R. B. Greaves
|Birth name||Ronald Bertram Aloysius Greaves III|
November 28, 1943|
|Died||September 27, 2012
Granada Hills, California
|Genres||R&B, soul music, pop music|
|Years active||1969 – 70s|
|Labels||Atco Records, Bareback, Sunflower Records|
|Associated acts||Sam Cooke|
Ronald Bertram Aloysius "R. B." Greaves III (November 28, 1943 – September 27, 2012) was an American singer who had chart success in 1969 with the pop single "Take a Letter Maria". A number two hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, this single sold one million copies, and it earned gold record certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. Greaves also reached the Top 40 in early 1970 with "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me".
Greaves was born in 1943 on the US Army Air Forces base at Georgetown, Guyana. A nephew of Sam Cooke, he grew up on a Seminole Indian reservation in the United States, but he moved to England in 1963.
Greaves had built a career both in the Caribbean and in the UK, where he performed under the name Sonny Childe with his group the TNTs. His debut recording, "Take a Letter, Maria", was released under the name R.B. Greaves and produced by the president of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegün.
The song is the story of a man who learns of his wife's infidelity and dictates a letter of separation to Maria, his secretary, who the last verse suggests may become his new love. The song has a distinct Latin flavor, complete with a mariachi-style horn section.
The record stayed in the Billboard chart for 15 weeks in the United States, selling a million copies. It received gold record certification from the RIAA on December 11, 1969. By 1970, sales of this song totalled 2.5 million.
Greaves was often accompanied in Southern California and vicinity by his long time guitarist/band leader Phillip John Diaz and keyboardist/songwriter Mike Baxter.
Greaves recorded a series of cover versions as follow-ups, including Burt Bacharach's and Hal David's "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" and Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale". Greaves left the label in the 1970s in favour of Sunflower Records, and then signed to Bareback Records. His only chart release for the latter label was "Margie, Who's Watching the Baby".
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||RIAA||Album|
|US||US R&B||US AC|
|1969||"Take a Letter, Maria"||2||10||3||Gold||R.B. Greaves|
|1970||"(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me"||27||50||—||—|
|"Fire & Rain"||82||—||—||—||single only|
|"Georgia Took Her Back"||88||—||—||—|
|"Whiter Shade of Pale"||82||—||—||—|
|1972||"Margie, Who's Watching the Baby"||115||—||—||—|
|1977||"Who's Watching the Baby (Margie)"||—||66||—||—||R.B. Greaves (1977)|
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not certified
- Whitburn, Joel (1992). Fred Weiler, ed. The Billboard Book of USA Top 40 Hits (5 ed.). Guinness. p. 204.
- "R. B. Greaves, Pop Singer, Dies at 68". The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2012. (Subscription required (. ))
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London, UK: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 259. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Billboard charted singles" (PDF). Mike Curb website. p. 23. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
- "Album chart listings for R.B. Greaves". AllMusic.
- "Singles chart listings for R.B. Greaves". AllMusic.
- "RIAA search results for R.B. Greaves". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2 August 2009.