made up of nine siblings, with Leon writing - and later producing - many of their hits such as Misdemeanor and Hot Line. In 1978 Leon quit the band to work as an in-house producer for Solar Records. He wrote and produced albums for Lakeside, Shalamar, The Whispers and Carrie Lucas before creating the group Dynasty - which he was a member of, in addition to writing for and producing for.
Foxy is a latin disco band that formed in 1976, it's lineup included Richie Puente - son of the late bandleader Tito Puente. The other four members of the Miami-based band had moved to Miami from Cuba in 1959. The band's biggest hit was the title track on their second album - 1978's Get Off. The song came about when the band was playing a club in California. They had gotten the crowd going with a a "ooh-wah ooh-wah" chant, and the club owner hated the chant so much he threatened to throw the band out. The song was written by lead singer/guitarist Ish Ledesma, his purpose was to get back at the club owner, and annoy him. Originally the other band member didn't want to perform the song because the knew it would cause trouble - which it did. In one incident, the annoyed club owner shut them down in the middle of the song and threw them out of the club. Foxy released two more studio albums before they broke up in 1983. After the band broke up Ledesma started the band Oxo, and in 1986 he formed the band Company B with his wife and her sister.
Starpoint is an R&B sextet that formed in 1969 in the Annapolis area in Maryland. The band was formed by four brothers and a couple of their friends, and they performed throughout the seventies as Licyndiana. When they had their first record deal in 1980 with Chocolate City Records, they changed their name to Starpoint. They recorded about an album a year through the 1980's, spawning several minor hits. In 1985 they released their seventh studio album Restless featuring their biggest hit - Object Of My Desire. When Starpoint broke up in 1989, keyboardist Marvin Ennis joined the Washington DC go-go band E.U. (Experience Unlimited). At the time, E.U. had just been number one on the charts with Da Butt.
Whodini was one of the first hip-hop groups to develop a national following, and they were one of the first to get airplay on urban radio. The trio, managed by Russell Simmons, released their self-titled debut album Whodini in 1983. The album was a crossover hit, thanks to a song that collaborated with pop star Thomas Dolby. Whodini became one of the first hip-hop acts to play stadiums when they were featured in the original Fresh Fest Tour. They were also the first hip-hop act to tour the UK and Europe, that first tour also featured UTFO as their breakdance act. By the time Whodini released their third album Back In Black in 1986, they were very busy touring with other big hip-hop acts. The album produced three singles, including the song One Love.
"If you like to lounge