R. B. Greaves

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R.B. Greaves
Birth name Ronald Bertram Aloysius Greaves III
Born (1943-11-28)November 28, 1943[1]
Georgetown, Guyana
Origin Georgetown, Guyana
Died September 27, 2012(2012-09-27) (aged 68)
Granada Hills, California
Genres R&B, soul music, pop music
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
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)[2] 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".[3]


Greaves was born in 1943 on the US Army Air Forces base at Georgetown, Guyana.[1] A nephew of Sam Cooke, he grew up on a Seminole Indian reservation in the United States, but he moved to England in 1963.[4]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[4]

Greaves was often accompanied in Southern California and vicinity by his long time guitarist/band leader Phillip John Diaz and keyboardist/songwriter Mike Baxter.[citation needed]

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".[1] 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".[5]


Greaves died from prostate cancer, in Granada Hills, California, on 27 September 2012 at the age of 68.[citation needed]



Year Album Peak chart positions[6]
1969 R.B. Greaves
  • Released: 1969
  • Label: Atco Records
  • Format: LP album
85 24
1977 R.B. Greaves
  • Released: 1977
  • Label: Bareback Records
  • Format: LP album


Year Single Peak chart positions[7] RIAA[8] Album
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


  1. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (1992). Fred Weiler, ed. The Billboard Book of USA Top 40 Hits (5 ed.). Guinness. p. 204. 
  2. ^ "R. B. Greaves, Pop Singer, Dies at 68". The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2012. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ "R.B. Greaves Always Something There to Remind Me Chart History". Retrieved January 23, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London, UK: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 259. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  5. ^ "Billboard charted singles" (PDF). Mike Curb website. p. 23. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Album chart listings for R.B. Greaves". AllMusic. 
  7. ^ "Singles chart listings for R.B. Greaves". AllMusic. 
  8. ^ "RIAA search results for R.B. Greaves". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 

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