The Trammps

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The Trammps
OriginPhiladelphia, United States
GenresDisco, soul
Years active1972–1980
LabelsGolden Fleece Records
Atlantic Records
Buddah Records
Philadelphia International Records
WebsiteOfficial website
Past membersJimmy Ellis
Gene "Faith" Jones
Dennis Harris
John Hart
Steve Kelly
Ron Kersey
Michael Thomas
Stanley Wade
Earl Young
Robert Upchurch
Harold Doc Wade
Dave Dixon
 
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The Trammps
OriginPhiladelphia, United States
GenresDisco, soul
Years active1972–1980
LabelsGolden Fleece Records
Atlantic Records
Buddah Records
Philadelphia International Records
WebsiteOfficial website
Past membersJimmy Ellis
Gene "Faith" Jones
Dennis Harris
John Hart
Steve Kelly
Ron Kersey
Michael Thomas
Stanley Wade
Earl Young
Robert Upchurch
Harold Doc Wade
Dave Dixon

The Trammps were an American disco and soul band, who were based in Philadelphia and were one of the first disco bands.

The band's first major success was with their 1972 cover version of "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart". The first disco track they released was "Love Epidemic" in 1973. However, they are best known for their Grammy winning song, "Disco Inferno", originally released in 1976, becoming a UK pop hit and US R&B hit, then re-released in 1978 and becoming a US pop hit.

The music journalist Ron Wynn noted "the Trammps' prowess can't be measured by chart popularity; Ellis' booming, joyous vocals brilliantly championed the celebratory fervor and atmosphere that made disco both loved and hated among music fans."[1]

History[edit]

The history of the Trammps grew from the 1960s group, the Volcanos, who later became the Moods.[1] With a number of line-up changes by the early 1970s, the band membership included gospel-influenced lead singer, Jimmy Ellis, drummer and bass singer, Earl Young, with brothers, Stanley and Harold 'Doc' Wade. Members of the Philadelphia recording band, MFSB played with the group on records and on tour in the 70s with singer, Robert Upchurch joining later. The group was produced by the Philadelphia team of Ronnie Baker, Norman Harris and Young, all MFSB mainstays who played on the recording sessions and contributed songs.

Their debut chart entry came via an upbeat cover version of the standard, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart", which became a Top 20 US R&B chart hit in 1972.[1][2]

Their first few recordings were released on Buddah Records, including "Hold Back The Night" which was a hit in the UK and on the Billboard R&B chart in 1973, before a re-release saw it climb the U.S. Hot 100 two years later. Several R&B hits followed during a stay with Philadelphia International subsidiary, Golden Fleece (run by Baker-Harris-Young) before they signed to Atlantic Records.

Their single "Disco Inferno" (1976), which was included on the Grammy Award winning Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in 1977,[3] reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1978.[4]

Other major hits included "Hold Back the Night" (1975) (UK #5[5]) and "That's Where the Happy People Go" (1976). In late 1977, the Trammps released the song "The Night the Lights Went Out" to commemorate the electrical blackout that affected New York City on July 13, 1977.

Their signature song, "Disco Inferno", has been covered by Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper. In addition, Graham Parker covered "Hold Back The Night" on the "The Pink Parker EP" in 1977, and reached #20 in the UK Singles Chart,[6] and Top 60 in the US.

On September 19, 2005, the group's "Disco Inferno" was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in New York. The song was part-written by Ron Kersey, a producer-arranger and a member of MFSB, who also played with Trammps in the 1970s for a time. During the ceremony, the original band members performed together for the first time in 25years.

Two versions of the group, with differing line-ups, currently tour the nostalgia circuit.[7]

On March 8, 2012, lead singer Jimmy Ellis died at a nursing home in Rock Hill, South Carolina, at the age of 74. The cause of death was not immediately known but he suffered from Alzheimers' disease.[2]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

YearTitleLabelUS Billboard 200[8]US R&B[8]
1975The Legendary Zing AlbumBuddah Records
1975TrammpsGolden Fleece Records15930
1976Where the Happy People GoAtlantic Records5013
1976Disco InfernoAtlantic Records4616
1977The Trammps IIIAtlantic Records8527
1979The Whole World's DancingAtlantic Records184
1980Mixin' It UpAtlantic Records
1980Slipping OutAtlantic Records

Compilation albums[edit]

YearTitleLabelUS Billboard 200[8]US R&B[8]
1978The Best of the TrammpsAtlantic Records13957

Singles[edit]

YearTitleUS Billboard Hot 100[4]US R&B[4]UK Singles Chart[5]
1972"Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart"641729
1972"Sixty Minute Man"40
1973"Pray All You Sinners"34
1973"Love Epidemic"75
1974"Where Do We Go From Here"44
1974"Trusting Heart"72
1975"Hooked for Life"70
1975"Rubber Band"
1976"Hold Back The Night"35105
1976"That's Where the Happy People Go"271235
1976"Soul Searchin' Time"6742
1976"Disco Inferno"11916
1977""I Feel Like I've Been Livin' (On The Dark Side Of The Moon)"52
1977"The Night The Lights Went Out"80
1978"Disco Inferno" (re-release)1147
1978"Seasons for Girls"50
1978"Soul Bones"91
1983"Up On The Hill"79
1992"Hold Back The Night" - (KWS features guest vocals from the Trammps)30

Band members[edit]

Later members[edit]

Stan Wade & Robert Upchurch Trammps

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Biography by Ron Wynn". Allmusic.com. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Dys, Andrew (March 8, 2012). "'Disco Inferno' singer Jimmy Ellis of Rock Hill dies at 74". The Herald (Rock Hill, SC). Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ Allmusic.com / Grammy Awards
  4. ^ a b c "Charts & Awards / Billboard Singles". Allmusic.com. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 564. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 417. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  7. ^ Biography at Soultracks.com - accessed February 2011
  8. ^ a b c d Allmusic.com / Billboard Albums
  9. ^ "Jimmy Ellis Dies at 74; Lead Singer in Dance Band Trammps". www.nytimes.com. March 08,2012. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  10. ^ article.wn.com John Hart Jr., 67, an original Trammp
  11. ^ Lyrics Vault Trammps
  12. ^ thetrammps.net Band Members

External links[edit]