Five brothers named Ralph, Pooch, Chubby, Butch, and Tiny started singing together in 1959 as Chubby and the Turnpikes. The group had a few local hits after signing with Capitol Records. In 1969, they were joined by drummer Joey Kramer and dropped Chubby from their name and became The Turnpikes. About a year later Joey left to join Aerosmith and the group started using other backup musicians.
In 1973, the group began appearing using their last name as the group name: Tavares. They recorded their first album in 1973 and began to regularly reach the R&B charts with their singles.
We don’t remember it now, but for a brief time, Tavares was more successful than Hall and Oates. That duo’s first charting record was She’s Gone, which only reached #60 on the Hot 100 in 1974. After that single faded, Tavares covered the song and their version went to #50 on the Hot 100 and reached #1 on the R&B chart. The original version by Hall and Oates was reissued in 1976 to capitalize on the success of Sara Smile, and that time the record reached the top ten.
Tavares did even better in 1975 when they released It Only Takes A Minute. That single made it to #10 on the Hot 100 and also reached #1 on the R&B chart.
Freddie Perren was a songwriter and producer who had worked with the Jackson Five on many of their early hits. Freddie began working on disco records in 1975 and produced Love Machine by the Miracles and Boogie Fever by the Sylvers. He also produced the fourth Tavares album, Sky High. The first single from that album was Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel (Part 1). The disco single was the group’s first truly international hit, reaching #1 on the US Dance chart, #3 on the R&B chart, and #15 on the Hot 100. The record also reached #1 in the Netherlands, which led to an appearance on the Dutch television show TopPop.
The group had a long string of R&B hits and four of them reached the Hot 100 as well. They continued recording new music until 1983, after which the group continued to appear in oldie shows.
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