1963 James Gilreath – Little Band Of Gold
James Gilreath grew up playing guitar and piano in Mississippi. He became a member of a local band, the Nite-Liters. The band released the surf instrumental Nervous in 1962, but it didn’t make them stars.
James began work on a solo career by singing and playing instruments for Statue Records, a small label in Tupelo. His second single, Little Band Of Gold, did well enough that Statue sold the rights for national distribution to Joy Records, a small label based in New York City.
The single reached #21 on the Hot 100 and did surprisingly well on the R&B chart (where it peaked at #19). It did not even dent the Country chart, which would seem to be a better fit for his brand of rockabilly.
While the single did not turn into a big hit, a very young group of singers in Australia liked the song enough to perform it live on television: the brothers Gibbs, who later became the Bee Gees.
Joy Records released three more singles by James, but they failed to do well and the label went out of business by 1965.
James abandoned performing and instead worked as a songwriter. He wrote Why Not Tonight, which became a top-five song on the R&B chart for Jimmy Hughes in 1967.
James died as the result of a tractor accident on his farm in Mississippi in 2003.
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