Monday, January 28, 2008

Freddie Scott (1933-2007), the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Singer, Topped the R&B Charts in Early 1967

R&B Singer Freddie Scott Joins the Ancestors at 74

Freddie Scott, singer: born Providence, Rhode Island
24 April 1933; married; died 4 June 2007

In 1963, Freddie Scott cut a demonstration record of "Hey Girl", a new song by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The intended recipient was the hit-making Chuck Jackson, but he turned the song down. Instead, Goffin and King liked Scott's voice so much that they recorded their own version with him.

Phil Spector heard the results and said, "You've got to put that out. It's a smash." "Hey Girl" was a Top Ten US hit and became a club favourite in the UK, being covered by several beat groups of the time.

Scott was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1933. In his early teens, he sang with his grandmother's gospel group the Gospel Keys, who performed in the UK in 1946. Freddie Scott studied medicine at the University of Rhode Island but gave it up for singing.

He recorded his first solo single, "Running Home", for the small J&S label in 1956 and a succession of singles for independent labels, including "Baby, You're a Long Time Dead" for Joy.

Scott followed his success with the mesmerising, melancholic "Hey Girl" by having R&B hits with a revival of Ray Charles's "I Got a Woman" and the plaintive "Where Does Love Go?" He made the album Freddie Scott Sings and Sings and Sings (1963), which contained a fine ballad which deserved to be a single, "What Do I See In the Girl", written by Goffin with Jack Keller.

Scott moved to Columbia where the producer Clyde Otis dubbed him "the million-dollar baby" and had him crooning on "One Heartache Too Many" (1964). He did show tunes on the LP Everything I Have Is Yours (1964) and was more soulful on Lonely Man (1965). His final singles for the label were prophetically titled "Don't Let It End This Way" (1965) and "Forget Me If You Can" (1966).

In 1966, he was signed by Bert Berns, the producer, songwriter and owner of Shout Records. Berns, an intensely soulful individual, recorded over 100 takes of "Are You Lonely for Me?" with Scott. It was worth it, as the song topped the R&B charts for four weeks.

Then Scott slowed down Solomon Burke's "Cry to Me" for a chart single and had further success with "Am I Grooving You?" He did well with the album Are You Lonely For Me?, but Berns's death at the end of 1967 meant that he was again on the move.

His only further success was with a soul version of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" in 1970. Mostly, he wrote advertising jingles and took minor acting roles, appearing in the film of the Harold Robbins book Stiletto in 1969.

Scott's key tracks have frequently been reissued and in 1989 the rap singer Biz Markie used Scott's 1968 single, "(You) Got What I Need" for his own "Just a Friend". In 2001, Scott released his first album of new songs in 30 years, Brand New Man. On the Van Morrison tribute album Vanthology (2003), he performed "Brown-Eyed Man".

Spencer Leigh

2 comments:

Pan-African News Wire said...

Freddie Scott

b. 24th April 1933, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.
d. 4th June 2007.

Freddie Scott has died. He was 74.

Durning his career he recorded the songs 'Hey, Girl', 'Are You Lonely For Me?' and 'What Do I See In The Girl'.

Freddie Scott was born on the 24th April 1933, in Providence, Rhode Island, and was a member of the groups Sally Jones & The Gospel Keyes and The Swanee Quintet Juniors, during his lifetime.

As a teenager, although he performed with the Sally Jones group, he pursued a career in medicine, working on his Ph.D. at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia.

Whilst studying medicine, Freddie joined the Swanee Quintet Juniors, whose debut he sang lead vocals on their song 'Far Away Places.'

Freddie abandoned his medical aspirations and looked towards a return to the performing arts.

In 1956 he signed to Zell Sanders' J&S label releasing his debut solo single, 'Running Home.'

In late 1956 he was called up for military duty, briefly serving in Korea.

Returning to recording he joined the Bow and Arrow label and recorded 1957's 'Tell Them for Me.' followed by 'Please Call' and 'A Faded Memory.'

Freddie completed his military service, and recorded for the Enrica label for 1959's 'Come On, Honey.'

He then collaborated with Helen Miller to compose for Al Nevins and Don Kirshner's Brill Building company Aldon Music.

In 1961, Freddie recorded 'Baby, You're a Long Time Dead' for the Joy label.

The following year he was approached by Aldon songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King who wanted some help with their song 'Hey Girl.'

Freddie recorded the song for the Colpix Records imprint making the Top Ten on both the pop and R&B charts.

Freddie then relocated to Columbia, and recorded 'One Heartache Too Many' in 1965, before relocating to the Shout imprint, where he remained for two years.

He recorded for the Elephant V, ABC's Probe imprint before signing to Vanguard in 1971.

Freddie was now making much of his living writing advertising jingles with his long time colleague Helen Miller.

Freddie also moved into acting, appearing in the films 'Stiletto' and 'No Way Out.'

He maintained a live performance schedule into the 1980's, returning to music recording a version of Van Morrison's 'Brown Eyed Girl' for an Evangeline Records tribute album.

In 2001 he released 'Brand New Man', his first new material in almost a quarter of a century.

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