Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today In Oldies 9/22/2010

Golden Hits Radio and GHR-2......we've got you covered on all things Oldies!

Where In The World Is.........Archie Bell? 

Archie Bell could be considered something of a musical vagabond.  Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Bell and his group, The Drells, gained their initial following in Houston.  By the time they broke nationwide, he was serving in the Army stationed in Vietnam.  After their initial success with "Tighten Up" in 1968, they became mainstays of the "Philadelphia soul" scene, recording for Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff's legendary Philadelphia International record label. 

Archie Bell & The Drells (James Wise, Willie Parnell, and Billy Butler) formed in Houston in 1966.  Signed initially to a local record label, the group recorded the song that would become their signature hit and the "summer song" of 1968.  "Tighten Up" was initially considered a throwaway song by the group's promoter, showing up as a B-side for their first single.  Eventually, fans and other record label heads convinced the promoter the B-side would be their gravy train.  Turns out they were right.  Originally a huge regional hit, "Tighten Up" began to pick up steam and became a national hit in the summer of 1968, with Atlantic Records picking up distribution of the song.  It topped both the U.S. R&B and Pop charts, but by the time it broke coast-to-coast, Archie Bell had received his draft card and was serving in the Army in Germany.  In a 2004 interview, he revealed that capitalizing on the success of "Tighten Up" was difficult for several reasons.  He was only able to gain a series of three day weekend passes from the military, allowing him only enough time to record new material.  On top of that, numerous knockoff groups claiming to be Archie Bell & The Drells began to tour on the strength of "Tighten Up", making the money on the concert circuit that the real group could not.  Ultimately, the Army relented and allowed Bell to tour with The Drells in 1969 and eventually granted him an honorable discharge. 

While "Tighten Up" would be the only major Pop hit for Archie Bell & The Drells, they eventually moved to Philadelphia and continued to be a force on the R&B charts recording for Philadelphia International Records.  By the late 70's, however, the hits had stopped completely, and the group broke up in 1980. Archie Bell released one solo album in 1981 and re-formed a new group of Drells, and they're still recording actively and playing about 100 concerts a year.  He has also written a book, a regular newspaper column, and has become a black belt in Kung Fu.  You can find out more about Archie Bell and The Drells on their MySpace page.

Now for the dance sensation that swept the nation in the summer of '68...........

Golden Hits Radio and GHR-2's Burning Question of the Day

Despite selling 32 1/2 million albums in the U.S., selling out stadiums and arenas across the country, and having 2 #1 American singles, Queen performed on American television only once.  On what show did they appear? 

Check back tomorrow @ Everything Oldies for the answer, and leave a Comment with your best guess!

Tina Turner had a memorable role as the Acid Queen in the film version of The Who's rock opera "Tommy", but she wasn't the first choice for the part.  Who was the original choice to play the role?

Answer: David Bowie (not surprising when you consider he was smack in the middle of the whole "gender bending" thing at the time)

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