The Dramatics

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The Dramatics
Origin Detroit, United States
Genres Rhythm & blues, soul, pop
Years active 1962 – present
Labels Volt Records
ABC Records
Members Willie Ford
Larry "L.J." Reynolds
Winzell Kelly
Michael Brock
Past members Ron Banks (deceased)
Larry "Squirrel" Demps
Larry Reed
Roderick Davis
Elbert Wilkins (deceased)
William "Wee Gee" Howard (deceased)
Lenny Mayes (deceased)
Craig Jones
Steven Boyd
Robert Ellington
James Mack Brown (deceased)

The Dramatics (formerly The Dynamics) are an American soul music vocal group, formed in Detroit, Michigan, in 1962. They are best known for their 1970s hit songs "In the Rain" and "Whatcha See is Whatcha Get", both of which were Top 10 Pop hits.[1]

Career[edit]

The Dramatics originally formed in 1962, recording as the Dynamics in 1965. Their first release in 1965 was entitled "Bingo" and the B-side was entitled "Somewhere". It was recorded for the late Ed Wingate's "Wingate" record label, a division of Golden World Records in Detroit, Michigan. Wingate changed the name of the group had a mis-print was called the Dynamics to The Dramatics in 1966 for the group's second release: "Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo", the B-side was entitled: "Baby I Need You", also released on the Wingate Records label. By 1967, Motown had absorbed the entire Golden World Records operation, including their publishing: Myto Music BMI, The Golden World, Ric Tic, and Wingate Record labels, as well as recording artists. The Dramatics moved to Sport Records where they garnered their first minor hit single, "All Because of You."

The Dramatics signed to Stax-Volt Records in 1968. However, the group did not break through until their 1971 single, "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get," which broke into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #9.[1] Their first million selling disc "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" was awarded gold disc status by the R.I.A.A. in December 1971.[1]

Their members at this time were Ron Banks (who died of a heart attack on March 4, 2010, at the age of 58),[2] William "Wee Gee" Howard (who died of a heart attack on February 22, 2000, at the age of 49), Elbert Wilkins (who died of a heart attack on December 13, 1992, at the age of 45), Willie Ford, Larry Demps and keyboardist James Mack Brown (who died on November 28, 2008, at the age of 58). Shortly after the success of their first album, Howard and Wilkins left the group. They were replaced by Larry James "L.J." Reynolds and Leonard "Lenny" Mayes. Through the 1970s, the group appeared on Soul Train and continued to have hits, including the #1 R&B hit, "In the Rain", "Toast to the Fool", "Me and Mrs. Jones" (originally by Billy Paul), "I'm Going By The Stars In Your Eyes" and "Be My Girl." "In the Rain" also sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[1] Many of the Dramatics' songs were written by Tony Hester, a Detroit writer/producer who was shot to death in a street robbery in 1980.

In the meantime, Howard and Wilkins formed a Dramatics splinter group, and came up with a minor R&B hit, "No Rebate on Love." To distinguish themselves from this group, the core group temporarily dubbed themselves 'Ron Banks and The Dramatics'. Howard eventually returned to the group for two albums, Somewhere in Time: A Dramatic Reunion and Positive State Of Mind, before departing again.

The Dramatics also were guests on the Snoop Doggy Dogg song, "Doggy Dogg World". The song appeared on Snoop's 1993 debut album, Doggystyle. In 2002 The Dramatics appeared on Snoop Dogg's sixth studio album Paid tha cost to be tha boss on the song "Ballin'", produced by Battlecat.[citation needed]

The group continues to tour and presently consists of Reynolds, Ford, Winzell Kelly and Michael Brock, who replaced Mayes (who died of lung cancer on November 8, 2004, at the age of 53).

The Dramatics were also mentioned in the book The Algiers Motel Incident by John Hersey (ISBN 0-8018-5777-5). They were staying at the Algiers Motel, following a performance at Detroit's Fox Theatre, during an alleged murder by members of the Detroit Police Department, which was one of the incidents that sparked the Detroit Riots of 1967.

The Dramatics "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" appeared in the 2003 documentary 8 Wheels & Some Soul Brotha' Music, in the 2005 documentary Sunday Driver, as well as the movies, Wattstax and Darktown Strutters, and the 2007 Petey Greene biopic, Talk To Me. The Dramatics were officially inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame at Cleveland State University's Waetejen Auditorium on Saturday August 17, 2013.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
Record label
US
[3]
US
R&B

[3]
CAN
[4]
1972 Whatcha See is Whatcha Get 20 5 Volt
1973 A Dramatic Experience 86 11
1974 The Dells vs. The Dramatics 156 15 Cadet
Dramatically Yours [A] 36 Volt
1975 The Dramatic Jackpot [A] 31 9 89 ABC
Drama V 93 10
1976 Joy Ride 103 11
1977 Shake It Well 60 10
1978 Do What You Wanna Do 44 6 72
1979 Anytime, Anyplace 15
1980 10½ 61 14 MCA
The Dramatic Way 38
1982 New Dimension 40 Capitol
1986 Somewhere in Time (A Dramatic Reunion) Fantasy
1989 Positive State of Mind 80 Volt
1990 Stone Cold
1994 Mellow Drama Groovesville
1997 A Dramatic Christmas: The Very Best Christmas of All Fantasy
1999 If You Come Back to Me Volt
2002 Look Inside BBEG
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.
  • A Album credited to Ron Banks & the Dramatics.

Live albums[edit]

  • Live (1988, Stax)
  • Greatest Hits Live (2002, Stax)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • The Best of the Dramatics (1976, Volt)
  • Be My Girl: Their Greatest Love Songs (1998, Hip-O)
  • Shake It Well: The Best of the Dramatics 1974-1980 (1998, MCA)
  • Say the Word: Their Greatest Love Songs, Vol. 2 (1999, Hip-O)
  • Ultimate Collection (2000, Hip-O)
  • 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Dramatics (2005, Hip-O)
  • The Very Best of the Dramatics (2007, Stax)
  • Slum Village - Prequel to a Classic, track 9 Do Our Thing)

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions
US
[3]
US
R&B

[3]
CAN
[4]
1965 "Bingo"
1966 "Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo"
1967 "All Because of You" 43
1968 "Toy Soldier"
1969 "Your Love Was Strange"
1971 "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" 9 3 44
"Get Up and Get Down" 78 16
1972 "In the Rain" 5 1 31
"Toast to the Fool" 67 18
1973 "Hey You! Get Off My Mountain" 43 5
"Fell for You" 45 12
1974 "And I Panicked" 49
"Choosing Up on You" (A-Side) 30
"Door to Your Heart" (B-Side) 62 25
"Highway to Heaven" [B]
"Don't Make Me No Promises" (A-Side) 63
1975 "Tune Up" (B-Side) 74
"Me and Mrs. Jones" [B] 47 4 78
"Love Is Missing from Our Lives" (with The Dells) 46
"(I'm Going by) The Stars in Your Eyes" [B] 81 22
"You're Fooling You" 87 10
1976 "Treat Me Like a Man" 49
"Finger Fever" 23
"Be My Girl" 53 3 65
1977 "I Can't Get Over You" 101 9 99
"Shake It Well" 76 4
1978 "Ocean of Thoughts and Dreams" 106 17
"Stop Your Weeping" 22
"Do What You Want to Do" 56
1979 "I Just Wanna Dance with You" 35
"That's My Favorite Song" 40
1980 "Welcome Back Home" 9
"Be with the One You Love" 79
"Get It" 59
"You're the Best Thing in My Life" 26
1982 "Live It Up" 40
"Treat Me Right" 62
1986 "Luv's Calling"
"One Love Ago" 61
"When Love Is Over"
1988 "Born to Be Wild"
"We Are the Champions" (with Thomas Hearns)
1989 "Bridge Over Troubled Water" 93
1990 "Ready 4 Love"
1996 "Try Love Again" 82
1997 "The Golden Horn"
1998 "Saying Goodbye"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.
  • B Single credited to Ron Banks & the Dramatics.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 292 & 312. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  2. ^ McCollum, Brian (2010-03-04). "Dramatics founder Ron Banks dead at 58". freep.com. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "US Albums Charts > The Dramatics". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-03-31. 
  4. ^ a b "CAN Charts > The Dramatics". RPM. Retrieved 2013-03-31. 
  5. ^ "US Certifications > The Dramatics". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2013-03-31. 

External links[edit]