The Originals (band)

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For the CW television series, see The Originals (TV series). For the New Zealand rugby team, see The Original All Blacks.
The Originals
Motown's The Originals.jpg
Clockwise from left: C. P. Spencer, Hank Dixon, Walter Gaines and Freddie Gorman (c. 1968)
Background information
Origin Detroit, Michigan, United States
Genres R&B, soul, disco
Years active 1966–1982, 1989–present
Labels Soul (Motown)
Associated acts Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, David Ruffin, Jimmy Ruffin, Edwin Starr, Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers
Members Hank Dixon
Dillon Gorman
Terrie Dixon
Defrantz Forrest
Past members Freddie Gorman
Walter Gaines
Ty Hunter
C. P. Spencer
Joe Stubbs

The Originals, often called "Motown's best-kept secret",[1] were a successful Motown R&B and soul group during the late 1960s and the 1970s, most notable for the hits "Baby I'm for Real", "The Bells" and the disco classic "Down to Love Town". Formed in 1966, the group originally consisted of bass singer Freddie Gorman, baritone (and the group's founder) Walter Gaines, and tenors C. P. Spencer and Hank Dixon (and briefly Joe Stubbs). Ty Hunter replaced Spencer when he left to go solo in the early 1970s. They had all previously sung in other Detroit groups, Spencer having been an original member of the (Detroit) Spinners and Hunter having sung with the Supremes member Scherrie Payne in the group Glass House. Spencer, Gaines, Hunter, and Dixon (at one time or another) were also members of the Voice Masters. As a member of the Holland–Dozier–Gorman writing-production team (before Holland–Dozier–Holland), Gorman (as a mailman) was one of the co-writers of Motown's first number 1 pop hit "Please Mr. Postman", recorded by the Marvelettes. In 1964, the Beatles released their version. In 1975, the Carpenters took it to number 1 again. This was the second time in pop history that a song had reached number 1 twice. "The Twist" by Chubby Checker, reached number 1 in 1960 and 1961. In 2006, "Please Mr. Postman" was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


Ty Hunter, C.P. Spencer, Hank Dixon, Freddie Gorman and Walter Gaines in the late 1970s

The group found modest success in the latter half of the 1960s, often working as background singers for recordings by artists such as Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life" and "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday", David Ruffin's "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)", Marvin Gaye's "Chained" and "Just to Keep You Satisfied", Edwin Starr's "War" and "25 Miles", and many more. The Originals found their biggest success under the guidance of Marvin Gaye, who co-wrote and produced two of the group's biggest singles, "Baby, I'm for Real" and "The Bells". This latter disc sold more than one million copies and received a gold disc awarded by the R.I.A.A..[2] Both songs became seminal soul music recordings, and both songs have since been covered: 1990s R&B group After 7 re-recorded "Baby, I'm for Real" and made it a hit again in 1992, while another 1990s R&B group Color Me Badd re-recorded "The Bells" for one of their albums. While the group went on to have more modest success in both the soul and disco fields near the end of the decade, including "Down to Love Town", a number 1 dance chart hit, the songs they made with Marvin Gaye are their most memorable and notable. Spencer returned briefly in the late 1970s but after the death of Ty Hunter, on February 24, 1981, the group ceased recording and broke up about a year later.

Joe Stubbs, brother of Four Tops lead Levi Stubbs, died on February 5, 1998. He had been with the group for about six months in the mid-1960s, as well as been a member of the Falcons, the Contours and 100 Proof (Aged In Soul). C. P. Spencer died on October 20, 2004, and group's spokesman Freddie Gorman followed on June 13, 2006.[3] Walter Gaines died January 17, 2012, after a long illness.[4] Dixon is now the only surviving, and active, founding member of the original group.


Following the death of Freddie Gorman in 2006, longtime member Hank Dixon and Hank's daughter Terrie Dixon reformed The Originals as a live touring act, with Freddie's son songwriter and producer Dillon F. Gorman, plus the son of Gene Chandler, Defrantz Forrest, to complete the line-up.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Record label

1969 Green Grow the Lilacs [A] 174 18 Soul
1970 Portrait of the Originals 198 47
Naturally Together 44
1972 Def·i·ni·tions
1974 Game Called Love
1975 California Sunset 51 Motown
1976 Communiqué Soul
1977 Down to Love Town
1978 Another Time, Another Place Fantasy
1979 Come Away with Me
1981 Yesterday and Today Phase II
"—" denotes the album failed to chart
  • A Album was later reissued as Baby, I'm for Real

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Record label
1990 Baby, I'm for Real Motown
1999 The Very Best of the Originals
2002 The Essential Collection Spectrum
"—" denotes the album failed to chart


Year Single Peak chart positions


1967 "Good Night Irene"
1969 "We've Got a Way Out of Love"
"Green Grow the Lilacs"
"Baby, I'm for Real" 14 1
1970 "The Bells" 12 4
"We Can Make It Baby" (A-side) 74 20
"I Like Your Style" (B-side) 20
"God Bless Whoever Sent You" 53 14
1971 "Keep Me"
1972 "I'm Someone Who Cares" 113
1973 "Be My Love"
"There's a Chance When You Love You'll Lose"
1974 "Supernatural Voodoo Woman (Part 1)"
"Game Called Love"
"You're My Only World"
1975 "Good Lovin' Is Just a Dime Away" 53
"Fifty Years"
"Everybody's Got to Do Something"
1976 "Touch"
"Down to Love Town" 47 93 1
1977 "Call on Your Six-Million Dollar Man" 6
1978 "Temporarily Out of Order"
1979 "Blue Moon"
"J-E-A-L-O-U-S (Means I Love You)"
1981 "Waitin' on a Letter"/"Mr. Postman" (medley) 74
1982 "Baby, I'm for Real - '82" (feat. Hank Dixon)
"—" denotes the single failed to chart

As background vocalists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "THE ORIGINALS - ESSENTIAL COLLECTION". Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 284. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ "The Originals". Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "The Originals US albums chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  6. ^ a b c "The Originals US singles chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 

External links[edit]