Friday, June 05, 2009

Jango Song Of The Day-The Box Tops

Artist:The Box Tops
Song:The Letter
Album:The Best Of The Box Tops: Soul Deep

The blue eyed soul group The Box Tops weren't around long but they had a number one hit in 1967 with The Letter and were the launching pad for the distinguished career of group leader Alex Chilton. He was born Dec. 28, 1950 in Memphis. His dad was a jazz musician. A high school talent show performance in 1966 led to Chilton joining a group called The Devilles. They changed their name to The Box Tops to avoid confusion with another group and the other members were Gary Talley on lead guitar, Bill Cunningham on bass, John Evans on keyboards and Danny Smythe on drums. Muscle Shoals producers Chips Moman & Dan Penn were looking for a blue eyed soul group and they had a production deal with Bell Records. The first single was The Letter and it rocketed to number one in 1967. It was Billboard's number one single of the year. The song was written by Wayne Carson Thompson. He is best known for writing Always On My Mind. Evans & Smythe returned to school in 1968 and were replaced by Rick Allen of The Gentrys and Thomas Boggs. The Box Tops had another hit with Cry Like A Baby. But Penn's insistance on using studio musicians and reluctance to use Chilton's songs eventually killed The Box Tops in early 1970. This Arista comp has all their hits. Of course Alex Chilton would go on to form Big Star, one of the best and most underrated pop groups in history. Chilton has reunited The Box Tops occasionally and still leads Big Star today. Here's The Box Tops performing The Letter 1967.

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