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Levert performing at the 2010 Alabama Music Hall of Fame concert
|Birth name||Edward Wills Levert|
|Born||June 16, 1942|
Bessemer, Alabama, U.S.
Biography and personal life
Levert was born in Bessemer, Alabama, but was raised in Canton, Ohio, where he moved to at the age of 6. He attended church regularly and eventually joined the church choir. As Levert continued singing into his teenage years, he became a recognized voice in the church choir, sang in school plays and performed regularly on a gospel radio show.
By the time he reached high school, young Levert knew that singing was what he wanted to do, teaming up with classmates Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles to form a group called the Triumphs. The Triumphs played locally in Canton opening for different acts, playing sock hops and just about everything that came up. Their big break came when The Triumphs traveled to Cincinnati to canvas King Records. King Records President Sid Nathan, immediately impressed, changed their name to The Mascots and signed them to his label. The Mascots’ popularity grew as their songs could be heard with increased frequency on Cleveland radio stations.
In 1969, The O’Jays signed with Philadelphia International Records where they released hit after hit and were propelled to stardom. The O'Jays later signed with EMI-Manhattan Records and Levert and Williams began co-writing and producing their own tracks. Their EMI debut album, “Let Me Touch You”, went to number three R&B and boasted "Lovin' You," the number one R&B hit from the summer 1987.
In 1984, Eddie saw a proud moment as his sons Gerald and Sean, both still in high school, announced that they wanted to follow their dad's footsteps and make their way in the music industry. The family teamed up with good friend Marc Gordon recording under the group name LeVert - four of their seven albums went platinum. In 1992 Eddie and son Gerald recorded "Baby Hold On to Me" which hit #1 R&B and #37 Pop on the charts.
In 2006, upon returning from a very successful South African tour with sons Gerald and Sean, tragedy struck as Eddie’s son Gerald unexpectedly lost his life due to interactions between his prescribed medications. In 2007, Eddie and son Gerald’s album recorded in 2006, "Something To Talk About" was released followed by the publication of the highly anticipated book "I Got Your Back" co-authored by Eddie and son Gerald. In 2008 tragedy, struck again as Eddie’s son Sean became a fatality of being denied needed prescription medication by government officials in Ohio. Later that year, while still trying to cope with the loss of both sons, Eddie and his late son Gerald were presented with "Best Duo or Group" Image Award. In 2009, The O’Jays were awarded BET’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ and Eddie Levert was awarded the “Heroes and Legends Pacesetter Award”. On January 29, 2011, The O’Jays received the “Trumpet Lifetime Achievement Award”. Throughout Eddie Levert’s career, The O’Jays have released 10 Gold Albums, with 9 eventually going Platinum and 10 #1 hits.
Currently, Mr. Levert is actively performing and touring the world with The O’Jays well as performing as a solo artist. Eddie Levert also currently resides in Las Vegas, NV with his wife Raquel and daughter Ryan.
He is the third cousin of NBA Basketball player Caris LeVert.
- 4 Grammy Nominations
- 4 American Music Award Nominations
- 1990 American Music Award for "Best Duo" and "Best Group"
- NAACP Award for "Outstanding Vocal Group" in 1991
- Soul of America Award in 1993
- Award for "Lifetime Commitment to the Community for service and beautiful sounds that continue to change the face of music" from 100 Black Men (October 20, 2001)
- Award for "Supporting the UNCF", given to The O'Jays at the 18th Annual Mayor's Ball in Atlanta, Georgia (United Negro College Fund Mask Award) (December 15, 2001)
- Soul Train 2002 Quincy Jones Award for "Outstanding Career Achievement in the field of Entertainment"
- 2003 Wall of Fame Honor in Canton, Ohio
- 2003 State of Ohio for Outstanding Achievements
- 2003 Mayors Citation from the City of Canton, Ohio
- 2003 Honorary Sheriff conferred on The O'Jays by The city of New Orleans
- 2004 Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Pennsylvania
- 2005 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio
- 2009 Black Entertainment Television Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2011 Trumpet Lifetime Achievement Award
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