Written by Administrator
Friday, 16 May 2014 21:33
Cubie Burke passed away
Wednesday May, 14, 2014. He was 49. Cubie was a member of the First Family of
Soul, known as the 5 Stairsteps & Cubie. He was a professional dancer, singer,
song writer, actor, Choreographer and teacher at QBiquity Productions.
5 Stairsteps & Cubie were made up of Alohe (Rami), Clarence Jr., James, Dennis, Kenneth (Keni), and Cubie. Cubie Burke’s debut in show
business occurred at 16 months old with the Five Stairsteps at Chicago’s Regal Theater. He would appear on stage in the
early days with his siblings the Five Stairsteps dancing and performing with
them. Besides the Stairsteps, Cubie also
performed with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Prince. Cubie also spoke
French, German and Spanish and some Italian.
In a 2011 interview that I had with Cubie and his brother Clarence
Burke Jr., they had reminisced about a gig when Clarence was supposed to bring
Cubie out on stage. Clarence Jr. had said that the place went wild when Cubie
came out and it was total mayhem. He
said “it was a riot.” The fans started jumping on stage and they picked up the
entire Burke group including Cubie. The out of control fans put them on their
shoulders and started jumping around and singing. Clarence had said “Everybody loved
Cubie, they went crazy over Cubie.”[i]
Cubie mentioned that he had recently compiled a list of
people who had been influential in his life. One was Clarence and as he had
gotten older, he said that he really appreciated his presence. “Clarence has been
a leader for me; he was not only a great guy, but a great pioneer in music.”
Clarence responded “Now, I look to you, my youngest brother. It goes back
around. I look at Cubie as one of the greats, what I have seen out there. There
are a lot of bad people out there. I include my brother of what I know of him,
his abilities… he is definitely one of them for sure. If he wasn’t my brother,
I would say that’s a bad dude; his name is Cubie! He’s awesome. He did this all
on his own without the Stairsteps”. Cubie further stated “I am not just a dancer; I am
a classical dancer, which makes me a classical artist. Growing up with artists,
I could not appreciate the work of other people. I watched my brothers and my
sister; The Stairsteps on YouTube recently as they danced and came up to the
microphone one after the other. My brothers and my sister were artists, they
were working hard and were not trying to out due each other, they were performers.
I really appreciated what it was to be a Stairstep.” Also, during the interview
Cubie gave homage to the person that he said mentored him. It was song writer and
producer Clyde Otis “.[ii]
Cubie Burke first appears on record on the 1967 album Jimmy Bishop – On Stage Live At The Nixon Theater performing
with the Stairsteps. The group performed Don't
Waste Your Time and Something’s
Missing. His photograph appeared with the group on the 1968 Buddah LP Our Family Portrait by The 5 Stairsteps
& Cubie. The album included the track which included a 3 year old Cubie titled
New Dance Craze. It would be released as the B side of their
first Curtom single titled Don't Change
Your Love. Curtis Mayfield produced their next album in 1968/1969 titled Love's Happening. The New Dance Craze was also included on
this album. The 5 Stairsteps & Cubie released a total of five singles on
Curtom Records. Cubie’s voice also
appeared on the 1970 Buddah LP called Stairsteps
by the Five Stairsteps on the track Vice
The Lights. Cubie would appear with
the Five Stairsteps on a variety of television shows like The Merv Griffin Show
in 1968 and The Barbara McNair Show in 1971.
Cubie Burke grew up in Englewood NJ, graduating from high
school there. At the age of 15 he was invited by a friend named Shelly to try dance
lessons and then enrolled in classes. He
began working with a few local choirs and that association led to an audition
with the Dance Theater of Harlem. He received
a full scholarship to the Dance Theater of Harlem at the age of 16. Cubie began
dancing with the Dance Theater of Harlem professionally at the age of 17. He is
quoted as saying “What I liked about ballet that interested me was that it was
so detailed. I was interested in that. They wanted me to take tap classes. I
didn’t take the classes, but I wish that had I had now.” He also was a professional
dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem,
with Complexions — A Concept in Dance and the Atlanta Ballet. He was the only
African American lead dancer that the Atlanta Ballet
has ever had.[iii]
He appeared as a dancer and Interviewee in the 2008 film Wolf Trap's Face of America. He also is a contributor to the 1999
film Choreography by Esaias Johnson,
a 2000 film titled Tributary which
included the New York City Ballet and the Dance Theater of Harlem, and is a
performer in the 1997 film Dance Esaias :
Esaias Johnson, choreographer.
He performed at the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer
Olympics and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona
Spain. He also performed for Prince’s company Paisley Park studios.
He also was the choreographer for the 1997
Soul Train Music Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles,
California on March 8, 1997. He choreographed the opening number for the Isley
Brothers. In addition to that Cubie choreographed
routines for the Atlanta Hawks organization.
Cubie’s solo recording debut occurred in 1982 with the release
of the single Down for Double on the
Rissa Chrissa label. A full album was never recorded, because of the breakup of
the record company. Cubie then returned his energy back to dance. He was also a
songwriter and the names of the compositions are Fix Me, which is about anything about ourselves that we would want
to be fixed, Beautiful Holy; which is
about God, who is holy, Every Now and
Then; which is a break up song, No
Turning Back; which is a song about not giving up, Together Again; which is dedicated to the families of the U.S. troops plus Magenta and Mother of Love
also originals. All of these songs are unreleased and were copy written in
2011. The recordings made their debut on The Funk Show in January 2012. Cubie
also recorded a song with the Invisible Mans Band that has never released.
As an actor Cubie appeared in an episode of Unsolved
Mysteries: Season 9, Episode 20; called Unexplained Death: Tupac Shakur (aired
14 Mar. 1997). His character had been an eyewitness to the murder of
Tupac Shakur. The hit by of Tupac Shakur titled Keep Ya Head Up was a cover of Ooh
Child by the Five Stairsteps. Cubie was also founder of his production
company in 1997 called QBiquity Productions.
Cubie Burke is survived by his daughter Decoda Kareem, granddaughter
Aaliyah Kareem, his mother Betty Burke, father Clarence Burke, siblings Rami
(Alohe Burke), James Burke, Dennis Burke, Kenneth Burke plus other family
members, friends and fans.
Interview of Cubie Burke and Clarence Burke Jr. by Howard Burchette, January
10, 2011; production studio of 90.7 WNCU FM, North Carolina Central University,
Interview of Cubie Burke and Clarence Burke Jr. by Howard Burchette, January
10, 2011; production studio of 90.7 WNCU FM, North Carolina Central University,
Telephone Interview with Cubie Burke by Howard Burchette, August 3, 2011;
production studio of 90.7 WNCU FM, North Carolina Central University, Durham,
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:18
Soul Serenade – The Story of King Curtis
Written by Administrator
Thursday, 13 March 2014 13:38
On August 13,
1971 Curtis Ousley, had hosted a get together at his newly renovated Manhattan eight-family
brownstone and had gone outside to turn down the air conditioning for his
guests. He stopped and asked a drug addict that had been loitering on the steps
of his building to move. A fight ensued between the two, resulting in Curtis
getting stabbed in the heart. He was
pronounced dead before the ambulance reach the hospital. Ousley was only 37 years old, ending a music career which began in the 1950s. He was known to the
world as King Curtis. He had been an
important figure in the careers of Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, John Lennon, The
Coasters, The Shirelles, Buddy Holly, Bernard Purdie, Billy Preston, Cornell Dupree,
Joe South, Shirley Scott, The Rascals, Champion Jack Dupree, Esther Phillips,
and many others.
King Curtis was born in Fort Worth, TX
on February 7, 1934. He was a saxophonist, a band leader, a song writer and
producer. His range of music spanned from Jazz, to R&B, to Rock to Blues. He
could play and master it all. He began playing the saxophone at the age of 12
and went to school with Ornette Coleman who himself would later become a Jazz
great in the music business. Upon graduation from high school, he would turn
down a college scholarship to join the Lionel Hampton Big band where he began
to write and arrange music. By 1952, he moved to New York City and became a studio musician
recording for a variety of labels. One of his early sessions was on the 1958
Atlantic recording of Ruth Brown’s This
Little Girl's Gone Rockin', and the 1959 RCA recording session of the Jazz
Pop group called The Three Suns. The earliest recording that featured King
Curtis as a solo artist was a 1958 four track EP and picture sleeve released by
RCA titled King Curtis, Count Hastings,
Leroy Kirkland's Hi-Flyers, Leroy Kirkland – The Battle For The Beat. His screaming saxophone
solo is famous as it was used in the 1959 Coasters classic titled: Yakety Yak. Quickly King Curtis was recognized as an artist that could sell records and
his first album was released by Atco in 1959 titled: Have Tenor Sax, Will Blow. Other recordings would follow like the 1960
release on ABC-Paramount titled: Beatnik
Hoedown / King Neptune's Guitar. In
1960 three classic Jazz albums were released with King Curtis as a front man on the Esquire, Prestige and New Jazz
record labels. The titles were Soul
Meeting (with Nat Adderley and Wynton Kelly), The New Scene Of King Curtis and Soul Battle (featuring Oliver Nelson, King Curtis, Jimmy Forrest). During
this period he toured as the King Curtis
releases are masterful and superb, but King Curtis was much in demand for
R&B and Rock and Roll and the record companies continued to record him
under these genres selling a lot of material. Tru-Sound which was a Jazz and
Blues label would release an album in 1961 featuring King Curtis playing older
Rhythm and Blues and Jazz standards in an early rock and roll style titled Old Gold. Three more would follow
in 1962 titled: It's Party Time With King
Curtis, Doing The Dixie Twist and a classic
Blues album called Trouble In Mind.
In 1962 Scepter Records which released material by Dionne Warwick, B.J. Thomas
released a cult classic album titled: Give
A Twist Party featuring the Shirelles and King Curtis. This effort was the early Rock and Roll sound.
release in 1961 the King Curtis Combo
– Arthur Murray's Music For Dancing The
Twist! This contained an easy listening pop sound. His first major hit
occurred in 1962 on Enjoy Records with the release of Soul Twist. That was followed by an album titled: Soul Twist With King Curtis under the name
King Curtis And The Noble Knights.
of King Curtis would increase with
his association under Capitol Records beginning in 1962 with Country Soul, but he became a household
name with his 1964 release Soul Serenade.
The title track from the album would become his signature piece throughout his
career. Capitol would follow-up with a 1965 album titled Plays The Hits Made Famous By Sam Cooke.
The big move
for King Curtis was in 1966 with his collaboration with Atlantic Records for their Atco label. At Atlantic,
he not only would record the majority of his more popular albums and singles
but he also became a much in demand producer and leader. Atco first released That Lovin' Feeling
followed by the great Live At Small's
Paradise. In 1967 the Plays The Great
Memphis Hits album was released. They record company would release a single
by King Curtis that would become his
second signature piece called Memphis
Soul Stew. It was probably his most popular single recording of his career.
In 1968 the Sweet Soul album was
released with a rerecording of Soul
Serenade. Atlantic / Atco also had begun
using him on their recordings for Aretha Franklin, Eddie Harris, Herbie Mann,
The Rascals, Bonnie & Delaney Bramlett, Donny Hathaway, Esther Phillips and
others. Probably the most famous King
Curtis solo was on the 1967 Aretha Franklin classic Respect. One great album that has been overlooked is the 1969 Jazz
Soul album Shirley Scott & The Soul
Saxes featuring Hank Crawford, David Newman and King Curtis.
He would begin
using his new band about the time when he was at Atco called the King-Pins, who were some of the best of
the best musicians of the day. Atco continued riding the success and popularity
of King Curtis with Instant Groove in 1969, Get Ready in 1970 and finally the
classic Live At Fillmore West in 1971.
This recording occurred March 5–7, 1971 at the Fillmore West venue in San
Francisco. For this date, he hired a special lineup for the King-Pins who were:
Cornell Dupree, Jerry Jemmot, Pancho Morales, Billy Preston, Bernard Purdie,
and Truman Thomas. They were accompanied by the The Memphis Horns of the Stax
Records fame. This album was a recording of the King Curtis performance which was the opening act for Aretha
Franklin. King Curtis and the King-Pins
backed her up during her show. Atlantic would release highlights of it on an
album titled: Aretha Franklin - Live at
Fillmore West. He had been Franklin’s musical director. One week after the
release of the highly successful King
Curtis - Live At Fillmore West, he
After his death Atlantic continued to release material by this
great man like the 1972 album Everbody's
Talkin' and the 1973 live album King
Curtis & Champion Jack Dupree - Blues At Montreux. RCA Records would release a masterful live
recording of a Sam Cooke concert with King Curtis as the band leader called Sam Cooke – One Night Stand! At The Harlem
Square Club. There are many more singles and recordings with the great King Curtis that I have not mentioned
within this article and I am sure that newly unreleased recordings will pop up
in the future. The newly syndicated TV show “Soul Train” choose the King Curtis recording Hot Potatoes as its first theme song in
1971. Perhaps, this was a way of remembering him by Don Cornelius. His only
Grammy award occurred in 1970 for the Best R&B Instrumental Performance for
Games People Play by Joe South.
Music fans all over the world were robbed on August 13, 1971
when the great King Curtis was killed. Whenever
you hear the phrase or title Soul
Serenade or Memphis Soul Stew a
picture of King Curtis comes up in
ones mind. Surely, he would have
contributed much more to the world had he lived.
For a sampling of some of the music of King Curtis, copy and paste the link below into your browser:
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 February 2015 21:06
A Stairstep Story: Remembering Clarence Burke, Jr.
Written by Administrator
Thursday, 20 June 2013 17:59
A Stairstep Story:
Remembering Clarence Burke, Jr.
(The Invisible Man)
Clarence Newton Burke Jr. (25th May 1949 -
26th May 2013) of the family act The
Five Stairsteps, known as the First
Family of Soul was the brain child, the main songwriter, choreographer,
musician, guitarist, and lead singer. The group consisted of four brothers and
one sister, with Clarence Jr, Alohe
Jean, James, Dennis, Kenneth "Keni", and Cubie.
The group first began performing after Mrs. Betty Burke organized her children
for a talent fundraising show in benefit for the school library. They won first
prize which led to other local talent shows with the Five Stairsteps winning first prize for every show. The group
apparently also won first prize during amateur night at the Regal Theater just
prior to their recording duet. Mr.
Clarence Burke Sr. had known Fred
Cash of the Impressions and he
convinced Fred to come to their house where his kids auditioned for him. Fred
was convinced that the children had talent and were marketable and set up a
telephone audition for Curtis Mayfield.
The result was a recording contact with Mayfield’s new record company called
Windy C Records. In 1966 they released Don't
Waste Your Time / You Waited Too Long which reached No. 16 on the Billboard
R&B chart in 1966. This was followed by World
of Fantasy / Playgirl's Love then the Come
Back / You Don't Love Me. An LP quickly followed up in 1967 on Windy C
produced by Curtis Mayfield. All of the songs on the album were written by Curtis Mayfield, Clarence Burke Jr,
Clarence Burke Sr. and Gregory Fowler.
Stage presence was taught to Clarence Jr. by Clarence Sr. in the beginning. In
1967 the group now billed as the Five
Stairsteps & Cubie released Something's
Missing which went up to No. 17 on the billboard charts. Windy C released a
total of seven singles between 1966 and 1967 with heavy marketing for the Five Stairsteps. The singles Ain't Gonna Rest (Till I Get You), You Can't
See, and Change Of Pace were not
included on the freshmen album. In 1967 the album Jimmy Bishop On Stage Live At The Nixon Theater was released featuring Billy Stewart, The Delfonics, the Ambassadors, The Intruders and The Five Stairsteps and Cubie. The Stairsteps were recorded live performing Somethings Missing and Don't Waist Your Time plus dialogue.
This was followed-up by an album in 1968 on Buddah
Records produced by a 17 year old Clarence
Burke Jr. assisted by the jazz great Johnny
Pate called Our Family Portrait.
The LP featured each one of the Five
Stairsteps & Cubie including Mamma and Papa Stairstep. Lead singer
Clarence Jr. shared the spotlight with Kenneth who sang lead on A Million To One, James III who sang
lead on You Make Me So Mad, Alohe Jean
who sang lead on The Look of Love,
Cubie who sang lead on The New Dance
Craze and Mama and Papa Stairstep who sang lead on Windows of the World/I Remember You. Our Family Portrait was a total family affair. Buddah would release
three singles between 1967 and 1968 with The
Shadow of Your Love being the last, which was not included on the album.
Finally the record company released a variety album in 1968 featuring the Five Stairsteps & Cubie called Classmates highlighting similar acts
like Judy White, Henry Lumpkin, Tony
Lamarr, and Timothy Wilson.
The following year saw a different direction for the
Five Stairsteps & Cubie with an
album release on Curtom Records again produced by Curtis Mayfield. Their first release was Don’t Change Your Love which became a signature song for the group.
Curtom released two 45 singles in 1968 titled Don't Change Your Love / New Dance Craze and Stay Close To Me / I Made A Mistake. A full album followed in 1969
called Loves Happening. Several of
the selections were covers of the
Impressions compositions like Loves
Happening, Madam Mary, Stay Close To Me, and Little Young Lover. The
Five Stairsteps and The Impressions
had a bond. Curtis Mayfield referred
to the Burke children as his babies. The Loves
Happening album was written mostly by Curtis
Mayfield and it did not include any Clarence
Burke Jr. Compositions. The 1969 year was also a milestone for the Five Stairsteps, as they were featured
in a concert and film called “It’s Your Thing”.
This was an Isley Brothers concert
movie recorded live at Yankee Stadium. Clarence Jr. and the Five Stairsteps performed on the show
backed up by the Midnight Movers
Unlimited. Other acts were Judy
White, the Sweet Cherries, the Brooklyn Bridge, Patti Austin, the Young Gents,
Ike & Tine Turner, the Winstons, Moms Mabley, the Carla Ward Singers, and
others. The Five Stairsteps became a
major force in the world of R&B. The final Curtom release in 1969 was We Must Be In Love that included duets
from Clarence Jr, and Kenneth Burke. Two of the Curtom singles featured Kenneth
Burke on lead vocals instead of Clarence which were Stay Close To Me and Baby
Make Me Feel So Good. The last Curtom single Madame Mary was not included on the album which featured the lead
vocals of Clarence Jr.
The year 1970 would be a milestone for the Five Stairsteps after the release of "O-o-h Child" written by Stan
Vincent. This signature song reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100
chart, while peaking at number fourteen on the R&B charts. The flip-side of Ooh Child was Dear Prudence which was also played on popular radio. Buddah
Records would then release Who Do You
Belong To and Because I Love You
on several 45 releases. The self-titled album called Stairsteps was a combination of songs written by Clarence Burke Jr, Stan Vincent, John
Lennon and Paul McCartney. It
featured Clarence Burke on guitar, Kenneth Burke on bass and Bernard Purdy on drums. The album is a
masterpiece and the year 1970 through 1971 was a metamorphosis for the Five
Stairsteps. The Clarence Burke Jr.
composition Vice The Lights was a
total funk and psychedelic delivery and is a Stairsteps classic. The group would open up their stage show in 1970 with
Because I Love You
which was a psychedelic soul ballad composed by Clarence Burke, Jr.
Standing was released in 1970 by the Five Stairsteps which was a hard rock record. This was a cover of
the Steppenwolf classic Monster. That year the group
incorporated a funk and black rock psychedelic sound into their stage act. They
would open up their show with a cover of Jimi
Hendrix Purple Haze and Music Lover from Sly & the Family Stone. Their own composition Don't Change Your Love became a psychedelic production blended with slick
choreography. Drummer Jerome Brailey
from Richmond Virginia joined the act in 1970. His photo
was included on the 1971 The Stairsteps
album cover with the group. He would leave the group to join the Chambers Brothers and then eventually Parliament-Funkadelic. The 1971
The Stairsteps album was also produced by Stan
Vincent containing compositions from Clarence
Burke Jr, Stan Vincent and George
Harrison. The lead vocals on the album were performed by Clarence, Alohe and
Kenneth. Buddah Records would release Didn't
It Look So Easy, I Love You – Stop, and Hush
Child between 1971 and 1972. During
this time Alohe Jean (Rami) Burke
retired from the group and served her country in the United States military. Upon completing
her service she enrolled in college and furthered her education completing her
bachelors and masters degrees in the sciences. A final Buddah single was
released in 1972 that would not be included on an album called Every Single Way / Two Weeks Notice,
returning back to a sweeter softer soulful sound much like that of 1967.
would not appear again in recorded music until 1976 with the invitation of Billy Preston to appear on the Quincy Jones album called I Heard That!!. He and his brother Kenneth
"Keni" recorded the chorus on the recording Superstition as the Stairsteps. They were joined by Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Billy Preston
and the Brothers Johnson on the
tune. That was also the year of the Stairsteps
reunion resulting in the album 2nd
Resurrection produced by Billy
Preston and the Burke brothers. The lead vocals and instrumental solos were
performed by the Burke brothers of Clarence Jr, James, Kenneth and Dennis. The songwriting was done by the Burke
brothers as well and Dark Horse Records owned by George Harrison released the album. It has become a masterpiece.
The following year Kenneth Burke
released his debut solo album Keni Burke
also on Dark Horse. Clarence Jr. would appear again in 1978 as a guitarist on
the Herbie Mann Super Mann album. The following year in 1979 he appeared again as a
guitarist on the debut album for the R&B act Touch Of Class. Clarence one told me that the group Touch of Class substituted for his
brothers as the Stairsteps shortly before the group finally retired. That year
Dodson who had been a singer with Leroy Burgess (Black Ivory)
and Patrick Adams released her solo
album Night Rider, and Clarence Jr.
appeared on it as a background vocalist.
The year 1979 also became a milestone for Clarence Burke Jr. with his second
reunion of his brothers under the project named The Invisible Man's Band. The first single All Night Thing written
by Clarence Burke became a club hit
and was played heavily on FM radio. The first album The Invisible Man's Band was released in 1980 featuring Clarence Burke Jr, James Burke, Kenneth
(Keni) Burke and Dennis Burke.
The follow-up album Really Wanna See You
was released in 1981. The last release by The
Invisible Man's Band was a 1982 12 inch single called Sunday Afternoon, which
was the only completed recording
from an unfinished album. The Invisible
Man's Band would never tour.
In 2001 he appeared in the chorus of the US progressive
metal band Dream Theater’s on its
recording called Metropolis Pt. 2:
Scenes From A Memory. Lately, the fans of Clarence Burke Jr. have enjoyed seeing him perform as a solo artist
and with others acts. His performance at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar in
NYC was well received with him performing his own compositions as well as Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield. The last release by Clarence Burke Jr. was a digital download of a live recording of “Somebody’s Watching You”. He would appear on The Funk Show twice and
we were planning for a third interview. Clarence
N. Burke Jr. was the invisible man and will be missed by all for a long
time to come.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:21
Two Silent Microphones from the Fraternity of Soul!
Written by Administrator
Saturday, 23 March 2013 18:34
Two Silent Microphones from the
Fraternity of Soul!
(Remembering Richard Street and Damon
Harris of the Temptations)
Most people who
follow Soul music from the 1960’s know about the legacy of the Temptations. The group’s lineage dates
back to 1960 in Detroit, Michigan with teenager Otis Williams who formed a group in the 1950’s called the Distants. The group had gone through a
variety of name changes and its lead singer was Richard Street. After a breakup of the group, the remnants merged
with the remnants of a rival group called the Primes. The new members were Eddie
Kendricks and Paul Williams
joining Otis Williams and bass
vocalist Melvin Franklin now calling
themselves the Elgins. The group was
signed to Motown who changed its name to the Temptations. Lead vocals in the beginning were by Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams. Because of a lack of
hits in the early years the company brought in a new lead singer named David Ruffin. In 1968 Ruffin was
replaced by Dennis Edwards as the
new lead singer. In 1970 Richard Street
the former lead singer of a Motown act called the Monitors was hired to stand in for Paul Williams
from time to time. Williams was often ill and was officially replaced in 1971. Kendricks
left the group in 1971, because of a business disagreement and he was replaced
with a 21 year old tenor vocalist from Baltimore named Damon Harris. Harris led a group called the Young Tempts that sang Temptations songs. Their name was soon
changed by the Isley Brothers to the Young Vandals, who signed them to
their label T-Neck. The new lineup for the Temptations in 1971 was Damon Harris, Richard Street, Otis
Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Dennis
Edwards. The group would now have a new look and a new sound.
The Temptations entered into a new era
with this lineup scoring a #1 hit on the US Top 10 chart in 1972 called "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone". That was
followed by "Masterpiece"
in 1973 that reached #1 on the R&B No. 1 chart. They kept the #1 position
on that chart the same year with "Let
Your Hair Down". In 1974 the release
"Happy People" and in 1975 "Shakey Ground" both reached #1 on
the R&B No. 1 chart.
Richard Street who contributed to many of the Temptations hits during his tenure with
the group left in 1993 because of business disagreements. Damon Harris left the group in 1975 and got back together with the
former members of the Young Vandals renaming
the group Impact. The group would release
their first album on Atco in 1976 backed up by the MFSB orchestra. A second album was released on Fantasy in 1977 and
in 1978 Harris released his only solo album called “Silk”. In 1997 Damon Harris
was diagnosed with prostate cancer and founded the Damon Harris Cancer
Foundation in 2001. He died of prostate cancer on February 18, 2013 at the age of
62. Nine days later Richard Street
died from pulmonary embolism on February 27, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. By
coincidence Bobby Rogers a founding
member of Smokey Robinson & the
Miracles and a Motown alumnus passed away on March 3, 2013.
Some of the Temptations classics featuring a prominent
role for Richard Street were "Superstar
(Remember How You Got Where You Are)", "Papa Was a Rollin'
Stone" "Masterpiece”, "Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)" and
"Heavenly”. Damon Harris contributed heavily to "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)" "Take a Look Around", "Papa
Was a Rollin' Stone”, "Masterpiece", "Plastic Man" and "Love Woke Me Up This Morning".
The two of them would sing together on most of these recordings.
The Temptations are the one and only Fraternity of Soul.
Damon Harris and Richard Street have joined the long
list of martyrs from the Temptations membership. Their microphones have been silenced,
but their legacy lives on.
Damon Harris was a guest of Howard Burchette on The
Funk Show in August of 2007. He shared his history with the Temptations, the group Impact and his work in prostate cancer
Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 12:38