Ohio Players

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Ohio Players
Also known as The Ohio Untouchables
Origin Dayton, Ohio, United States
Genres Funk, Disco, R&B, soul
Years active 1959 (1959)–2002 (2002)
Labels Westbound, Mercury, Arista, Boardwalk
Website Official website
Past members Cornelius Johnson
Walter "Junie" Morrison
Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner
Marshall "Rock" Jones
Robert "Rumba" Jones
Billy Beck
Wes Boatman
Dean Simms
Mervin Pierce
Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks
Jimmy Sampson
Vincent Thomas
James "Diamond" Williams
Clarence Willis
Greg Webster
Bruce Napier
Andrew Noland
Clarence "Satch" Satchell
Bobby Lee Fears
Dutch Robinson
Robert Ward

The Ohio Players were an American funk and R&B band, most popular in the 1970s. They are best known for their #1 hit songs "Fire" and "Love Rollercoaster".

Gold certifications, records selling at least one million copies, were awarded to the singles "Funky Worm", "Skin Tight", "Fire", and "Love Rollercoaster"; plus to their albums Skin Tight, Fire, and Honey.[1]

On August 17, 2013, The Ohio Players were inducted into the inaugural class of the Official R&B Music Hall of Fame that took place in Cleveland, O. at Cleveland St. U.

History[edit]

The band formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959[2] as the Ohio Untouchables, and initially included members Robert Ward (vocals/guitar), Marshall "Rock" Jones (bass), Clarence "Satch" Satchell (saxophone/guitar), Cornelius Johnson (drums), and Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks (trumpet/trombone). They were best known at the time as a backing group for Detroit's The Falcons.[2]

The Ohio Untouchables broke up in 1963 with Ward leaving for a solo career, but the core members of the group returned to Dayton and the following year added Gregory Webster (drums) along with Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner (guitar), who would become the group's front man.[2] The group added two more singers, Bobby Lee Fears and Dutch Robinson, and became the house band for the New York-based Compass Records and vocalist Helena Ferguson Kilpatrick in 1967---she had just returned from Gershwin's European Tour of Porgy and Bess.

The group disbanded again in 1970. After again reforming with a line-up including Bonner, Satchell, Middlebrooks, Jones, Webster, trumpeter Bruce Napier, vocalist Charles Dale Allen, trombonist Marvin Pierce, and keyboardist Walter "Junie" Morrison, the Players had a minor hit on the Detroit-based Westbound label in 1971 with "Pain", which reached the Top 40 of the Billboard R&B chart. James Johnson joined the group at this time as vocalist and saxophonist. Dale Allen shared co-lead vocals on some of the early Westbound material, although he was not credited on their albums Pain and Pleasure.

The band's first big hit single was "Funky Worm", which reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and made the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1973. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in May of that year.[1] The band signed with Mercury Records in 1974. By then, their line-up had changed again, with keyboardist Billy Beck instead of Morrison and Jimmy "Diamond" Williams on drums instead of Webster. On later album releases, they added second guitarist/vocalist Clarence 'Chet' Willis and conga player Robert "Rumba" Jones. Meanwhile, keyboardist Walter "Junie" Morrison recorded three albums on his own before joining Funkadelic as the force behind their hit One Nation Under A Groove.

The band had seven Top 40 hits between 1973 and 1976. These included "Fire" (#1 on both the R&B and pop chart for two weeks and one week respectively in February 1975 and another million seller) and "Love Rollercoaster" (#1 on both the R&B and pop charts for one week in January 1976; another gold disc recipient).[1] The group also took on saxophonist James Johnson. The group's last big hit was "Who'd She Coo?" a #1 R&B hit in August 1976. It was their only success in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at #43 on the UK Singles Chart in July 1976.[3]

Clarence Satchell (born April 15, 1940) died December 30, 1995 after suffering a brain aneurysm;[4] Ralph Middlebrooks (born August 20, 1939) died in November 1997;[5] and Robert Ward (born October 15, 1938) died at home December 25, 2008.[6] Cornelius Johnson (born July 12, 1937) died February 1, 2009.[7] Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner (born March 14, 1943, Hamilton, O.,) died January 26, 2013 at age 69.[8] Marshall Jones resides in Jamestown, Ohio.[2]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
Record label
US
[9]
US
R&B

[9]
CAN
[10]
1968 Observations in Time Capitol
1972 Pain 177 21 Westbound
Pleasure 63 4
1973 Ecstasy 70 19
1974 Skin Tight 11 1 15 Mercury
Fire 1 1 17
1975 Honey 2 1 36
1976 Contradiction 12 1 26
1977 Angel 41 9 58
Mr. Mean 68 11 65
1978 Jass-Ay-Lay-Dee 69 15
1979 Everybody Up 80 19 Arista
1981 Tenderness 165 49 Boardwalk
Ouch! 201
1984 Graduation Century Vista
1988 Back 55 Track Record
"—" denotes the release failed to chart or was not certified

Live albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
Record label
US
[9]
US
R&B

[9]
CAN
[10]
1972 First Impressions Trip
1974 The Ohio Players 32 Capitol
Climax 102 24 Westbound
1975 Greatest Hits 92 22
Rattlesnake 61 8
1976 Gold 31 10 28 Mercury
1977 The Best of the Early Years, Vol. 1 58 Westbound
1995 Funk on Fire: The Mercury Anthology Mercury
1998 Orgasm: The Very Best of the Westbound Years Westbound
2000 The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Ohio Players Mercury
2008 Gold Island/Mercury
"—" denotes the release failed to chart or was not certified

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions
US
[12]
US
R&B

[12]
CAN
[10]
1967 "Neighbors"
1968 "Trespassin'" 50
"It's a Crying Shame"
1969 "Bad Bargain"
"Find Someone to Love"
1971 "Pain (Part 1)" 64 35 91
1972 "Pleasure" 45
"Varee Is Love"
1973 "Funky Worm" 15 1 50
"Ecstasy" 31 12
"Sleep Talk"
1974 "Jive Turkey (Part 1)" 47 6 71
"Skin Tight" 13 2 19
"Fire" [A] 1 1 5
1975 "I Want to Be Free" 44 6 51
"Sweet Sticky Thing" 33 1 60
"Love Rollercoaster" 1 1 2
1976 "Fopp" 30 9 43
"Rattlesnake" 90 69
"Who'd She Coo?" [B] 18 1 63
"Far East Mississippi" 26
1977 "Feel the Beat (Everybody Disco)" 61 31
"Body Vibes" 19
"O-H-I-O" 45 9 88
"Merry Go Round" 77
"Good Luck Charm (Part 1)" 101 51
1978 "Magic Trick" 93
"Funk-O-Nots" 105 27
"Time Slips Away" 53
1979 "Everybody Up" 33
1981 "Try a Little Tenderness" 40
"Skinny" 46
"The Star of the Party"
1984 "Sight for Sore Eyes" 83
1988 "Sweat" 50
"Let's Play (From Now On)" 33
"—" denotes the release failed to chart
Notes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 332, 348, 349 & 362. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d McGinn, Andrew (May 30, 2009). "Ohio Players bassist retires to funky town — Jamestown". Springfield (Ohio) News-Sun. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 405. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ Thedeadrockstarsclub.com (1995) Accessed April 2010
  5. ^ Thedeadrockstarsclub.com (1996) Accessed April 2010
  6. ^ Cartwright, Garth (March 4, 2009). "Obituary: Robert Ward". The Guardian. guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  7. ^ Soulwalking.co.uk band profile (accessed 27 January 2013)
  8. ^ Death notice from WTLC 106.7 FM Indianapolis, 27 January 2013 (accessed 27 January 2013)
  9. ^ a b c d "US Albums Charts > Ohio Players". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  10. ^ a b c "CAN Charts > Ohio Players". RPM. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "US Certifications > Ohio Players". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  12. ^ a b "US Singles Charts > Ohio Players". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 

External links[edit]