Category Archives: entertainment
“Games People Play”, also known as “They Just Can’t Stop It (The Games People Play)”, is a song recorded by American R&B vocal group The Spinners. Released in 1975 from their Pick of the Litter album, featuring lead vocals by Bobby Smith, the song was a crossover success, spending a week at number one on the US Hot Soul Singles chart and peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. Recorded at Philly’s Sigma Sound Studios, the house band MFSB provided the backing. Female backing vocals on the song were by Carla Benson, Evette Benton and Barbara Ingram. This song was an RIAA certified million-seller for the Spinners.
In 1962, while playing a gig at the Pypo Club in Seaside, Oregon, then managed by Al Dardis, the band noticed Rockin’ Robin Roberts’s version of
being played on the jukebox for hours on end. The entire club would get up and dance.Ely convinced the Kingsmen to learn the song, which they played at dances to a great crowd response. Unknown to him, he changed the beat because he misheard it on a jukebox. Ken Chase, host of radio station KISN, formed his own club to capitalize on these dance crazes. Dubbed the “Chase”, the Kingsmen became the club’s house band and Ken Chase became the band’s manager. On April 5, 1963, Chase booked the band an hour-long session at the local Northwestern Inc. studio for the following day. The band had just played a 90-minute
Despite the band’s annoyance at having so little time to prepare, on April 6 at 10 am the Kingsmen walked into the three-microphone recording studio. In order to sound like a live performance, Ely was forced to lean back and sing to a microphone suspended from the ceiling. “It was more yelling than singing,” Ely said, “’cause I was trying to be heard over all the instruments.” In addition, he was wearing braces at the time of the performance, further compounding his infamously slurred words. Ely sang the beginning of the third verse several bars too early, but realized his mistake and waited for the rest of the band to catch up. In what was thought to be a warm-up, the song was recorded in its first and only take. The Kingsmen were not proud of the version, but their manager liked the rawness of their cover. The B-side was “Haunted Castle”, composed by Ely and Don Gallucci, the new keyboardist. However, Lynn Easton was credited on both the Jerden and Wand releases. The entire session cost $50, and the band split the cost.
“Louie Louie” was kept from the top spot on the charts in late 1963 and early 1964 by the Singing Nun and Bobby Vinton, who monopolized the No.1 slot for four weeks apiece. The Kingsmen single reached No. 1 on the Cashbox chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Additionally in the UK it reached No. 26 on the Record Retailer chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.
The band attracted nationwide attention when “Louie Louie” was banned by the governor of Indiana, Matthew E. Welsh, also attracting the attention of the FBI because of alleged indecent lyrics in their version of the song. The lyrics were, in fact, innocent, but Ely’s baffling enunciation permitted teenage fans and concerned parents alike to imagine the most scandalous obscenities. All of this attention only made the song more popular. In April 1966 “Louie Louie” was reissued and once again hit the music charts, reaching No. 65 on the Cashbox chart and No. 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” is a song written by Bobby Eli, John Freeman and Vinnie Barrett and made popular by Ronnie Dyson. It reached No. 60 in the US Pop chart and No. 29 in the US R&B chart. Its flipside was “Point of No Return” a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
The group was formed in Harlem, New York in 1964 as a trio called the Poets, composed of lead singer Donald McPherson, Luther Simmons, Jr., and Panama-born Tony Silvester. They made their first recordings for Leiber & Stoller’s Red Bird label, but soon changed their name to the Insiders and signed with RCA. After a couple of singles, they changed their name once again in 1968, this time permanently to the Main Ingredient, taking the name from a Coke bottle.
The Main Ingredient then teamed up with record producer Bert DeCoteaux. Under his direction, the Main Ingredient reached the R&B Top 30 for the first time in 1970 with “You’ve Been My Inspiration”. A cover of The Impressions’ “I’m So Proud” broke the Top 20, and “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love)” went into the Top 10. They scored again with the McPherson-penned black power anthem “Black Seeds Keep on Growing,” but tragedy struck in 1971. Don McPherson, who had suddenly taken ill with leukemia, died unexpectedly. Stunned,Tony Silvester and Luther Simmons regrouped with new lead singer Cuba Gooding, Sr., who had served as a backing vocalist on some of their previous recordings and had filled in on tour during McPherson’s brief illness.
“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” is a hit single recorded by Jimmy Ruffin and released on Motown Records’ Soul label in the summer of 1966. It is a ballad, with lead singer Jimmy Ruffin recalling the pain that befalls the brokenhearted, who had love that’s now departed. The song essentially deals with the struggle to overcome sadness while seeking a new relationship after the passing of a loved one.
The tune was written by William Weatherspoon, Paul Riser, and James Dean, and the recording was produced by Weatherspoon and William “Mickey” Stevenson. “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” remains one of the most-revived of Motown’s hits.
Composers Weatherspoon and Riser and lyricist Dean had originally written “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” with the intention of having The Spinners, then an act on Motown’s V.I.P. label, record the tune. Jimmy Ruffin, older brother of Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, persuaded Dean to let him record the song, as its anguished lyric about a man lost in the misery of heartbreak resonated with the singer.
Ruffin’s lead vocal on the recording is augmented by the instrumentation of Motown’s in-house studio band, The Funk Brothers, and the joint backing vocals of Motown session singers The Originals and The Andantes. “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, and at number six on the Billboard R&B Singles chart. In Britain, it originally reached No. 8, and on reissue in 1974 No. 4, thus making it his highest-placed chart single in the UK.
The song originally featured a spoken introduction by Ruffin, similar in style to many of Lou Rawls’ performances at the time. The spoken verse was removed from the final mix, hence the unusually long instrumental intro on the released version. The spoken verse is present on the alternate mix from the UK 2003 release Jimmy Ruffin – The Ultimate Motown Collection, and as a new stereo extended mix on the 2005 anthology, The Motown Box:
A world filled with love is a wonderful sight. Being in love is one’s heart’s delight. But that look of love isn’t on my face. That enchanted feeling has been replaced.
Brenton Wood (born Alfred Jesse Smith, July 26, 1941, Shreveport, Louisiana) is an American singer and songwriter known for his two 1967 hit singles, “The Oogum Boogum Song” and “Gimme Little Sign”.
The family moved to San Pedro in Los Angeles, California when Wood was a child. He attended San Pedro High School for part of his freshman year before moving to Compton, where Brenton became a member of the Compton High School track team and received several awards for his athletic achievements.
Following his high school graduation, Wood enrolled in East Los Angeles College. Soon after, he took the stage name Brenton Wood, possibly inspired by the wealthy Los Angeles enclave of Brentwood (some sources state that the name is in honor of his “home county”), with a second possible connection of Bretton Woods. During this period, his musical interests began to manifest themselves. He was inspired by Jesse Belvin and Sam Cooke, and he began cultivating his songwriting skills, also becoming a competent pianist.
Early singles for Brent Records and Wand Records failed to chart. Wood signed with Double Shot Records, and his “The Oogum Boogum Song” reached #19 on the US Billboard R&B chart and #34 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1967. In Southern California, “The Oogum Boogum Song” hit the top 10 on KGB-FM and #1 on KHJ. Wood’s biggest hit came a few months later, as “Gimme Little Sign” hit #9 on the pop chart, #19 on the R&B charts, #2 on KHJ, and #8 in the UK Singles Chart; sold over one million copies; and was awarded a gold disc. The title is not actually sung in the song; the chorus instead repeats “Give Me Some Kind of Sign.” Wood’s “Baby You Got It” peaked at #34 on the Hot 100 during the last week of 1967 and #3 on KHJ on 31 January 1968.
Wood recorded a duet with Shirley Goodman. His next song to reach the charts was “Come Softly to Me” in 1977.
He returned again in 1986 with the album Out of the Woodwork, which included contemporary rerecordings of his early hits, along with several new tracks, including the single, “Soothe Me.”
His album This Love Is for Real came out in 2001. Among his later appearances was in 2006 on the Los Angeles public access program Thee Mr. Duran Show, where Wood and his band performed several of his hit singles.