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Joe Simon (singer)

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Joe Simon
Background information
Born(1936-09-07)September 7, 1936
Simmesport, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedDecember 13, 2021(2021-12-13) (aged 85)
GenresSoul, R&B
  • Singer
  • record producer
  • songwriter
  • pastor
Years active1959–late 1990s

Joe Simon (September 7, 1936 – December 13, 2021) was an American soul and R&B musician. He began as a gospel artist singing with the Golden West Singers in the Bay Area in California. A consistent presence on the US charts between 1964 and 1981, Simon charted 51 U.S. Pop and R&B chart hits between 1964 and 1981, including eight times in the US top forty, thirty-eight times in the top 40 of the US R&B charts, and 13 chart hits in Canada. His biggest hits included three number one entries on the US Billboard R&B chart: "The Chokin' Kind" (1969), "Power of Love" (1972), and "Get Down, Get Down (Get on the Floor)" (1975). In 2021, he was one of the 60 nominees for the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.


Simon was born in Simmesport, Louisiana, United States.[1] Similar to many other African American artists from the era, Simon began singing in his father's Baptist church. He pursued his vocal abilities full-time once the family moved to Richmond (near Oakland, California) in the late 1950s.[2] There Simon joined the Golden West Gospel Singers and became influenced by Sam Cooke and Arthur Prysock. With this, the group decided to turn secular and recorded "Little Island Girl" as the Golden Tones in 1959.

Hush Records label owners Gary and Carla Thompson urged Simon to record on his own, and in 1964 Simon scored a minor hit on the Vee-Jay label with "My Adorable One".[2] Simon scored again in 1965 on the Chicago-based label with "Let's Do It Over",[2] which landed a #13 spot on the US Billboard R&B chart. However, the Vee-Jay label folded soon after the latter song's release and Simon found himself travelling across the country singing.

In his Nashville phase Simon carried on for Sam Cooke with a will.

Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981)[3]

Simon caught the eye of Nashville, Tennessee, R&B disc jockey John Richbourg during this time,[2] and Richbourg not only became Simon's manager/record producer but also brought the singer to Monument Records' subsidiary label Sound Stage 7 in 1966.[1] That year Simon released "Teenager's Prayer",[2] which peaked at #11 on Billboard's R&B chart. Within the next two years, Simon released a string of hits: "(You Keep Me) Hanging On", "The Chokin' Kind" (Billboard Hot 100 #13), "Farther on Down The Road", and "Yours Love".[2] "The Chokin' Kind" was written by Harlan Howard, spent 12 weeks in the charts, and had sold one million copies by June 16, 1969.[1] In addition, Simon was given a Grammy Award in 1970 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.[1]

In 1969, his composition "My Special Prayer", which had been a minor US hit for himself and for Percy Sledge, went to number one on the Dutch Top 40 in Sledge's version, spending 32 weeks on chart in two separate chart runs.

Under the encouragement of Richbourg, Simon moved to the Polydor distributed Spring Records label in 1970, which paired Simon with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.[2] The team scored a #3 R&B hit in 1971 with "Drowning in the Sea of Love" and a #1 R&B hit in the summer of 1972 with "Power of Love".[2] Both songs reached #11 on the Hot 100. "Drowning in the Sea of Love" sold over 1.5 million copies and the RIAA on January 6, 1972, gave a gold disc.[1] "Power of Love", written by Gamble, Huff and Simon was Simon's third million seller, and the R.I.A.A. awarded gold disc status on August 29, 1972.[1]

Simon continued to release R&B hits with "Pool of Bad Luck", "Trouble in My Home", "Step By Step" (his only UK success),[2] "I Need You, You Need Me", "Music in My Bones", "Carry Me", and 1975's "Get Down, Get Down (Get on the Floor)", which gave Simon his third #1 R&B hit, and also a #8 Hot 100 hit. Simon's success escalated with his writing/producing the theme tune for the film Cleopatra Jones in 1973.[2]

In the late 1970s/early 1980s, Simon decided to remove his tenor/bass-baritone voice from the secular music world and devote it and other parts of his life to Christianity.[4] Simon began evangelical preaching in Flossmoor, Illinois. In 1983, he produced the album Lay My Burden Down for former Davis Sisters second lead Jackie Verdell. Simon briefly returned to secular music in 1985 for his Mr. Right album, though none of its singles charted. He went on to release a gospel album titled This Story Must Be Told in the late 1990s.

In 1999, Simon was inducted as a Pioneer Award honoree by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. He died on December 13, 2021. Sources gave his age as 85, in contrast to sources during his lifetime that had indicated a later year of birth.[5] Simon's wife Melanie informed the Journal of Gospel Music of his death: "Joe had been ill for some time and spent his final night at home with her, even talking about going back into the studio. He died of breathing problems in an ambulance on his way to hospital. His funeral is planned for 22nd December."[6]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Record label

1966 Simon Pure Soul Sound Stage 7
1968 No Sad Songs 22
Simon Sings 41
1969 The Chokin' Kind 81 18
Joe Simon...Better Than Ever 192
1971 The Sounds of Simon 153 9 Spring
1972 Drowning in the Sea of Love 71 11
1973 The Power of Joe Simon 97 15
Simon Country 208 51
1974 Mood, Heart and Soul 44
1975 Get Down 129 10
1976 Today 35
1977 Easy to Love 56
A Bad Case of Love
1979 Love Vibrations 34
Happy Birthday, Baby
1981 Glad You Came My Way 49 Posse
1985 Mr. Right Compleat
1988 Simon Preaches Prayer Skull
1998 This Story Must Be Told Ripete
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Record label

1969 Joe Simon Buddah
1972 Joe Simon's Greatest Hits 20 Sound Stage 7
The Best of Joe Simon 147
1976 The World of Joe Simon
1982 By Popular Demand...Joe Simon's Greatest Hits Posse
1985 By Popular Demand Joe Simon's Greatest Hits Volume II
1997 Greatest Hits: The Spring Years 1970-1977 Southbound
Music In My Bones: The Best of Joe Simon Rhino
2004 Mr. Shout Ace
2022 Nine Pound Steel: The Best of Joe Simon Sunset Blvd.
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.



Year Single Peak chart positions

1960 "It's a Miracle"
1961 "Call My Name"
"The Pledge"
1962 "I Keep Remembering "
1963 "Just Like Yesterday"
1964 "My Adorable One" [A] 102 8
1965 "When I'm Gone"
"Let's Do It Over" 13
1966 "A Teenager's Prayer " 66 11 72
"Too Many Teardrops"
1967 "My Special Prayer" 87 17
"Put Your Trust in Me (Depend on Me)" 129 47
"Nine Pound Steel" 70 19 79
1968 "No Sad Songs" 49 22
"(You Keep Me) Hangin' On" 25 11 48
"Message from Maria" 75 31 83
"I Worry About You" 98
"Looking Back" 70 42
1969 "The Chokin' Kind" 13 1 17
"Baby, Don't Be Looking in My Mind" 72 16 48
"San Francisco Is a Lonely Town" 79 29
"It's Hard to Get Along" 87 26 86
"Moon Walk" 54 11 27
1970 "Farther on Down the Road" 56 7 66
"Yours Love" 78 10
"That's The Way I Want Our Love" 93 27
"Your Time to Cry" 40 3 39
1971 "Help Me Make It Through the Night" 69 13
"To Lay Down Beside You" 117
"You're The One For Me" 71 12
"All My Hard Times" 93 19
"Georgia Blue"
"Drowning in the Sea of Love" 11 3 95 50
1972 "Pool of Bad Luck" 42 13
"Power of Love" 11 1
"Misty Blue" 91 47
"Trouble in My Home" 50 5
"I Found My Dad" 78 15
1973 "Step by Step" 37 6 73 14
"Theme From Cleopatra Jones" 18 3
"River" 62 6
1974 "Carry Me" 12
"Who's Julie"
"The Best Time of My Life" 15
"Someone to Lean On"
1975 "Get Down, Get Down (Get on the Floor)" 8 1 15
"Music in My Bones" 92 7
"I Need You, You Need Me" 5 98
1976 "Come Get to This" 102 22
"Funny How Time Slips Away"
"Easy to Love" 12
1977 "You Didn't Have to Play No Games" 62
"One Step at a Time" 28
"For Your Love, Love, Love" 27
1978 "I.O.U." 71
"Love Vibration" 15
1979 "Going Through These Changes" 78
"I Wanna Taste Your Love" 87
1980 "Hooked on Disco Music"
"Baby, When Love Is in Your Heart (It's in Your Eyes)" 60
"Glad You Came My Way" 43
1981 "Are We Breaking Up" 52
"You Give Life to Me" (With Clare Bathe)
1982 "Go Sam"
"It's Be's That Way Sometime"
1985 "It Turns Me Inside Out"
"Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now"
1988 "Lord It's True, I Do Love You"
"The Lord's Prayer"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 267, 303 and 321. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1086. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 12, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  4. ^ Dahl, Bill. "Joe Simon Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved December 9, 2008.
  5. ^ Knopper, Steve (December 14, 2021). "Joe Simon, Chart-Topping R&B Singer, Dead at 85". billboard.com. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  6. ^ Crowther, Malcolm (December 20, 2021). "RIP Joe Simon Soul Singer Minister". journalofgospelmusic.com. Retrieved May 31, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "US Charts > Joe Simon". Billboard. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  8. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ "CAN Charts > Joe Simon". RPM. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  10. ^ "UK Charts > Joe Simon". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 8, 2017.

External links[edit]