Monday, June 15, 2015

What Happened? S.O.S. Band

The S.O.S. Band

The S.O.S. Band (sometimes written SOS Band) is an American R&B and electro-funk group who gained fame in the 1980s. They are best known for the songs "Take Your Time (Do It Right)," "Just Be Good to Me," "Tell Me If You Still Care," and "The Finest."

 The band was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977, when keyboardist/vocalist Jason Bryant, saxophonists Billy Ellis and Willie "Sonny" Killebrew, guitarist Bruno Speight, bassist John Alexander Simpson, drummer James Earl Jones III, and lead vocalist Mary Davis formed a group called Santa Monica that played at Atlanta nightclub the Regal Room. Their manager, Bunny Jackson-Ransom (who later managed Cameo), sent a demo to Clarence Avant, head of Tabu Records.
." After listening to its demo and being impressed with their sound, Tabu Records signed the group to its first recording contract. Shortly after signing the band to Tabu, Avant suggested that the band work with songwriter/producer Sigidi Abdullah. Abdullah was curious as to why an Atlanta-based band named itself Santa Monica. Keyboardist Jason Bryant replied that the band had an enjoyable concert in Santa Monica, CA. Abdullah then came up with a new band name, the S.O.S. Band, with S.O.S. standing for "Sounds of Success. Abdullah produced and co-wrote "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" with Harold Clayton, which went platinum, parking at number one for five weeks and peaking at number three pop on Billboard's charts in spring 1980.
 The debut LP, S.O.S., went gold, selling over 800,000 copies and holding the number two R&B spot for three weeks. While the band was on its world tour, trumpeter/vocalist/percussionist Abdul Ra'oof joined them.
Their second album, Too, went to number 30 R&B in summer 1981. On the band's third LP, S.O.S. Band III, they worked with producer Leon Sylvers III and the Time's Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Jimmy Jam Terry Lewis were currently in the band, The Time. While working on the project for S.O.S. Band they missed a concert and Prince dismissed them. The breaking single, "High Hopes," hit number 25 R&B in the fall of 1982 while the album went to number 27 R&B in late 1982.

On their fourth LP, On the Rise, Jam and Lewis took over the production chores. Scoring with the slammin' number two hit "Just Be Good to Me" and the number five beatbox ballad "Tell Me if You Still Care," On the Rise became their second gold album hitting number seven R&B in summer 1983. The formula continued working: Just the Way You Like It (including the number six R&B single "Just the Way You Like It") went to number six R&B in fall 1984.

 Sands of Time (including the number two R&B hit "The Finest") went gold and hit number four R&B in spring 1986.
Many of these releases as well as the sound of early releases of Chicago-borne house music helped to popularize the now-classic sound of Roland drum machine the TR-808.

 In 1987, vocalist Mary Davis left the S.O.S. Band to pursue a solo career. The band recorded two more albums with lead vocalist Chandra Currelley : Diamonds in the Raw (number 43 R&B in fall 1989), produced by Eban Kelly and Jimi Randolph, and One of Many Nights, produced by Curtis Williams.
In August 1994, former lead vocalist Mary Davis reunited with Abdul Ra'oof and Jason Bryant, and together they reconstructed a new band with the same funky S.O.S. sound, appearing on comedian Sinbad's HBO concert specials.
In 1995 Tabu records released S.O.S. Band “ The Best Of S.O.S. Band”and Rhino's various-artists set United We Funk issued October 5, 1999. More recently, Currelley has been active as an actress and vocalist in Tyler Perry plays and films. Mary Davis and the crew still preforms.

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Sunday, September 07, 2014

What Happened: Jill Scott?

Jill Scott

Jill Scott(born April 4, 1972) is an American singer and actress. Scott was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She grew up an only child in a North Philadelphia neighborhood, raised by her mother, Joyce Scott, and her grandmother. She indicated in an interview with Jet Magazine that she had a happy childhood and was "very much a loved child". Scott was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls.

After graduating from high school, Scott attended Temple University while simultaneously working two jobs. She studied secondary education for three years and, at one time, planned to become a high school English teacher. However, after serving as a teacher's aide, Scott became disillusioned with a teaching career, and she dropped out of college.

Prior to breaking through the music industry, Scott worked at a variety of jobs, including a number of retail positions and stints at a construction site and an ice cream parlor.

Jill Scott began her performing career as a spoken word artist, appearing at live poetry readings to perform her work. She was eventually discovered by Amir "Questlove" Thompson of The Roots. Questlove invited her to join the band in the studio. The collaboration resulted in a co-writing credit for Scott on the song, "You Got Me".

On the advice of her good friend, director Ozzie Jones, she began pursuing a career in acting in 2000. She joined a fellowship at a theater company in Philadelphia. For two years, she took small, menial jobs in exchange for acting lessons.

In 2000, Erykah Badu and The Roots won a Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group for "You Got Me", and Scott debuted as an artist during a Roots live show, singing as original artist/singer of the song.  Subsequently, Scott collaborated with Eric Benet, Will Smith, and Common, and broadened her performing experience by touring Canada in a production of the Broadway musical Rent.

Scott was the first artist signed to Steve McKeever's 'Hidden Beach Recordings' label. Her debut album, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 was released in 2000.

Scott and longtime boyfriend Lyzel Williams, a graphic artist and DJ, married in 2001 in a private Hawaiian ceremony during a vacation. The couple dated for seven years before they married.

The live album, Experience: Jill Scott 826+, was released November 2001.

She experienced some notice and chart success with the single "A Long Walk", eventually earning a Grammy nomination in early 2003 for Best Female Vocal Performance. Scott didn’t win that year.

In 2004, Scott expanded her resume by appearing in several episodes of season four of UPN's Girlfriends, playing Donna, a love interest to main character, William Dent (Reggie Hayes). She also appeared in the Showtime movie Cavedwellers, starring Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.

Scott's second full-length album, Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2, followed in 2004.

Jill Scott won her first 2005 Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative R&B Performance for "Cross My Mind".

Scott continues to write poetry; a compilation volume of her poems, The Moments, The Minutes, The Hours, was published and released by St. Martin's Press in April 2005.

In early 2007, Scott was featured on the George Benson & Al Jarreau collaboration single "God Bless The Child" (written by Billie Holiday), which earned Scott her second Grammy award, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, at the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremony.

Scott and Williams divorced in 2007.

Jill Scott was prominently featured on hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco's single "Daydreaming", which won a 2008 Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance and also appeared on a new Scott collection called Collaborations which was released on January 30, 2007.

Her first feature film appearances occurred in 2007, when Scott appeared in Hounddog (as Big Mama Thornton) and in Tyler Perry's movie, Why Did I Get Married?

The Collaborations collection served as "an appetizer" for her next studio album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 released September 25, 2007.  The lead single "Hate onMe", gained airplay in May 2007 with a video released in mid-July. In advance of the album's release, Hidden Beach released a 17-minute album sampler through their forums.

The song "Golden" is featured in a R&B themed radio station in the Rockstar Games video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

In 2008, Scott released her second live album, Live in Paris+, which consists of 8 songs recorded during her set list of the "Big Beautiful Tour" in Europe. The bonus DVD contains the same concert (shot and directed by J.G BIGGS), plus some live cuts from The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3. In the same year, "Whenever You're Around", a single from The Real Thing, which features George Duke, was a moderate hit on urban radio.

In 2008 Anthony Minghella's film adaption of Alexander McCall Smith's series of books The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency playing a detective. Scott then filmed additional episodes for the series in Botswana in late 2008

On June 20, 2008, at a concert in New York's Carnegie Hall, Scott shared a long on-stage kiss with her drummer, Li'l John Roberts; the couple then told the audience that they were engaged

BBC and HBO, broadcasted The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency as a seven-part series on BBC1 and HBO in March 2009.
Jett Hamilton Roberts, Jill Scott and John Roberts son was born Aprin20, 2009.

On June 23, 2009, Scott announced that she and Roberts had broken up, with Scott breaking the news to Essence magazine. Despite the break-up, Scott hopes for both parents to have an active part in their child's upbringing.

Early in 2010, Scott was sued by Hidden Beach Records for leaving halfway through her six album contract and owing millions of dollars in damages. The label's founder, Steve McKeever, claimed that he helped launch Scott's career and nurtured her into a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, but was unceremoniously dumped in October after a 10 year plus relationship. Scott, however, countersued that claim.

Jill Scott reprised her role as Sheila in Why Did I Get Married Too? A Tyler Perry Movie in 2010.

In 2010, she voiced Storm of the X-Men on the BET series Black Panther. On March 24, 2010, Scott guest-starred in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Also in 2010, Scott starred in the Lifetime Movie, Sins of the Mother, as Nona, an alcoholic mother confronted by her estranged daughter, whom she neglected. At the 42nd NAACP Image Awards, Jill Scott was awarded Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for her role in Sins of the Mother.

To reimburse the damages to Hidden Beach Jill Scott and Hidden Beach planned to release several compilation albums consisting of previously unreleased material by Scott. The first album in this series was The Original Jill Scott from the Vault, Vol. 1. Previously titled Just Before Dawn, the album was asked to be paused by Scott so that fans would not get confused with the new material she was releasing entitled The Light of the Sun being released under a distribution deal by Scott and Warner Brothers signed in early 2011.  

The Light of the Sun officially began production in 2010. Scott gave fans a preview of the music on her 18 city venue, co-headlining tour with R&B singer Maxwell, on the Maxwell & Jill Scott: The Tour.

The album The Light of the Sun features collaborations from Anthony Hamilton, Eve, Doug E Fresh, and Paul Wall. The album was released for pre-order days before it was officially released on June 21, 2011. It debuted at #1 on the US Billboard 200 chart, with 135,000 copies sold in its first week, becoming her first #1 debut on the chart.

The album was preceded by the promo single "Shame", which was released on Scott's SoundCloud account in April 2012. The single features the rapper Eve and R&B trio The A-Group. The video was released on on April 13. The album's official debut single was "So in Love" featuring Anthony Hamilton. It was released in April and debuted at #43 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, Scott's highest debut on that chart. It peaked at #10, and tied a record with Maxwell's "Fortunate" for spending 14 weeks at #1 on the Urban Adult Contemporary Chart.

Scott promoted the album with several tactics including The Light of the Sundays, several online Essence interviews, and releasing the album as an iTunes LP, giving fans exclusive photos and videos. Scott also embarked on her Summer Block Party tour sponsored by Budweiser's Superfest.

The album's second official single, "So Gone (What My Mind Says)" featuring Paul Wallwas released in August 2011, and the video premiered on September 13 on E! Online. It has peaked at #28 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Scott also released a video for the song "Hear My Call". The project gained Scott four NAACP Image Awards including Outstanding Female Artist, Outstanding Music Video ("Hear My Call"), Outstanding Song ("So in Love"), and Outstanding Album (The Light of the Sun).

In May 2012, Jill Scott appeared on VH1 Storytellers. Scott performed a few of her most notable songs such as "Golden" and "He Loves Me." With wig as well as costume changes, Scott created characters to fit each song in order to convey the message of the song.

Later in 2012 she starred alongside Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Adepero Oduye and Condola Rashad in Steel Magnolias, a remake of the 1989 original for Lifetime. She played the role of Truvy Jones, which was originally played by Dolly Parton.

In December 2012, Scott appeared in "The Human Kind", the eighth episode of the fifth season of Fringe.

Jill Scott starred alongside Paula Patton and Derek Luke in Baggage Claim (2013), the film adaptation of playwright David E. Talbert's 2005 novel of the same name.

Jill has announced her intentions of releasing two studio albums. One at the end of 2013 and the other during the spring of 2014. She first began kicking around the idea for Brown Baby Lullabies several years ago prior to giving birth to her son, Jett. The other to be another Vault Project from Hidden Beach. Both project hasn’t been released before the publishing of this article.

In 2014 Jill Scott co-starred in “Get On Up”, a James Brown bio.


Saturday, August 09, 2014

What Happened? Natalie Cole

Natalie Maria Cole (born February 6, 1950)
Natalie Cole was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of crooner Nat King Cole and former Duke Ellington Orchestra singer Maria Hawkins Ellington, and raised in the affluent Hancock Park district of Los Angeles. Regarding her childhood, Cole has referred to her family as "the black Kennedys" and was exposed to many great singers of jazz, soul, and blues. At the age of six Natalie sang on her father's Christmas album and later began performing at age 11.
Cole grew up with older adopted sister Carole "Cookie" (1944–2009) (her mother Maria's younger sister's daughter); adopted brother Nat "Kelly" Cole (1959–95), and younger twin sisters Timolin and Casey (born 1961).
Her paternal uncle Freddy Cole is a singer and pianist with numerous albums and awards. Cole enrolled in Northfield Mount Hermon School, an elite New England preparatory school, at age 15 after her father died of lung cancer in February 1965. Soon afterwards she began having a difficult relationship with her mother. She enrolled in the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She transferred briefly to University of Southern California where she pledged the Upsilon chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She later transferred back to the University of Massachusetts, where she majored in Child Psychology and minored in German, graduating in 1972.
Following graduation, Cole, who grew up listening to a variety of artists from soul artists such as Aretha Franklin to psychedelic rock icon Janis Joplin, began singing at small clubs with her band, Black Magic. Clubs initially welcomed her due to her being Nat King Cole's daughter, only to be disappointed when she began covering R&B and rock numbers. While performing, she was noted by a couple of producers in the Chicago area, Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy, who then approached her to do records. After cutting several records together, they passed off the music to several record labels. Most labels turned them down with one ironic exception. Capitol Records, her father's label, heard the records and agreed to sign her.
Cole, Yancy and Jackson went into studios in Los Angeles to polish the recordings they had shipped, resulting in the release of Cole's debut album, Inseparable, which included songs that reminded listeners of Aretha Franklin. In fact, Franklin later contended that songs such as "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)", "I Can't Say No" and others were originally offered to her while she was recording the You album. Franklin turned most of the songs down but agreed to record the title track for her album. Cole also recorded "You". Released in 1975, the album became an instant success thanks to "This Will Be", which became a top ten hit and later winning Cole a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. A second single, "Inseparable", also became a hit. Both songs reached number-one on the R&B chart. Cole also won Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards for her accomplishments. Due to the media's billing of Cole as the "new Aretha Franklin", it inadvertently started a rivalry between the two singers.
Becoming an instant star, Cole responded to critics of an impending sophomore slump with Natalie, released in 1976. The album, like Inseparable, became a gold success thanks to the funk-influenced cut, "Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady)" and the jazz-influenced "Mr. Melody".
Cole released her first platinum record with her third release, Unpredictable, mainly thanks to the number-one R&B hit, "I've Got Love on My Mind". Originally an album track, the album's closer, "I'm Catching Hell", nonetheless became a popular Cole song during live concert shows.
Later in 1977, Cole issued her fourth release and second platinum album, Thankful, which included another signature Cole hit, "Our Love". To capitalize on her fame, Cole starred on her own TV special, which attracted such celebrities as Earth, Wind & Fire, and also appeared on the TV special, "Sinatra and Friends." In 1978, Cole released her first live album, Natalie Live!
In early 1979, the singer was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That same year, she released two more albums, I Love You So and the Peabo Bryson duet album, We're the Best of Friends. Both albums reached gold status in the U.S. continuing her popularity.
Following the release of her eighth album, 1980's Don't Look Back, Cole's career began to take a detour. While Cole scored an adult contemporary hit with the soft rock ballad "Someone That I Used To Love" off the album, the album itself failed to go gold. In 1981, Cole's personal problems including battles with drug addiction began to take public notice and her career suffered as a result. In 1983, following the release of her album, I'm Ready, released on Epic, Cole entered a rehab facility in Connecticut reportedly staying there for a period of six months.
Following her release, she signed with the Atco imprint, Modern Records, releasing Dangerous, which started a slow resurgence for Cole in terms of record sales and chart success.
In 1987, she changed to EMI-Manhattan Records and released the Everlasting album, which returned her to the top of the charts thanks to singles such as "Jump Start (My Heart)", the top ten ballad, "I Live For Your Love" and her dance-pop cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac". That success helped Everlasting reach one million in sales becoming Cole's first platinum album in ten years. In 1989, she released her follow-up to Everlasting, Good to Be Back, which produced the number two hit, "Miss You Like Crazy", which also achieved international success reaching the top ten in the United Kingdom.
In 1990, she (along with jazz vocalist Al Jarreau) sang the song "Mr. President" (written by Ray Reach, Mike Loveless and Joe Sterling) on HBO's Comic Relief special, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal.  
Cole released her best-selling album with 1991's Unforgettable... with Love on Elektra Records, which saw Cole singing songs her famous father recorded, nearly 20 years after she initially had refused to cover her father's songs during live concerts. Cole produced vocal arrangements for the songs, with piano accompaniment by her uncle Ike Cole. Cole's label released an interactive duet between Cole and her father on the title song, "Unforgettable". The song eventually reached number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number ten on the R&B chart, going gold.
 Unforgettable...with Love eventually sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone winning several Grammys including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance for the top song.
In 1992, following the success of the Unforgettable: With Love album, PBS broadcast a special based on the album. Unforgettable, With Love: Natalie Cole Sings the Songs of Nat "King" Cole received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program; and Cole received a nomination for Outstanding Individual Performance, losing to Bette Midler.
Cole followed that success with another album of jazz standards titled Take a Look, in 1993, which included her recording of the title track in the same styling that her idol Aretha Franklin had recorded nearly 30 years earlier. The album eventually went gold while a holiday album, Holly & Ivy, also became gold. Another standards release, Stardust, went platinum and featured another duet with her father on a modern version of "When I Fall in Love", which helped Cole earn another Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
In 1999, Cole returned to her 1980s-era urban contemporary recording style with the release of Snowfall on the Sahara on June and second holiday album The Magic of Christmas on October, which recorded with London Symphony Orchestra.
A year later, the singer collaborated on the production of her biopic, Livin' For Love: The Natalie Cole Story, which featured Theresa Randle in the role of Cole. She also released the compilation Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 to fulfill her contract with Elektra. She changed to Verve Records and released two albums. 2002's Ask a Woman Who Knows continued her jazz aspirations.
 In 2006's Leavin' again featured Cole singing pop, rock and R&B standards. Her cover of Aretha Franklin's "Daydreaming", became a minor hit on the R&B charts.
 In 2008, seventeen years after Unforgettable... with Love, Cole released Still Unforgettable, which included not only songs made famous by her father but other artists, including Frank Sinatra. The album later resulted in Grammy wins for Cole.
In April 2012, she appeared as a Pennington Great Performers series artist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.
Cole has carved out a secondary career in acting. Cole has made a number of dramatic appearances on television, including guest appearances on I'll Fly Away, Touched by an Angel, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Cole has also made several appearances in feature films, most recently in the Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely. She has appeared in several made-for-TV movies, most notably as the lead in Lily in Winter. Cole was featured on Macy Gray's album Big, singing "Finally Make Me Happy".
In 2001 she starred as herself in Livin' for Love: the Natalie Cole Story, for which she received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television, Mini-Series of Dramatic Special.
She also sang the national anthem with the Atlanta University Center Chorus at Super Bowl XXVIII.
In 2006, she made a memorable guest appearance on the popular ABC show Grey's Anatomy as a terminally ill patient. Her character visited Seattle Grace Hospital to have a fork removed from her neck that her husband had stabbed her with during a mishap; the couple had been having sex in public.
On December 2, 2006, Cole performed for the first time in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, as part of the annual Cayman Jazz Fest.
On the February 5, 2007 episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Cole sang "I Say a Little Prayer" at a benefit dinner for Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson).
She can also be seen in the last scene of Nas' music video for "Can't Forget About You". The song uses a sample of her father's song "Unforgettable". Cole is sitting at a piano in a cabaret-style lounge mouthing her father's song with Nas standing beside her.
Natalie Cole also performed "Something's Gotta Give" on American Idol on April 29, 2009.
In September 2010, Cole performed with Andrea Bocelli in a concert at the Kodak Theatre, for his album My Christmas, in which she recorded a duet with him, and on December 10–13, 2009, she appeared with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in their annual Christmas concerts. Both were videotaped for presentation on PBS in December 2010.
2013 Natalie Cole appeared on the Wendy Williams Show claiming she was upset at Jennifer Hudson and Fox’s American Idol for not inviting her to sing her song “Inseparable” on the final of the show.
Also in 2013 Natalie Cole album “Natalie Cole En Espanol” was nominated for two Latin Grammys including Best Album of the Year.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What Happened ? The Dramatics

The Dramatics (formerly The Dynamics)

The Dramatics originally formed in 1962, the vocal sextet comprised of Rob Davis, Ron Banks, Larry Reed, Robert Ellington, Larry "Squirrel" Demps, and Elbert Wilkens initially recording as the Dynamics in 1965. Their first release in 1965 was entitled "Bingo" and the B-side was entitled "Somewhere". It was recorded for the late Ed Wingate's "Wingate" record label, a division of Golden World Records in Detroit, Michigan. Wingate changed the name of the group by misprinting the name of the group from The Dynamics to The Dramatics.

In 1966 the group's second release: "Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo", the B-side was entitled: "Baby I Need You". In 1967, Motown had absorbed the entire Golden World Records operation, including their publishing: Myto Music BMI, The Golden World, Ric Tic, and Wingate Record labels, as well as recording artists. The Dramatics, however didn’t stay long at Motown quickly moving to Sport Records where they garnered their first minor hit single, "All Because of You."

 Even though the group managed to stay together, the ensuing years were unproductive for chart action and sales. Between 1967 and 1971, the Dramatics made very little noise on the national scene. By the end of 1971, Davis summoned the group to the studio to record producer/songwriter Tony Hester's The Dramatics signed to Stax-Volt Records in 1968. However, the group did not break through until their 1971 single, "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get," a latin-tinged cut lyrically based on a comic phrase popularized by Flip Wilson.

It was an instant hit on both the pop and soul charts. "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get," which broke into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #9. Their first million selling disc "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" was awarded gold disc status by the R.I.A.A. in December 1971.

The following year the Dramatics released "In the Rain," which was also penned by Hester. The single torpedoed its way to the number one spot on the R&B charts, maintaining that position for four consecutive weeks; the single also peaked at number five on the pop charts. Ironically, in spite of the national attention the group was receiving, another personnel shuffle was simmering.

Shortly after the success of their first album, some group members became discouraged, which facilitated a major personnel change. William "Wee Gee" Howard replaced lead singer Reed, and Willie Ford of the Capitols replaced bass Rob Davis. Also during this time, the Dramatics had signed with producer Don Davis' production company.

Larry "L.J." Reynolds, who had been a member of Chocolate Syrup and was pursuing a solo career during this time, met Dramatics member Banks at the Apollo following a performance by the group. Howard was absent that night and Reynolds auditioned for Banks backstage; it wasn’t long afterwards that Reynolds, who was also signed to Don Davis' production company, began to occasionally sit in with the Dramatics during Howard's absences.

In 1973 Howard and Wilkens left the group. They were replaced by Larry James "L.J." Reynolds and Leonard "Lenny" Mayes. While the group has had various compositions, once L.J. Reynolds replaced William Howard, the core of the group was set. With Reynolds' gruff baritone and Ron Banks' soaring falsetto, a unique group harmony was created that is still recognizable today.

In 1973, Reynolds' vocal presence and permanent entry into the group was manifested with the release of the R&B Top Ten single "Hey You! Get Off My Mountain". Wilkens formed his own version of the Dramatics and began touring. During this time and pending legal procedures, the name of the group was changed to Ron Banks & the Dramatics.

In the mid-seventies the group switched to ABC records where, with producer Don Davis, they released a number of relatively successful albums, though their coverage was, at that point, limited to the Soul radio. Hits like "In the Rain", "Toast to the Fool", "Me and Mrs. Jones" (originally by Billy Paul), "I'm Going By The Stars In Your Eyes" and "Be My Girl." "In the Rain" also sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Many of the Dramatics' songs were written by Tony Hester, a Detroit writer/producer who was shot to death in a street robbery in 1980.

In the meantime, Howard and Wilkens formed a Dramatics splinter group, and came up with a minor R&B hit, "No Rebate on Love." The Dramatics split up in 1982 as Reynolds and Banks both embarked on solo careers.

Reynolds had partial success with mild hit called “Key to The World” but reunited in 1986 with Ron Banks and Howard for two albums, the be forth mentioned Somewhere in Time: A Dramatic Reunion and Positive State Of Mind, before Howard departed again.

The Dramatics also were guests on the Snoop Doggy Dogg song, "Doggy Dogg World". The song appeared on Snoop's 1993 debut album, Doggystyle. Elbert Wilkens (who died of a heart attack on December 13, 1992, at the age of 45) While other popular 70s groups have had trouble sustaining recording careers, the Dramatics have continued to cut a new LP every few years, right up through 2002's Look Inside, a surprisingly strong record that has only received limited distribution in the U.S.

They received national attention for their professionalism in 2001 when they performed for "Fly Jock" Tom Joyner, singing two sets during his show's appearance in Detroit on less than 12 hour notice after a cancellation by DeBarge.

 In 2002 The Dramatics appeared on Snoop Dogg's sixth studio album Paid tha cost to be tha boss on the song "Ballin'". The group continues to tour and presently consists of Reynolds, Ford, Winzell Kelly and Michael Brock, who replaced Mayes (who died of lung cancer on November 8, 2004, at the age of 53). The Dramatics were officially inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame at Cleveland State University's Waetejen Auditorium on Saturday August 17, 2013. While never reaching "supergroup" status in the public's eyes, the Dramatics have been one of the most prolific, consistently entertaining groups of the last three decades.

In 2003, the group, consisting of Reynolds, Banks, Winzell Kelly, Willie Ford and Lenny Mayes, released "Greatest Hits Live," a terrific peek at a 2001 Dramatics performance that shows the group still in fine form and a testament to the longevity of this Sadly, group member Lenny Mayes died on November 7, 2004, after a long illness.

In 2006, local Detroit developer Herb Strather honored the Dramatics (along with Freda Payne, the Four Tops and others), with a street named after the group in one of the newest neighborhoods being built in the city. The Dramatics were honored for their careers when they received the "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the 2008 SoulTracks Readers' Choice Awards. All of the current members came to the awards as well as the mother of deceased member Lenny Mayes. Sadly, on March 4, 2010, group falsetto lead Ron Banks died of an apparent heart attack at his Detroit home. He was replaced by singer Michael Brock, who in turn was replaced in November, 2011 by singer Donald Albert.

The group managed to stay active, reuniting to record new material every three or four years since the early '80s. They occasionally reunite for concert events.