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|Birth name||Howard Beverly|
December 6, 1946 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Genres||R&B, soul, funk|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, Guitar, Piano|
|Associated acts||The Blenders, The Butlers, Maze|
Early life and career
Beverly started out singing gospel music in church as a schoolboy in Philadelphia. He has claimed that his first professional concert was a tour with The Silhouettes (famous for their 1958 hit single, "Get a Job") when he was only twelve years old. However, this is disputed by those associated with the group, whose members were never known to mention him while they were alive.
As a teenager he formed The Blenders, a short-lived a cappella, doo-wop group that were influenced by The Dells, The Moonglows, and The Del Vikings. After that outfit dissolved, he founded The Butlers (subsequently Frankie Beverly and the Butlers), which would be the first group he recorded with in 1963. In 1967, he cut "If that's what you wanted", which became a northern soul standard. As time passed, they caught the attention of the record producer Kenny Gamble, who eventually released recordings by the group.
It turned out that music performed by The Butlers did not fit into the "Philly Sound", and after some heavy touring, the group relocated to California. The unit was re-christened as Raw Soul and caught the attention of a sister-in-law to Marvin Gaye. Gaye featured them as an opening act at his shows, and also convinced Beverly to change the band's name to Maze.
The group's popularity was enhanced considerably in the UK by DJ Greg Edwards and Tony Blackburn in the late 1970s and early 1980s when they performed live at London's Lyceum Ballroom for broadcast on Capital Radio. They are best known there for their UK #57 hit single, "Joy and Pain".
Beverly's onstage attire (all-white custom designed and made, casual clothing, including slacks, long-sleeved shirt, and a baseball cap) has become his signature dress style over the years.
His son, Anthony, who has toured as a drummer with Maze, organized a tribute in 2009 to his father, founding the record label Brantera, as an homage to the work of Maze. Mary J Blige, Kevon Edmonds (Babyface) and Mint Condition were among the artists taking part on the album.