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The Originals

The Originals

The Originals often called "Motown's best-kept secret", were a successful Motown R&B and soul group during the late 1960s and the 1970s, most notable for the hits "Baby I'm for Real", "The Bells" and the disco classic, "Down to Love Town". Formed in 1966, the group originally consisted of bass singer Freddie Gorman, baritone (and the group's founder) Walter Gaines, and tenors C. P. Spencer and Hank Dixon (and briefly Joe Stubbs). Ty Hunter replaced Spencer when he left to go solo in the early 1970s. They had all previously sung in other Detroit groups, C.P. having been an original member of the (Detroit) Spinners and Ty having sung with The Supremes member Scherrie Payne in the group Glass House. Spencer, Gaines, Hunter, and Dixon (at one time or another) were also members of the Voice Masters. As a member of the Holland–Dozier–Gorman writing-production team (before Holland–Dozier–Holland), Gorman (as a mailman) was one of the co-writers of Motown's first number 1 pop hit "Please Mr. Postman", recorded by Marvelettes. In 1964, the Beatles released their version. In 1975, Carpenters took it back to number 1 again. This was the second time in pop history that a song had reached number 1 twice. "The Twist" by Chubby Checker, reached number 1 in 1960 and 1961. In 2006, "Please Mr. Postman" was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.HistoryThe group found modest success in the latter half of the 60s, often working as background singers for recordings by artists such as Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", Stevie Wonder's "For Once In My Life" and "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday", David Ruffin "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)", Marvin Gaye's "Chained" and "Just to Keep You Satisfied", Edwin Starr's "War" and "25 Miles", and many more. The Originals found their biggest success under the guidance of Motown legend Marvin Gaye, who co-wrote and produced two of the group's biggest singles, "Baby, I'm for Real", and "The Bells". This latter disc sold over one million copies and received a gold disc awarded by the R.I.A.A.. Both songs became seminal soul music recordings, and both songs have since been covered: 1990s R&B group After 7 re-recorded "Baby, I'm for Real" and made it a hit again in 1992, while another 1990s R&B group Color Me Badd re-recorded "The Bells" for one of their albums. While the group went on to have more modest success in both the soul and disco fields near the end of the decade, including "Down to Love Town", a number 1 dance chart hit, the songs they made with Marvin Gaye are their most memorable and notable. Spencer returned briefly in the late 1970s but after the death of Ty Hunter, on February 24, 1981, the group ceased recording and broke up about a year later.Joe Stubbs, brother of Four Tops' lead, Levi Stubbs, died on February 5, 1998. He had been with the group for about six months in the mid 1960s, as well as been a member of The Falcons, The Contours and 100 Proof (Aged In Soul). C.P. Spencer died on October 20, 2004, and group's spokesman Freddie Gorman followed on June 13, 2006. Walter Gaines died January 17, 2012, after a long illness. Dixon is now the only surviving, and active, founding member of the original group.ReformationFollowing the death of Freddie Gorman in 2006, longtime member Hank Dixon and Hank's daughter Terrie Dixon reformed the Originals as a live touring act, with Freddie's son songwriter and producer Dillon F. Gorman, plus the son of Gene Chandler, Defrantz Forrest to complete the line up.

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