1966 The Outsiders – Respectable
Tom King at formed the band The Starfires at Shaw High School in Cleveland in 1958. The band primarily performed R&B instrumentals, with Tom providing vocals on a few songs. Tom’s vocals became limited after a tonsillectomy, and he recruited Sonny Geraci to sing vocals for the group in 1964.
Tom and his brother-in-law Chet Kelley wrote the song, Time Won’t Let Me. Capitol Records signed the band on the strength of that single, but insisted the band change their name. They became the Outsiders. The single reached #5 in 1966.
The Outsiders released Girl In Love as their next single, but it only reached #21 before fading off the charts.
The Isley Brothers released Shout in 1959, and they wrote their follow-up single, Respectable. The Outsiders covered the song on their second album. They released the song as a single in 1966 and it got as high as #15.
The group’s last visit to the top forty came from the release of Help Me, Girl. Scott English and Larry Weiss wrote the song, and the Outsiders had their version reach the Hot 100 for the first time in October 1966.
In 1966, the British group, the Animals, lost all of its members except drummer Barry Jenkins and singer Eric Burdon. Eric recorded a solo album, Eric Is Here, using Barry and the Horace Ott and Benny Golson Orchestras. The album included songs written by all the usual suspects: Boyce and Hart, Randy Newman, Goffin and King, and Mann and Weil. It also included his version of Help Me, Girl, which first reached the Hot 100 in November 1966. Eric had begun recruiting additional members for the Animals, so the single listed Eric Burdon and the Animals as the artist, even though the group didn’t take form until December.
The version by the Outsiders peaked at #37 while Eric’s version reached #29.
The Outsiders recorded one more song written by English and Weiss on their next album: Bend Me, Shape Me. The American Breed covered the song and their single went to #2 on the charts in 1968. The Outsiders album also included another future hit song, Kind Of A Drag, which became a chart-topping single for the Buckinghams.
The Outsiders released a few more singles and albums and broke up by mid-1970. Tom recruited a new lead singer and began touring as The Outsiders featuring Jon Simonell.
Sonny took the group’s guitar player, Walter D. Nims, and moved to California and recruited a new group that toured as The Outsiders featuring Sonny Geraci. Tom won a lawsuit over ownership of the name, after which Sonny’s group changed their name to Climax. That worked out well for them after they recorded a song written by Walter, Precious And Few. They released the song in 1972 and the single reached #3 on the Hot 100.
Sonny retired from performing for a few years and then returned to the Oldies circuit in 1985. A few years later, he once again made appearances as Sonny Geraci and the Outsiders. A brain aneurysm halted his career in 2012, and Sonny died in 2017.
Tom’s group toured as the Outsiders and they recorded a 1991 live show that they released in as an album in 1996. Tom died in 2011.
A band led by drummer Rick Biagiola (who joined the group after their first album) has been appearing as the Outsiders since 2017.
Scott English released a few singles himself, including Brandy, a song he wrote with Richard Kerr. His single barely reached #91 in 1972. Barry Manilow changed the name Brandy to Mandy (to avoid confusion with the song, Brandy, You’re A Fine Girl by Looking Glass) and reached #1 on the Hot 100 in 1975.
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