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Fatback Band

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Fatback Band
OriginNew York City, U.S.
GenresFunk, soul, R&B, disco
Years active1970–present
LabelsPerception, Event, Spring, Cotillion
  • Bill "Fatback" Curtis
  • Cordell "Pete" Everett
  • Ed Jackson
  • Isabella Dunn Gordon
  • Ledjerick Todd Woods
  • George Williams
  • Darryl McAllister
  • Bob "Zoot" James
Past members
  • Earl Shelton
  • Quenetta “Que” Simpson
  • Gerry Thomas
  • Johnny Flippin
  • Johnny King
  • Billy Hamilton
  • Wayne Wilford
  • Michael Walker

The Fatback Band (later, simply Fatback) is an American funk and disco band that was popular in the 1970s and 1980s. The Fatback Band is most known for their R&B hits: "(Do the) Spanish Hustle", "I Like Girls", "Gotta Get My Hands on Some (Money)", "Backstrokin'" and "I Found Lovin'".

Their 1979 single "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" is generally considered the first commercially released hip hop single.[1]


Formed in New York City in 1970, the Fatback Band was the concept of Bill Curtis, an experienced session drummer, inspired to merge the "fatback" jazz beat of New Orleans into a funk band. In addition to Curtis, the band's initial line-up included guitarist Johnny King, bassist Johnny Flippin, trumpet player George Williams, saxophonist Earl Shelton, flautist George Adams, and keyboardist Gerry Thomas.[2] The band specialized in playing "street funk". The group also later included conga player Wayne Woolford, vocalists Jayne and Gerry, Deborah Cooper saxophonist Fred Demerey, guitarist Louis Wright and George Victory.[3]

The Fatback Band signed to Perception Records and had a hit single that summer with "Street Dance". The single reached the top 30 on the US Billboard R&B chart, but failed to cross over to the Pop chart, a pattern the group would follow for the rest of their career. The band released the albums Let's Do It Again, People Music, and Feel My Soul before signing to Event Records in 1974.[3]

In the mid-1970s, the band incorporated jazz elements and moved more towards a disco sound resulting in the singles, "Keep On Steppin'", "Yum, Yum (Give Me Some)", and "(Are You Ready) Do the Bus Stop". The singles proved popular in dance clubs, but did not do as well on the R&B chart until the spring of 1976 when "(Do The) Spanish Hustle" came close to the top ten.[3]

Now recording for Spring/Polydor, the group continued with the singles "Party Time", "The Booty", and "Double Dutch". Late 1977 brought a name change to Fatback, and in 1978 they found their first top ten single with "I Like Girls". The song "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" is often considered to be the first commercially released rap single, having shipped just a week before the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" in October 1979.[1]

In 1980, Fatback had a pair of their biggest hits with "Gotta Get My Hands on Some (Money)" and "Backstrokin'". Also finding the charts in the 1980s were "Take It Any Way You Want It", "I Found Lovin'" and "Spread Love", with singer Evelyn Thomas, in 1985. Whilst American pop success proved elusive, the group made regular appearances on the UK Singles Chart, including the top ten twice with "(Do The) Spanish Hustle" and "I Found Lovin'";[4] the latter also covered by British disc jockey Steve Walsh, reached the top ten at the same time as the original version.[5]

Keyboardist Gerry Thomas was simultaneously a member of the Jimmy Castor Bunch,[6] so the band elected to remain close to the New York area instead of extensive touring. They had substantial success in UK. As recent as 2019, the Fatback Band performed at multiple concerts and festivals in London and other cities in England. Their 2020 tour was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have a new album to be released in 2021 and have performances scheduled in July 2021.

Band members[edit]


  • Bill "Fatback" Curtis – drums/percussions (1970–present)
  • Xavier Zack Guinn – bass guitar, vocals (2015–present)
  • Ledjerick Todd Woods – trumpet (2002–present)
  • Darryl McAllister – guitar, vocals (2005–present)
  • Isabella Dunn Gordon – vocals
  • Montreal Parker – drums
  • Marell Glenn – keyboards (2018–present)


  • Billy Hamilton – organ, keyboard (1970–1972)
  • Earl Shelton – saxophone (1970–1979)
  • Johnny King – guitar, vocals (1970–1979)
  • Johnny Flippin – bass, percussion, vocals (1971–1983)
  • Gerry Thomas – keyboard (1971–1985)
  • George Adams – flute (1972–1974)
  • Skip Walker – drums (1985–1988, 2007)
  • Tom Browne – trumpet (1976)
  • Najee – saxophone (1983)
  • John DeBerry – vocals (1985–1988, 1997)
  • Wayne Wilford – percussion (1973)
  • Fred Demery – saxophone (1977, 1979–1981)
  • Louis Wright – guitar (1976–1977)
  • George Victory – guitar (1977, 1979–1981, 1983)
  • Deborah Cooper – backing vocals (1977–1979)
  • Michael Walker – keyboard, vocals (1981, 1983)
  • Robert Damper – keyboard (1983–1987)
  • Linda Blakely (d.1994) – vocals (1982–1987)[7]
  • Vernon Lloyd – bass guitar, vocals (1983–1990)
  • Quenetta "Que" Simpson – vocals (1996–2006)
  • Ed Jackson – saxophone



Year Album Peak chart positions
1972 Let's Do It Again
1973 People Music
1974 Feel My Soul
Keep on Steppin'
1975 Yum Yum
Raising Hell 158 37 19 35
1976 Night Fever 182 31 81
1977 NYCNYUSA 54 91
Man with the Band
1978 Fired Up 'N' Kickin 73 17
1979 Brite Lites/Big City 57
Fatback XII 89 16
1980 Hot Box 44 7
14 Karat 91 16
1981 Tasty Jam 102 17
Gigolo 148 68
1982 On the Floor with Fatback 28
1983 Is This the Future? 27
With Love 64
1984 Phoenix
1985 So Delicious
1987 Live[4] 80
1988 Tonight's an All-Nite Party
2004 Second Generation
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications Album


1973 "Street Dance" 26 Let's Do It Again
"Njia (Njia) Walk (Street Walk)" 56 People Music
"Soul March" 69
1974 "Keep on Steppin'" 50 Keep on Steppin'
"Wicki-Wacky" 94 82[A]
1975 "(Hey I) Feel Real Good (Part One)" Yum Yum
"Yum Yum (Gimme Some)" 80 40
"(Are You Ready) Do the Bus Stop" 37 15 18 26 Raising Hell
1976 "(Do the) Spanish Hustle" 101 12 5 10
"Party Time" 84 41
"Night Fever" 28 38 Night Fever
"The Booty" 32
1977 "Double Dutch" 52 31 NYCNYUSA
"Mile High" Man with the Band
"Master Booty" 88 27
1978 "I Like Girls" 101 9 Fired Up 'N' Kickin'
"I'm Fired Up"
"Freak the Freak the Funk (Rock)" 36 Brite Lites, Big City
1979 "(Do the) Boogie Woogie"
"You're My Candy Sweet" 67 Fatback XII
"King Tim III (Personality Jock)" 26 62
"Love in Perfect Harmony" 59
1980 "Gotta Get My Hands on Some (Money)" 6 Hot Box
"Backstrokin'" 3 53 41
"Let's Do It Again" 55 14 Karat
"(To Be) Without Your Love"
"Angel" 67
1981 "Take It Any Way You Want It" 19 Tasty Jam
"Kool Whip" 64
"Rockin' to the Beat" 50 Gigolo
"I'm So in Love"
1982 "On the Floor" 36 On the Floor with Fatback
"She's My Shining Star" 76
1983 "The Girl Is Fine (So Fine)" 28 47 77 Is This the Future?
"Is This the Future?" 43 82[B]
"Up Against the Wall"
"Please Stay" With Love
"I Found Lovin'" 7[C]
1984 "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
"Call Out My Name" 70 Phoenix
"You've Got That Magic"
"Spread Love" 88 32 Is This the Future?
1985 "Girls on My Mind" 79 69 So Delicious
"Lover Undercover" 86
"She's a Go-Getter"
1987 "Bus Stop (Stop and Go mix)" 38
"Sunshine Lady" 96 Is This the Future?
"Rhythm of the Night" 94 Tonite's an All-Nite Party
1988 "All Nite Party"
2007 "Feel the Fire" 94
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


  1. ^ "Wicki-Wacky" peaked at number 82 after being reissued with "Is This the Future?" in October 1985.[11]
  2. ^ "Is This the Future?" peaked at number 82 after being reissued with "Wicki-Wacky" in October 1985.[11]
  3. ^ "I Found Lovin'" originally peaked at number 49 in June 1984. A first reissue from 1986 peaked at number 55. A second reissue peaked at number 7 in October 1987. The song spent a combined total of 59 weeks on the UK Singles Chart.[11]


  1. ^ a b Hess, Mickey (2007). Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. p.xxii. ISBN 978-0-313-33903-5.
  2. ^ "The Fatback Band Page". Soulwalking.co.uk. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Wynn, Ron. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 196. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "OFFICIAL SINGLES CHART RESULTS MATCHING: I FOUND LOVIN'". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  6. ^ "Fatback band". Fatbackband.com. Retrieved June 27, 2024.
  7. ^ "Linda Blakely - Fat Back Band". Fatbackband.com.
  8. ^ a b "The Fatback Band - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 24, 2012. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  9. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 110. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  10. ^ a b c "Fatback Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d "FATBACK BAND - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  12. ^ "British single certifications – Fatback Band – I Found Lovin'". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 20, 2023.

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