The O’Jays were an American soul group formed in 1958 in Canton, Ohio. The group released a string of singles and one album on Imperial between 1963 and 1966, followed by longplayers on Minit, Bell, Neptune, and Little Star between 1967 and 1971. Signed to Philadelphia International Records in 1972, the group released 14 albums on the label over the ensuing 15-year period.
Members: Eddie Levert (vocals), Walter Williams (vocals), Bill Isles (vocals, 1958-65), Bobby Massey (vocals, 1958-71), William Powell (vocals, 1958-76), Sam Strain (vocals, 1977-93)
The O’Jays formed in 1958 by classmates at Canton McKinley High School. They initially called themselves The Mascots and issued their first single, “Miracles” (b/w “Can’t Take It”), on Apollo Records in 1961.
In 1963, they renamed themselves The O’Jays after Cleveland disc jockey Eddie O’Jay. That same year, they scored their first national hit, “Lonely Drifter,” on Imperial Records. Over the next three years, they issued 11 further singles and the album Comin’ Through on Imperial.
In 1967, The O’Jays released their second album, Soul Sounds, on Minit. Five singles apiece followed on Bell and Neptune over the next three years, including their 1968 R&B hit “I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow” and 1969’s seminal “One Night Affair.” In 1971, co-founder Bobby Massey departed, trimming the group down to the trio of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, and William Powell. Neptune founders Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff signed the act to their new label, Philadelphia International Records (PIR).
- Comin’ Through (1965)
- Soul Sounds (1967)
- Back on Top (1968)
- The O’Jays in Philadelphia (1970)
- Super Bad (1971)
- Back Stabbers (1972)
- Ship Ahoy (1973)
- O’Jays Meet The Moments (1974 • The O’Jays Meet The Moments)
- Survival (1975)
- Family Reunion (1975)
- Message in the Music (1976)
- Travelin’ at the Speed of Thought (1977)
- So Full of Love (1978)
- Identify Yourself (1979)
- The Year 2000 (1980)
- My Favorite Person (1982)
- When Will I See You Again (1983)
- Love and More (1984)
- Love Fever (1985)
- Let Me Touch You (1987)
- Serious (1989)
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