Thursday Throwback: The Originals

Even if you’re not familiar with the music of The Originals, if you’re an old school fan, you’ve probably heard their voices on some classic tunes.  The group formed in the mid-1960s in Detroit, Michigan and sang background vocals on tunes like Edwin Starr’s “War,” Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In My Life,” Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and Marvin Gaye’s “Chained.” After the group released a few singles that failed to hit the charts, it was Gaye who helped the group get its big break.  In 1969 they released a song entitled “Baby I’m For Real,” a ballad written by Gaye that became an instant hit, shooting to number one on the R&B chart and breaking the top twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Riding high on their first hit, the group followed it up the next year with “The Bells,” which made it to number four on the R&B chart and number twelve on the Hot 100.  Unfortunately over the next few years, subsequent releases didn’t fare quite as well.  They did, however, make it to number one again with “Down To Love Town,” a disco tune that made it to the top of the dance chart in 1976.  Since then, quite a few artists have paid homage to The Originals by covering their music.  Most notably, the group After 7 who hit the charts in 1992 with a cover of “Baby I’m For Real” (mixed in with Bloodstone’s “Natural High”) and Color Me Badd who covered “The Bells” on their 1994 release Time and Chance.

Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at, visit him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.

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