Rose Royce

Rose Royce was an American soul-funk band produced by Norman Whitfield. They performed the double-album soundtrack to the 1976 comedy Car Wash, which spawned the Billboard hits “I’m Going Down,” “I Wanna Get Next to You,” and the No. 1 disco anthem “Car Wash.”

Between 1977 and 1981, Rose Royce cut five albums on Whitfield Records and scored R&B hits with “Ooh Boy,” “Wishing on a Star,” “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” “I’m in Love (And I Love the Feeling),” “Is It Love You’re After,” and “Golden Touch.” 

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)


Background

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 (OST)

On September 13, 1976, Rose Royce debuted with Car Wash, the two-record MCA soundtrack to the Blaxploitation comedy film by Universal Pictures.


In Full Bloom

Rose Royce released their second album, In Full Bloom, on July 29, 1977, on Whitfield Records.


Strikes Again

Rose Royce released their third album, Strikes Again, on August 11, 1978, on Whitfield Records.


Rose Royce IV: Rainbow Connection

Rose Royce released their fourth album, Rainbow Connection, on August 17, 1979, on Whitfield Records.


Golden Touch

Rose Royce released their fifth album, Golden Touch, on December 17, 1980, on Whitfield Records.


Jump Street

Rose Royce released their sixth album, Jump Street, on August 26, 1981, on Whitfield Records.


Stronger Than Ever

Rose Royce released their seventh album, Stronger Than Ever, on April 30, 1982, on Epic.


Music Magic

Rose Royce released their eighth album, Music Magic, in 1984 on C&R/Montage (US) and Streetwave (UK).


Fresh Cut

Rose Royce released their ninth album, Fresh Cut, in 1986 on Omni.


Discography:

  • 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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