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The Dramatics

The Dramatics

CareerThe Dramatics originally formed in 1962, recording as the Dynamics in 1965. Their first release in 1965 was entitled "Bingo" and the B-side was entitled "Somewhere". It was recorded for the late Ed Wingate's "Wingate" record label, a division of Golden World Records in Detroit, Michigan. Wingate changed the name of the group had a mis-print was called the Dynamics to The Dramatics in 1966 for the group's second release: "Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo", the B-side was entitled: "Baby I Need You", also released on the Wingate Records label. By 1967, Motown had absorbed the entire Golden World Records operation, including their publishing: Myto Music BMI, The Golden World, Ric Tic, and Wingate Record labels, as well as recording artists. The Dramatics moved to Sport Records where they garnered their first minor hit single, "All Because of You."The Dramatics signed to Stax-Volt Records in 1968. However, the group did not break through until their 1971 single, "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get," which broke into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #9. Their first million selling disc "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" was awarded gold disc status by the R.I.A.A. in December 1971.Their members at this time were Ron Banks (who died of a heart attack on March 4, 2010, at the age of 58), William "Wee Gee" Howard (who died of a heart attack on February 22, 2000, at the age of 49), Elbert Wilkins (who died of a heart attack on December 13, 1992, at the age of 45), Willie Ford, Larry Demps and keyboardist James Mack Brown (who died on November 28, 2008, at the age of 58). Shortly after the success of their first album, Howard and Wilkins left the group. They were replaced by Larry James "L.J." Reynolds and Leonard "Lenny" Mayes. Through the 1970s, the group appeared on Soul Train and continued to have hits, including the #1 R&B hit, "In the Rain", "Toast to the Fool", "Me and Mrs. Jones" (originally by Billy Paul), "I'm Going By The Stars In Your Eyes" and "Be My Girl." "In the Rain" also sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Many of the Dramatics' songs were written by Tony Hester, a Detroit writer/producer who was shot to death in a street robbery in 1980.In the meantime, Howard and Wilkins formed a Dramatics splinter group, and came up with a minor R&B hit, "No Rebate on Love." To distinguish themselves from this group, the core group temporarily dubbed themselves 'Ron Banks and The Dramatics'. Howard eventually returned to the group for two albums, Somewhere in Time: A Dramatic Reunion and Positive State Of Mind, before departing again.The Dramatics also were guests on the Snoop Doggy Dogg song, "Doggy Dogg World". The song appeared on Snoop's 1993 debut album, Doggystyle. In 2002 The Dramatics appeared on Snoop Dogg's sixth studio album Paid tha cost to be tha boss on the song "Ballin'", produced by Battlecat.The group continues to tour and presently consists of Reynolds, Ford, Winzell Kelly and Michael Brock, who replaced Mayes (who died of lung cancer on November 8, 2004, at the age of 53).The Dramatics were also mentioned in the book The Algiers Motel Incident by John Hersey (ISBN 0-8018-5777-5). They were staying at the Algiers Motel, following a performance at Detroit's Fox Theatre, during an alleged murder by members of the Detroit Police Department, which was one of the incidents that sparked the Detroit Riots of 1967.The Dramatics "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" appeared in the 2003 documentary 8 Wheels & Some Soul Brotha' Music, in the 2005 documentary Sunday Driver, as well as the movies, Wattstax and Darktown Strutters, and the 2007 Petey Greene biopic, Talk To Me. The Dramatics were officially inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame at Cleveland State University's Waetejen Auditorium on Saturday August 17, 2013.


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