The uber-prestigious Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London is a very appropriate venue for soul music Royalty The O’Jays to choose for a very special one-night-only, exclusive UK performance.
The soul superstars appear on Sunday 15th July, as their only UK show in 2018.
Featuring two original members, Edde Levert and Walter Williams Snr, with Eric Nolan Grant completing the line-up in 1995, the group are celebrating their 60th year since they formed.
The group notched up 18 hit albums and 52 hit singles, 12 of which reached number 1 on the major music charts. Nine hit singles in the UK between 1972 and 1983, including four tracks that reached the Top 20 in the singles chart.
The O’Jays have achieved 10 Gold albums and 9 Platinum albums for the millions of albums sales. The first black vocal group to tour arenas in the 70s and 80s. Apart from the 4 Tops, Walter and Eddie as original members have been in a US group longer than anyone else.
Friends since they were six-years-old, Walter is now 74 and Eddie is a year older. In 2003, they co-starred in the movie The Fighting Temptations, which starred Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyoncé Knowles; and they recorded with Beyonce for the soundtrack. Their last album, “Imagination. ” came out in 2004.
On their flying visit in July, the group will be sure to give their stalwart fans a treat in the form of all their hits, such as “Love Train”, “Backstabbers”, “I Love Music” and “For The Love Of Money”.
They still invest 100% energy into their performances and deliver all their slick dance moves that they and the other Philadelphia and Detroit groups of the 1960s and 1970s were as famous for as their music.
This is all the more remarkable when you know that Walter has had Multiple Sclerosis for 35 years. Since being prescribed new drugs in 1999, his condition is managed far more effectively and he has had no relapses or major issues; and he is seen as an inspiration to other sufferers. Walter is a volunteer National Ambassador for the MS Society and a spokesperson for MS Active Source.
The O’Jays were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005 and honoured with BET’s Life Time Achievement Award in 2009.
In 2013, they were inducted into The Official R&B Music Hall of Fame. Today, the songs of The O’Jays are still being used in many movies, commercials and TV shows. “For The Love of Money” was the theme song for US series “The Apprentice.” Starring a chap called Donald Trump!
As teenagers in Canton, Ohio, they formed a band originally consisting of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles. They started out as The Triumphs and then The Mascots, but in 1963, the band took the name “The O’Jays” in tribute to Cleveland radio disc jockey Eddie O’Jay.
Original members Bill Isles and Bobby Massey departed the group in 1972, leaving the group a trio. The remaining three original members, Eddie Levert, William Powell, and Walter Williams, carried on.
William Powell passed away at the age of 35 in 1977 from cancer. They added Sammy Strain of Little Anthony and the Imperials to the group. He left in 1992, replaced by Nataniel Best and later by current member Eric Grant.
In 1972, Gamble & Huff, a team of producers and songwriters with whom the O’Jays had been working for several years, signed the group to their Philadelphia International label. With this magic formula, often called The Sound of Philadelphia, The O’Jays scored their first number one and million-seller, “Backstabbers.”
Subsequently, they succeeded with various chart-topping pop and R&B singles including “Put Your Hands Together”, “Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)”, “Livin’ For The Weekend” and“Use Ta Be My Gir”, and of course the previously mentioned classic, “Love Train”.
Timeless, classic soul and R&B songs that formed part of the soundtrack of many people’s lives in the 70s and beyond…A rare chance to see this iconic group in action across the pond, on July 15th at one of London’s most prestigious venues. Some tickets left at time of writing…