Rose Royce

Rose Royce was an American soul-funk band from Los Angeles that recorded music for the double-album soundtrack to the 1976 comedy Car Wash, released on MCA. Between 1977 and 1981, the band released five further albums on producer Norman Whitfield’s namesake Warner-subsidiary Whitfield Records.

Members: Kenny Copeland (trumpet, vocals), Freddie Dunn (trumpet), Henry Garner (drums, vocals), Michael Nash (keyboards), Walter McKinney (guitar, 1973-89), Kenji Brown (guitar, vocals, 1973-84), Terral Santiel (congas, 1973-81), Victor Nix (keyboards, 1973-81), Lequeint “Duke” Jobe (bass, 1973-81), Michael Moore (saxophone, 1973-78), Gwen Dickey (lead vocals, 1975-80), Ricci Benson (lead vocals, 1980-86, 1990-99), Lisa Taylor (lead vocals, 1986-90)

Rose Royce evolved from Total Concept Unlimited, a soul-funk backing ensemble formed in early 1970s Los Angeles. The original lineup featured drummer Henry Garner, percussionist Terral “Terry” Santiel, bassist Lequeint “Duke” Jobe, saxophonist Michael Moore, trumpeters Kenny Copeland and Freddie Dunn, guitarist/singer Kenji Brown, and keyboardist Victor Nix.

In 1973, TCU toured Japan and England behind Motown vocalist Edwin Starr and played backup on the album 1990 by The Temptations. Norman Whitfield, who produced both acts, renamed the octet Magic Wand, signed them to his new namesake label, and put them behind its flagship act the Undisputed Truth for the 1975/76 albums Higher Than High and Method to the Madness.

During a tour stop in Miami, Undisputed Truth frontman Joe Harris spotted singer Gwen Dickey of local group The Jewels and recommended her to Whitfield. Impressed by her range and charisma, he appointed her as the frontwoman of Magic Wand. Meanwhile, film director Michael Schultz (Cooley High) asked Whitfield to score his next movie, Car Wash. Whitfield used the project to launch Magic Wand, who he renamed Rose Royce to signify class and reflect the movie’s theme. Dickey became Rose Norwalt.


  • Car Wash (2LP OST, 1976)
  • In Full Bloom (1977)
  • Strikes Again (1978)
  • Rose Royce IV: Rainbow Connection (1979)
  • Golden Touch (1980)
  • Jump Street (1981)
  • Stronger Than Ever (1982)
  • Music Magic (1984)
  • Fresh Cut (1986)
  • Perfect Lover (1989)


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