Ohio Players

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Ohio Players
Also known asThe Ohio Untouchables
OriginDayton, Ohio, United States
GenresFunk, Disco, R&B, soul
Years active1959 (1959)–2002 (2002)
LabelsWestbound, Mercury, Arista, Boardwalk
WebsiteOfficial website
Past membersCornelius Johnson
Walter "Junie" Morrison
Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner
Marshall "Rock" Jones
Robert "Rumba" Jones
Billy Beck
Wes Boatman
Dean Simms
Mervin Pierce
Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks
Jimmy Sampson
Vincent Thomas
James "Diamond" Williams
Clarence Willis
Greg Webster
Bruce Napier
Andrew Noland
Clarence "Satch" Satchell
Bobby Lee Fears
Dutch Robinson
Robert Ward
 
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Ohio Players
Also known asThe Ohio Untouchables
OriginDayton, Ohio, United States
GenresFunk, Disco, R&B, soul
Years active1959 (1959)–2002 (2002)
LabelsWestbound, Mercury, Arista, Boardwalk
WebsiteOfficial website
Past membersCornelius Johnson
Walter "Junie" Morrison
Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner
Marshall "Rock" Jones
Robert "Rumba" Jones
Billy Beck
Wes Boatman
Dean Simms
Mervin Pierce
Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks
Jimmy Sampson
Vincent Thomas
James "Diamond" Williams
Clarence Willis
Greg Webster
Bruce Napier
Andrew Noland
Clarence "Satch" Satchell
Bobby Lee Fears
Dutch Robinson
Robert Ward

The Ohio Players were an American funk and R&B band, most popular in the 1970s. They are best known for their #1 hit songs "Fire" and "Love Rollercoaster".

Gold certifications, records selling at least one million copies, were awarded to the singles "Funky Worm", "Skin Tight", "Fire", and "Love Rollercoaster"; plus to their albums Skin Tight, Fire, and Honey.[1]

On August 17, 2013, The Ohio Players were inducted into the inaugural class of the Official R&B Music Hall of Fame that took place in Cleveland, Oh. at Cleveland St. Univ.

History[edit]

The band formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959 as the Ohio Untouchables and initially included members Robert Ward (vocals/guitar), Marshall "Rock" Jones (bass), Clarence "Satch" Satchell (saxophone/guitar), Cornelius Johnson (drums), and Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks (trumpet/trombone). They were best known at the time as a backing group for Detroit's The Falcons.[2]

Ward had proved to be an unreliable leader, who would sometimes, during gigs, walk off the stage, forcing the group to stop playing. Eventually, the group vowed to keep playing even after he left. Ward and Jones got into a fistfight in 1964, after which the group broke up.[3]

Ward found new backups, and the group's core members returned to Dayton. They replaced Ward with 21-year-old Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner (guitar), who would become the group's front man, and added Gregory Webster (drums).[2][4] To accommodate Bonner's musical style preferences for the group ("R&B with a little flair to it") and to avoid competing with Ward, the group changed their format.[5] By 1965, the group had renamed themselves the Ohio Players, reflecting its members' self-perceptions as musicians and as ladies' men.[6]

The group added two more singers, Bobby Lee Fears and Dutch Robinson, and became the house band for the New York-based Compass Records. In 1967, they added vocalist Helena Ferguson Kilpatrick, who had just returned from George Gershwin's European Tour of Porgy and Bess.[citation needed]

The group disbanded again in 1970. After again re-forming with a line-up including Bonner, Satchell, Middlebrooks, Jones, Webster, trumpeter Bruce Napier, vocalist Charles Dale Allen, trombonist Marvin Pierce, and keyboardist Walter "Junie" Morrison, the Players had a minor hit on the Detroit-based Westbound label in with "Pain" (1971 in music|1971), which reached the Top 40 of the Billboard R&B chart. James Johnson joined the group at this time as vocalist and saxophonist. Dale Allen shared co-lead vocals on some of the early Westbound material, although he was not credited on their albums Pain and Pleasure.[citation needed] It was at Westbound Records where the group met George Clinton, admired their music. The two albums' avante-garde covers featured a spiked-black leather-bikini clad, bald model Pat "Running Bear" Evans, who would later grace additional Ohio Players albums, including Climax, Ecstasy, and Gold.[7][8][9][10][11]

The band's first big hit single was "Funky Worm", which reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and made the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1973. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in May of that year.[1] The band signed with Mercury Records in 1974. By then, their line-up had changed again, with keyboardist Billy Beck instead of Morrison and Jimmy "Diamond" Williams on drums instead of Webster. On later album releases, they added second guitarist/vocalist Clarence "Chet" Willis and conga player Robert "Rumba" Jones. Meanwhile, keyboardist Walter "Junie" Morrison recorded three albums on his own before joining Funkadelic as the force behind their hit One Nation Under a Groove.

The band had seven Top 40 hits between 1973 and 1976. These included "Fire" (#1 on both the R&B and pop chart for two weeks and one week respectively in February 1975 and another million seller) and "Love Rollercoaster" (#1 on both the R&B and pop charts for one week in January 1976; another gold disc recipient).[1] The group also took on saxophonist James Johnson. The group's last big hit was "Who'd She Coo?" a #1 R&B hit in August 1976. It was their only success in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at #43 on the UK Singles Chart in July 1976.[12]

Deaths[edit]

Clarence Satchell (born April 15, 1940) died December 30, 1995 after suffering a brain aneurysm;[13] Ralph Middlebrooks (born August 20, 1939) died in November 1997;[14] and Robert Ward (born October 15, 1938) died at home December 25, 2008.[15] Cornelius Johnson (born July 12, 1937) died February 1, 2009.[16] Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner (born March 14, 1943, Hamilton, OH) died January 26, 2013 at age 69.[17] Marshall Jones resides in Jamestown, Ohio.[2]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

YearAlbumPeak chart positionsCertifications
(sales threshold)
Record label
US
[18]
US
R&B

[18]
CAN
[19]
1968Observations in TimeCapitol
1972Pain17721Westbound
Pleasure634
1973Ecstasy7019
1974Skin Tight11115Mercury
Fire1117
1975Honey2136
1976Contradiction12126
1977Angel41958
Mr. Mean681165
1978Jass-Ay-Lay-Dee6915
1979Everybody Up8019Arista
1981Tenderness16549Boardwalk
Ouch!201
1984GraduationCentury Vista
1988Back55Track Record
"—" denotes the release failed to chart or was not certified

Live albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

YearAlbumPeak chart positionsCertifications
(sales threshold)
Record label
US
[18]
US
R&B

[18]
CAN
[19]
1972First ImpressionsTrip
1974The Ohio Players32Capitol
Climax10224Westbound
1975Greatest Hits9222
Rattlesnake618
1976Gold311028Mercury
1977The Best of the Early Years, Vol. 158Westbound
1995Funk on Fire: The Mercury AnthologyMercury
1998Orgasm: The Very Best of the Westbound YearsWestbound
2000The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Ohio PlayersMercury
2008GoldIsland/Mercury
"—" denotes the release failed to chart or was not certified

Singles[edit]

YearSinglePeak chart positions
US
[21]
US
R&B

[21]
CAN
[19]
1967"Neighbors"
1968"Trespassin'"50
"It's a Crying Shame"
1969"Bad Bargain"
"Find Someone to Love"
1971"Pain (Part 1)"643591
1972"Pleasure"45
"Varee Is Love"
1973"Funky Worm"15150
"Ecstasy"3112
"Sleep Talk"
1974"Jive Turkey (Part 1)"47671
"Skin Tight"13219
"Fire" [A]115
1975"I Want to Be Free"44651
"Sweet Sticky Thing"33160
"Love Rollercoaster"112
1976"Fopp"30943
"Rattlesnake"9069
"Who'd She Coo?" [B]18163
"Far East Mississippi"26
1977"Feel the Beat (Everybody Disco)"6131
"Body Vibes"19
"O-H-I-O"45988
"Merry Go Round"77
"Good Luck Charm (Part 1)"10151
1978"Magic Trick"93
"Funk-O-Nots"10527
"Time Slips Away"53
1979"Everybody Up"33
1981"Try a Little Tenderness"40
"Skinny"46
"The Star of the Party"
1984"Sight for Sore Eyes"83
1988"Sweat"50
"Let's Play (From Now On)"33
"—" denotes the release failed to chart
Notes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 332, 348, 349 & 362. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  2. ^ a b c McGinn, Andrew (May 30, 2009). "Ohio Players bassist retires to funky town — Jamestown". Springfield (Ohio) News-Sun. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  3. ^ "Season 4/Episode 31- 'The Story of The Ohio Players'". Unsung. July 4, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Season 4/Episode 31- 'The Story of The Ohio Players'". Unsung. July 4, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Season 4/Episode 31- 'The Story of The Ohio Players'". Unsung. July 4, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Season 4/Episode 31- 'The Story of The Ohio Players'". Unsung. July 4, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Season 4/Episode 31- 'The Story of The Ohio Players'". Unsung. July 4, 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Bald & The Beautiful". art nouveau. November 23, 2011. 
  9. ^ "The Ohio Players Ladies". Hymie's Vintage Records. May 17, 2011. 
  10. ^ Sweetlocs (November 6, 2012). "10 Pioneering Models of Color". Eric Roberson Music. 
  11. ^ Uwumarogi, Victoria (February 12, 2014). "Black Beauties to Know and Love: Model Pat Evans". Madame Noire. 
  12. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 405. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  13. ^ Thedeadrockstarsclub.com (1995) Accessed April 2010
  14. ^ Thedeadrockstarsclub.com (1996) Accessed April 2010
  15. ^ Cartwright, Garth (March 4, 2009). "Obituary: Robert Ward". The Guardian. guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  16. ^ Soulwalking.co.uk band profile (accessed 27 January 2013)
  17. ^ Death notice from WTLC 106.7 FM Indianapolis, 27 January 2013 (accessed 27 January 2013)
  18. ^ a b c d "US Albums Charts > Ohio Players". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  19. ^ a b c "CAN Charts > Ohio Players". RPM. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f "US Certifications > Ohio Players". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  21. ^ a b "US Singles Charts > Ohio Players". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 

External links[edit]