Jo Jo Benson
|Jo Jo Benson|
|Birth name||Joseph M. Hewell|
April 15, 1938|
Phenix City, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||December 23, 2014 (aged 76)
Columbus, Georgia, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Singer, club owner|
|Associated acts||Chuck Willis, Peggy Scott|
Joseph M. Hewell (April 15, 1938 – December 23, 2014) was an American R&B and soul singer better known under his stage name Jo Jo Benson. He was best known for his recordings in the late 1960s with Peggy Scott.
Life and career
He was born in Phenix City, Alabama, and began singing in nightclubs when in his teens. He joined Chuck Willis as a backing singer in the 1950s, before joining forces with fellow singer Peggy Scott, who previously backed Ben E. King, in a duo. The pair were heard and encouraged by record producer Huey Meaux, and were recruited by Shelby Singleton's SSS International label in Nashville, Tennessee, in order to record duets. Their first recording for the label, "Lover's Holiday", reached #8 on the Billboard R&B chart and #31 on the pop chart in 1968, eventually becoming a gold record. They followed it up with "Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries", which was also a hit and for which they were nominated for a Grammy. Benson and Scott had two more hits in 1969, "Soulshake" and "I Want to Love You Baby", and released two albums together, Lover's Heaven and Soulshake.
The pairing of Benson and Scott split up in 1971. Benson later owned several nightclubs in the Chattahoochee Valley, and was seriously wounded in a shooting incident in 1979. He and Scott temporarily reunited in the mid-1980s for an album. In 1999, Benson recorded a solo album, Reminiscing in the Jam Zone, which Living Blues magazine called "among the finest soul albums of the year - indeed, of the decade". In 2001, he followed it up with the album Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha.
Chart singles with Peggy Scott
|"Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries"||27||8|
|"I Want To Love You Baby"||81||24|
With Peggy Scott
- Lover's Heaven (1969)
- Soulshake (1969)
- Reminiscing in the Jam Zone (1999)
- Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha (2001)
- Johnny W. Sumrall, Jr., Classic Magnolia Rock: History of Original Mississippi Rock and Roll 1953-1970, AuthorHouse, 2008.
- Stuart Rosenberg, Rock and Roll and the American Landscape: The Birth of an Industry and the Expansion of the Popular Culture, 1955-1969, iUniverse, 2009; p. 95: "One of the best examples of country soul was the duo of Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson, who recorded with producer Shelby Singleton in Nashville and whose song 'Soul Shake' was likely the first soul record that featured a steel guitar (played ...Joseph Hewell, in 1941, in Phenix City, Alabama) moved to Pensacola, Florida to begin their career because they wanted to follow Pensacola recording artists James & Bobby Purify. Scott & Benson first teamed up with legendary Texas ..."
- Alva James-Johnson, "Jo Jo Benson dies at Victory Drive motel", Ledger-Enquirer, December 23, 2014.
- Biography by Greg Prato, Allmusic.com. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
- Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 391.
- Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson, Discogs.com. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
- Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 624. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.