R. B. Greaves
|Birth name||Ronald Bertram Aloysius Greaves III|
November 28, 1943|
|Origin||Georgetown, Guyana, but a native-born U.S. citizen|
|Died||September 27, 2012
Granada Hills, California
|Years active||1969 - 70s|
|Labels||Atco Records, Bareback, Sunflower Records|
|Associated acts||Sam Cooke|
Ronald Bertram Aloysius "R. B." Greaves III (November 28, 1943 - September 27, 2012) was an American singer who had chart success in 1969 with the pop single "Take a Letter, Maria". A number two hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, this single sold one million copies, and it earned gold record certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. Greaves also had a Top 40 pop hit one year later with "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me".
Greaves was born in 1943 on the U.S. Army Air Forces base at Georgetown, Guyana. A nephew of Sam Cooke, he grew up on a Seminole Indian reservation in the United States, but he moved to England in 1963. Greaves had built a career both in the Caribbean and in the UK, where he performed under the name Sonny Childe with his group The TNTs. His debut recording "Take a Letter, Maria", released under the name R.B. Greaves, had been recorded by both Tom Jones and Stevie Wonder before the author recorded it himself at the insistence of the president of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegün, who produced it. The song is the story of a man who had learned of his wife's infidelity the night before, and then dictates a letter of separation to Maria, his secretary. This song has a distinct Latino flavor, complete with a mariachi-style horn section.
The record stayed in the Billboard chart for 15 weeks in the United States, selling a million copies. It received gold record certification from the R.I.A.A. on December 11, 1969. By 1970, sales of this song totalled 2.5 million.
Greaves recorded a series of cover versions as follow-ups, including Burt Bacharach's and Hal David's "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" and Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale". Greaves left the label in the 1970s in favor of Bareback Records, and then signed to Sunflower Records. His only chart release for the latter label was "Margie, Who's Watching the Baby". Greaves died from prostate cancer, in Granada Hills, California, on September 27, 2012 at the age of 68.
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||RIAA||Album|
|US||US R&B||US AC|
|1969||"Take a Letter, Maria"||2||10||3||Gold||R.B. Greaves|
|1970||"(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me"||27||50||—||—|
|"Whiter Shade of Pale"||82||—||—||—||single only|
|1972||"Margie, Who's Watching the Baby"||115||—||—||—|
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not certified
- Whitburn, Joel (1992). Fred Weiler, ed. The Billboard Book of USA Top 40 Hits (5 ed.). Guinness. p. 204.
- "R. B. Greaves, Pop Singer, Dies at 68". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-08.(login required)
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 259. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Billboard charted singles". Mike Curb website. p. 23. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
- "Album chart listings for R.B. Greaves". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 August 2009.
- "Singles chart listings for R.B. Greaves". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 August 2009.
- "RIAA search results for R.B. Greaves". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2 August 2009.