Hello, The O’Jays are an R&B vocal group from Canton, Ohio. Members included, Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles. They were first known as the Triumphs. They recorded as the Mascots on the King Records label in 1961. They were renamed by Cleveland, Ohio disc jockey Eddie O’Jay. Bill Isles left the group in 1965 and Bobby Massey left in 1971 to be a record producer.
The group charted records beginning in 1963 with LONELY DRIFTER, on Imperial Records, a #93 record on the Billboard Hot 100. Their first R&B hit was, LIPSTICK TRACES (On A Cigarette) a #28 R&B hit and a #48 Hot 100 hit, also on Imperial Records. This was only the beginning of the many hit records to come. In July of 1972 The O’Jays charted BACK STABBERS on Philadelphia International Records. The single became a huge hit on both the Hot 100 (#3) and the R&B chart (#1), and selling over 1 million records. The group was on their way.
On January 20, 1973 The O’Jays made their Hot 100 and R&B debut with a song that would become a world-wide hit and a 1970s classic. LOVE TRAIN climbed up the Billboard R&B chart to #1, holding the top spot for 4 weeks. The single became The O’Jays only Billboard Hot 100 (Pop Chart) #1 hit record. The single crossed the Atlantic and became a#9 hit record on the UK Singles Chart. The group was awarded their second “Gold Record” for record sales of over 1 million copies. The song was written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and was the last song on The O’Jays album “Back Stabbers”. The song lyrics reflect unity and mention a number of countries, England, Russia, China, Egypt, Israel and Africa. The O’Jays won a Grammy: Hall of Fame award for their record and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame selected it as one of its greatest songs.
The O’Jays would go on through the years to chart 8 more #1 R&B hits and 21 R&B Top 10 singles, (1973-1991). They would chart 59 R&B hits between 1965 and 2004. The group charted 29 Billboard Hot 100 hits between 1963 and 1997. William Powell retired from touring in late 1975, due to illness, he passed away in 1977 at the age of 35. The O’ Jays were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. Their great hits of the 1970s are a songbook to the decade…they are one of the top R&B groups from the “GOLDEN ERA OF ROCK AND ROLL”.
Till the next time—Joe