The Showstoppers

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The Showstoppers
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres R&B, Soul
Years active 1967-1972
Labels Showtime, Guyden, Heritage, MGM, Beacon.
Past members "Alex" Burke
"Laddie" Burke
Earl Smith
Timmy Smith

The Showstoppers (alternatively The Show Stoppers)[1] was a four-piece African American vocal soul group formed in Philadelphia about 1967.[1] They are best remembered for their 1967 hit, "Ain't Nothin' But a Houseparty",[1] which was the debut release on three record labels: Showtime Records, Heritage Records, and Beacon Records.[2]

History[edit]

The Showstoppers was formed about 1967 by brothers, Elec Edward "Alex" Burke (born 16 February 1948 in Philadelphia)[3] and Vladimir H. "Laddie" Burke (born 31 July 1949 in Philadelphia),[4] who were the two oldest of the five younger brothers of Atlantic Record's star Solomon Burke, who joined with fellow Germantown High School students, brothers Earl Smith (born 1949 in Massachusetts) and Timmy Smith (born 1 February 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts).[1][5] The Burke brothers had been in show business since at least 1957 as part of a four-member group with two of their two younger brothers.[6]

"Ain't Nothin' But a House Party" (1967)[edit]

After rehearsing under the guidance of Solomon Burke,[1] they modeled themselves initially on The Vibrations.[7] After signing to local Philadelphia label Showtime Records, The Showstoppers had a couple of local hit singles in Philadelphia.[7] Their 1967 hit "Ain't Nothin' But a Houseparty" b/w "What Can a Man Do?" (STR 101),[8] sold well in Pittsburgh, and New York City,[9] and sold about 40,000 copies in Philadelphia, and reached #118 on the Billboard charts on May 27, 1967.[10][11] The session musicians on the song included Carl Chambers, who was later drummer with Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Joe Thomas, who went on to become the guitarist with The Impressions.

By early 1968 Antiguan-born American businessman Milton Samuel,[12][13][14] the head of Beacon Records, a small independent record label started in January 1968 in the Afro-Caribbean London suburb of Willesden,[15] who was later Antigua & Barbuda's Ambassador to the UK and the founder of the Bank of Antigua,[16][17] purchased the UK leasing rights for "Ain't Nothing But a House Party" for only £30.[14] On February 16, 1968, "Ain't Nothing But a House Party" became the first release on Beacon Records,[18][19][20] (giving it its only hit).[1] In March 1968 Samuel and Mike Berry of Apple Records had negotiated a deal for "Ain't Nothing But a House Party" to be released through a newly created Milton Apple Music,[21] but the inability to locate one of The Beatles to approve the deal forced Samuel to make alternate arrangements.[22][23] Initially distributed through the British Independent Record Distributors Network,[15][24] "Ain't Nothing But a House Party" caught on with DJs in the UK, and spent 16 weeks in the charts, debuting at #57 on March 2, 1968,[25] before entering the Top 40 at #38 on March 23, 1968.[26] By the end of March, Samuel organized a British visit for the Showstoppers.[27] The Showstoppers made the first of their three appearances on the British television program Top of the Pops on April 18, 1968. According to one British source, "Ain't Nothing But a House Party" "was played to death and back to life at the Twisted Wheel and Blue Note Club in Manchester",[28] and peaked at #11 on May 4, 1968 in the UK Singles Chart.[29] Later in May 1968 "Ain't Nothin' But a House Party" was released in Germany on Ariola Records and France on Barclay Records, and later released by Beacon in Scandinavia, the Benelux countries, Austria, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.[2]

Jerry J. Ross (born May 1, 1933 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania),[30][31] the head of newly created Heritage Records, heard about "Ain't Nothin' But a House Party" from Hal Charm, his national promotions director,[30] and decided to buy the master recordings of "Ain't Nothin' But a House Party" by late April 1968, and also signed the Showstoppers to his label, became their manager, and organized MGM to distribute its re-release in the USA.[32] Despite rights being acquired for national release by MGM, it failed to become a national hit,[1] spending 5 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #87 on June 22, 1968.[11][33] It was ranked #20 on the Soul Brothers Top 20 on August 15, 1968.[34]

"Ain't Nothin' But a House Party" was a discothèque hit (#33) in 1971.[35]

Regarded as a Northern soul classic, the song has been covered by The Tremeloes (1968);[36] The Paper Dolls; Cliff Richard on his album Cliff: Live at the Talk of the Town (1970);[37] The J. Geils Band, who had a #2 AOR U.S. hit with it in 1973; and Phil Fearon, who recorded a house music version produced by Stock Aitken Waterman in 1986 that reached #60 in the UK charts.[38][39][40] "Ain't Nothing But a House Party" was covered in 1988 by British "supergroup" The Corporation.

"Eeny Meeny" (1968)[edit]

All of The Showstoppers subsequent singles were produced by Indian-British producer Biddu and recorded by Beacon Records in England.[41] The Showstoppers' follow-up single, "Eeny Meeny" b/w "How Easy the Heart Forgets" (Heritage HE 802), was released in September 1968 in the USA, but it failed to chart there.[42] On November 7, 1968 The Showstoppers appeared on Beat! Beat! Beat!, a West German television show,[43] where they lip synched "Ain't Nothin' But a House Party" and their new release, "Eeny Meeny".[44] After Milton Samuel negotiated a deal in October 1968 to distribute Beacon Records recordings through EMI,[24] on November 13, 1968 "Eeny Meeny",[35] (MGM 1436), entered the UK charts, where it spent the next 7 weeks, peaking at #33.[45]

Later releases (1968-1972)[edit]

The Showstoppers released several more singles, including "Shake Your Mini" (1968);[46] and 1969's "Just A Little Bit Of Lovin'" b/w "School Prom" (Beacon BEA 130),[47] however none achieved chart success.

Chart success in the UK and Europe "created demand not only for the record but for live appearances as well". As the Showstoppers had disbanded, Jerry Ross sent a different group on an entire tour of the UK and Europe as The Show Stoppers,[48] which was a group later known as The Persuaders, who would later score with "Thin Line Between Love and Hate". Eventually the authentic Showstoppers traveled to Europe and were well received.

On January 17, 1971 The Showstoppers performed at the Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester, England. The Showstoppers made their third and final appearance on Top of the Pops on February 28, 1971, singing the disco version of "Aint' Nothing But a House Party".[49][50]

After their own tour of Europe, and in the absence of any other hit records, The Showstoppers disbanded finally about 1972.[7]

Group members[edit]

Discography[edit]

Singles (45 rpm)[edit]

Title (A Side/B Side) (Label Number) Year

  • "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party"[51] (written by Del Sharh (born Carlton James Fisher),[52][53][54] and Joe Thomas)[55] (2:35) Producer: Bruce Charles/
    "What Can A Man Do??" (written by Joseph David Thomas, Jr., and Ricky Castell)[56] (2:28) (Producer: Drew Stewart) (US: Party Time Records 1002) (US: Showtime STR101) (US: Guyden Records 2131) (1967)[57]
  • "Ain't Nothing But A House Party" (written by Del Sharh (born Carl Fisher), and Joe Thomas) (2:35) Producer: Bruce Charles/
    "What Can A Man Do??" (2:28) Producer: Drew Stewart (US: Showtime STR101) (US: Heritage HE-800)[58] (UK: Beacon Records 3-100) (Germany: Polydor NH 66813) (Germany: Ariola 14.026-AT) (1968) (UK Beacon BEA-100) (1970) (Germany: Metronome M 25299) (1971) (UK: Cream Records CRM 5005) (1976) (US: Disco International DIS 1507-45);[59][60][61][62][63][64]
  • "Eeny Meeny" (written by Jerry J. Ross, Raymond Bloodworth, and L. Russell Brown)[65] (produced by Jerry Ross) (arranged by Joe Renzetti) (2:23) /
    "How Easy Your Heart Forgets Me" (written by Mark Barkan, and Don Marchand)[66] (2:10) (US: Heritage HE 802)[58] (UK: MGM 1436)[42][45] (1968) Producer Jerry Ross;[67] (US: MGM 2006-038) (April 1971)[68][69]
  • "Shake Your Mini" (written by Del Sharh) Arranger: Leon Mitchell /
    "Shake Your Mini" (organ instrumental by Ronnie Dee) (US: Showtime ST-111) (1968)[70][71]
  • "Shake Your Mini" (written by Del Sharh) Arranger: Leon Mitchell /
    "Heartbreaker" (written by John Fitch, Jr.)[72][73] (UK: Beacon 3-106) (1968)[70][74]
  • "Don't Leave Me Standing in the Rain" (written by Apiah) (Produced by Biddu & Milton Samuel) /
    "Do You Need My Love" (written by Apiah)[75] (Produced by Biddu & Milton Samuel) (UK: Beacon Records BEA 110) (1969)[76] Reissue (27 October 1972;[77]
  • "Just A Little Bit Of Lovin'" (written by Elbert, Henry Glover, & Sonny Thompson)[78] (produced by Jerry Ross) /
    "School Prom" (written by Tesse Gillis & Milton Smith)[79][80] (credited to "The Showstoppers", but actually performed by The Fortune Tellers)[81][82][83] (produced by Jerry Ross) (UK: Beacon BEA 130) (UK: Beacon 182) (1969).[47]
  • "Reach in the Goody Bag" (written by Carl Fisher) /
    "How Do You Feel" (UK: Beacon Records BEA 177) (1971) Producer: Milton Samuel and The Showstoppers;[84][85][86]
  • "Action Speaks Louder Than Words" (produced by Biddu) (2:35) /
    "Pick Up Your Smile" (written by Smith) (2:24) (Germany: Decca DL 25 483) (1971) Arranged by Gerry Shury. Licensed from Beacon Records.[87]
  • "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party" (written by Del Sharh (born Carl Fisher), and Joe Thomas) (2:35) Producer: Bruce Charles /
    "Gotta Get Close to My Love" (UK: Inferno Heat 120) (1979) Reissue leased from Party-Time Records, Philly.[88]
  • "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party" (The Showstoppers) /
    "Pop-Pop-Pop-Eye" (performed by The Sherrys) (written by David White & John Medora) (Jamie J 918) Reissue.[89]

Compilations[edit]

LPs[edit]

  • Old 'N Golden - Various Artists [1967] (Jamie JLPS-3031) - "Ain't Nothing But A House Party" [original version] - Showstoppers;[90]
  • Famous 56 Music Power - Various Artists [1968] (Lost Nite LP-133) - "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party" - Showstoppers;[91]
  • Colossus Gold - Various Artists [1971] (Colossus Records CGS-5001) - "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party" - Show Stoppers;[92]
  • Out On The Floor Tonight _ Various Artists [1979] (INFERNO 001) - "Got To Get Closer To My Love" - The Showstoppers;[93]
  • Casino Classics - Chapter Two - Various Artists [1980] (Casino Classics CCLP1002) - "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party" - Showstoppers;[94]
  • Tainted Love by Gloria Jones plus 10 Northern Soul Classics - Various Artists [1982] (Inferno 12Heat6) - "Ain't Nothin' But a House Party";[95]
  • Soul Shots, Volume 1: Dance Party - Various Artists [1987] (Rhino RNLP/RNC 70037) - "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party" - Show Stoppers;[96]
  • Soul Shots: A Collection of Sixties Soul Classics - Volume 1 - Various Artists [1988] - (Rhino R2 75774) - "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party" - Show Stoppers;[97]
  • Ain't Nothin But A House Party: '60S Soul & Northern Classics - Various Artists [1994] - (Heritage) (Released on CD 2005)[98] "Ain't Nothin' But a House Party", "What Can a Man Do", "Eeny Meeny", and "How Easy Your Heart Forgets Me".[98]
  • Beg Scream & Shout: The Big Ol' Box of '60s Soul - Various Artists [1997] - (Rhino Records) - "Ain't Nothin' But a House Party" - Show Stoppers.[99][100]

Compact discs[edit]

  • Northern Soul Fever, Volume One - Various Artists [1993] (UK: Goldmine Soul Supply GSCD27) - "What Can A Man Do" - The Showstoppers;[101]
  • The Jamie/Guyden Story - Various Artists [1995] (Bear Family (Germany) BCD 15874-BH) (2-CD set) - Disc 1: "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party" - Show Stoppers (1967 version);[102]
  • The Best Sixties Party - Various Artists [2004] (Virgin, EMI VTDCD 645) - "Ain't Nothing But A Houseparty" - The Showstoppers;[103]
  • Let's Copp a Groove: Lost UK Soul 1968-1972 - Various Artists [2003] [RPM] - "Do You Need My Love" - Showstoppers;
  • Best Of The 60's Mod - Various Artists [2004] (Castle Pulse) "Ain't Nothing But a House Party" - Showstoppers.[104]
  • Northern Soul Essential Floorfillers - Various Artists [2006] (Metro) - "Ain't Nothing But A Houseparty" - Showstoppers;
  • Come On Soul! Vol. 2 - Various Artists [2007] (Legere) "Eeny Meeny" - The Showstoppers.[105]
  • Keeping The Faith: 40 Years Of Northern Soul - Memories & Souvenirs [2007] (Castle Music) (4-CD set) Disc 1: "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party" - Showstoppers.
  • Chart Toppers, Vol. 27 - Various Artists [2009] (Top Hits Group) - "Ain't Nothin' But A House Party" - Show Stoppers
  • Ultimate 60s: 60 Classic Tracks of the Decade - Various Artists - [2010] (Music Club) "Ain't Nothing Like A House Party" - The Showstoppers;

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Further reading[edit]

  • Larkin, Colin, ed. The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Vol. 3. Guinness, 1992.
  • Larkin, Colin, ed. The Virgin Encyclopedia of R&B and Soul. Virgin (in association with Muze Inc.), 1998.

External links[edit]