Tuesday, October 11, 2011
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-R.B. Greaves
Song:Take A Letter, Maria
Album:Hard To Find 45's On CD Vol. 5: Sixties Pop Classics
Here's a song that was a top five hit in 1969 and then singer songwriter R.B. Greaves disappeared into obscurity and was never heard from again. He was born Robert Bertram Aloysius Greaves III Nov. 28, 1944 in Georgetown, Guyana. His father was stationed there in the US Air Force. Greaves is a nephew of Sam Cooke. He grew up on a Seminole reservation in Florida and moved to England in 1963. He had a group called The TNTs and he performed as Sonny Childe. He moved back to the US and his song Take A Letter, Maria was recorded by Tom Jones and Stevie Wonder. Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun convinced Greaves to record it himself on the condition that Ertegun produce it himself. So he took Greaves to Muscle Shoals, AL and Barry Beckett and the Muscle Shoals studio musicians played on the record. Take A Letter, Maria reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. I guess along with Tammy Wynette's D-I-V-O-R-C-E it's one of the great divorce songs of all time. Greaves had one more top 40 hit with his cover of Always Something There To Remind Me. He only recorded one album for Atlantic/Atco. Greaves attempted to record country music for various labels but nothing much came of it. Anthony Armstrong Jones had a top ten country hit with his cover of Take A Letter, Maria in 1970 and Doug Stone charted with his 1999 country cover. Take A Letter, Maria got a boost when it appeared in the 1994 film The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. It's also on the soundtrack CD but that CD is too disco for me. So I recommend this various artists CD from the always reliable Eric Records. You can also get the original R.B. Greaves album on Collectables. Maybe R.B. Greaves only had one hit. But the song still gets airplay so I'm sure he has made a good living from royalties. Here's R.B. Greaves performing Take A Letter, Maria on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 1969. Nice little Mission Impossible gag at the end.