The Originals

The Originals were an American soul group from Detroit that released seven albums on Motown’s Soul imprint between 1969 and 1977, followed by a pair of 1978/79 albums on Fantasy. They were formed by graduates of Berry Gordy’s session singers The Voice Masters and featured vocalist Freddie Gorman, an early Motown staff writer.

Members: Hank Dixon (tenor vocals), Walter Gaines (baritone vocals, 1966-82, 1989-2006), Freddie Gorman (bass vocals, 1966-82, 1989-2006), C. P. Spencer (lead vocals, tenor vocals, 1966-75, 1981-82, 1989-2004), Joe Stubbs (lead vocals, 1966), Ty Hunter (lead vocals, tenor vocals, 1975-81)

The Originals formed in 1966 Detroit when veteran Motown staff writer Freddie Gorman (1939–2006) enlisted singers C. P. Spencer, Walter Gaines, and Hank Dixon, all formerly of Berry Gordy’s session singers The Voice Masters (not to be confused with the St. Louis soul trio).

Gorman cut a string of early ’60s solo singles for Miracle and Ric-Tic. During the 1950s, he cut a single apiece with doo-wopsters The Quailtones and The Fideletones. He was also part of the songwriting team Holland–Dozier–Gorman (the precursor to Holland–Dozier–Holland), co-writing the 1962 #1 “Please Mr. Postman” by Motown girl group The Marvelettes. Spencer was a founding member of the ’50s era, pre-fame Spinners.

The Originals briefly featured ex-Falcons/Contours vocalist Joe Stubbs (brother of Four Tops Levi Stubbs), who singles lead on their debut single “Goodnight Irene” (b/w “Need Your Lovin'”), released in 1966 on Motown-subsidiary Soul. They also cut “Suspicion,” which later became a cult favorite through its inclusion on Northern Soul compilations. (Stubbs later surfaced in 100 Proof Aged In Soul.)

During the late 1960s, The Originals served as backing singers on popular recordings by Jimmy Ruffin (“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”), Stevie Wonder (“For Once in My Life,” “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday”), David Ruffin (“My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)”), Marvin Gaye (“Chained,” “Just to Keep You Satisfied”), and Edwin Starr (“War,” “25 Miles”).

The Originals debut album, Green Grow the Lilacs, appeared on Soul in 1969.


  • Green Grow the Lilacs (1969)
  • Portrait of the Originals (1970)
  • Naturally Together (1970)
  • Def·i·ni·tions (1972)
  • Game Called Love (1974)
  • California Sunset (1975)
  • Communiqué (1976)
  • Down to Love Town (1977)
  • Another Time, Another Place (1978)
  • Come Away With Me (1979)
  • Yesterday and Today (1981)


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