Saturday, March 17, 2007
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day
Of course The O'Jays are one of the all time great vocal groups and are considered one of the staples of the Philly Soul sound of the 70s. But like The Spinners, The O'Jays aren't from Philly either. Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bill Isles & Bobby Massey formed the group while attending McKinley High School in Canton, OH in 1958. They recorded as The Mascots for King Records in 1961. One of their biggest fans was Cleveland DJ Eddie O'Jay so they were renamed The O'Jays. They bounced around various labels and producers like HB Barnum but met producers Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff at Neptune Records in 1968 and of course they are Philly Soul. Isles had left the group by then. Neptune closed in 1971 and Massey left. But that's when Gamble & Huff started Philadelphia International Records and of course The O'Jays had one of the first hits on the label with this great 1972 McFadden/Whitehead song Backstabbers featuring a great lead vocal by Eddie Levert. The O'Jays had several big hits over the next few years and they're all on this comp. William Powell died of cancer on May 26, 1977. He was replaced by Little Anthony & The Imperials veteran Sammy Strain. The O'Jays success petered out in the 80s but they continued to record occasionally. They actually got a big boost in the 90s because of the success of Eddie Levert's sons Gerald, Sean & Eddie Jr. Levert & Williams still tour today with new member Eric Grant and The O'Jays appeared in the film The Fighting Temptations. Here are The O'Jays performing Backstabbers on Soul Train 1972.