Rock Hall Inducted Producers Tribute The Dells' Johnny Carter
Carter, whose falsetto tenor also was heard as a founding member of The Flamingos, died Friday in his hometown of Harvey, IL, after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 75. Funeral services will be held Sunday, Aug. 30 at Bethlehem Temple, 20 East 147th St., Harvey, IL 60426, at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. CST., in conjunction with Holts Funeral Home, also in Harvey.
Carter joined Gamble & Huff in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted twice as a member of The Dells and The Flamingos. "The Dells have been together 58 years, and they really go way back with us, too," said Gamble & Huff in a joint statement. "We've always looked at them as some of the key innovators of Rhythm & Blues, and Johnny Carter, was especially innovative, because of his earlier tenure with the Flamingos, which also was an excellent group. We considered him to be one of the best tenors ever in Rhythm & Blues, with an absolutely superb voice. Not only us, but a lot of people will be sad about his leaving."
After coveting The Dells for years, Gamble & Huff finally got to work with the legendary Chicago vocal group in 1992, further updating their sound on the I Salute You album. One of the finest and longest-lived R&B vocal groups in history, The Dells signed with Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records through Zoo/BMG amid a flurry of record offers, and I Salute You was issued around the time of the group's 40th anniversary. Two of the album's singles, "Come and Get It" and the glorious ballad "Oh My Love" landed on Billboard's R&B charts. Other notable tracks from I Salute You included the soul searching "I'm Only a Man" and the regional hit, "SomeBody's Gotta Move," which later featured high-powered Philly vocalist Grace Little.
Gamble & Huff recorded another album with Carter and The Dells in the early '90s that remains unreleased in the Philadelphia International Records vault. As a tribute to the group, the label plans to release that album in the near future.
Carter joined The Dells in 1960 and helped the group become one of the few to span music genres, with a repertoire that included doo-wop, jazz, soul, disco and contemporary R&B and resulted in successful recordings surpassing more than four decades. Carter belted out his tenor vocals smoothly blending them with Marvin Junior's lead baritone to mesmerize audiences equally in concert and on record. The unmatched union of Carter and Junior took The Dells' world-renown legendary songs to a heightened crescendo, from their two #1 R&B hits, "Oh, What a Night" and "Stay in My Corner," to other favorites like "Standing Ovation," "There Is" and "The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind)."
Gamble & Huff's classic hit, "If You Don't Know Me By Now," was originally supposed to be recorded by The Dells, but Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes stepped in and took it to the top of the R&B charts and No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Gamble & Huff wrote over 3,000 songs with in 35 years, including R&B #1 hits, pop #1 hits, gold and platinum records, Grammy winners and BMI songwriters' awards honorees. Featured prominently in television programs ("The Apprentice"), films ("The Nutty Professor") and advertising spots (Verizon, Old Navy, The Gap) for more than 30 years, Gamble and Huff's songs have entered the musical DNA of contemporary culture. In fact, one of their songs is played on the radio somewhere in the world every 13.5 minutes. With a stable core of artists led by the O'Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, MFSB and the Three Degrees, Gamble and Huff co-founded Philadelphia International Records and created monster hits almost from the first day of its inception. Songs they have written and produced together, like "Back Stabbers," "Love Train," "For The Love Of Money," "If You Don't Know Me By Now," "Cowboys to Girls," "Don't Leave Me This Way," "Enjoy Yourself," "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," "Only the Strong Survive" and "TSOP," have received songwriters' awards from Broadcast Music International (BMI). All told, the Gamble-Huff/PIR music machine" has generated over 100 Gold and Platinum records and over 70 #1 hits.
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