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Trammps on Wikipedia
The Trammps
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
GenresDisco, soul
Years active1972–1992
LabelsGolden Fleece Records
Atlantic Records
Buddah Records
Philadelphia International Records
WebsiteOfficial website
Past membersJimmy Ellis (deceased)
Gene "Faith" Jones
Dennis Harris
John Hart
Steve Kelly
Ron Kersey (deceased)
Michael Thompson
Stanley Wade
Earl Young
Robert Upchurch
Harold Doc Wade
Dave Dixon
Ronnie Baker (deceased)

The Trammps were an American disco and soul band, who were based in Philadelphia and were one of the first disco bands.

The band's first major success was with their 1972 cover version of "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart". The first disco track they released was "Love Epidemic" in 1973. However, they are best known for their Grammy winning song, "Disco Inferno", originally released in 1976, becoming a UK pop hit and US R&B hit. After inclusion in the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the song was re-released in 1978 and became a US pop hit.


Contents

  • 1 History
  • 2 Discography
    • 2.1 Studio albums
    • 2.2 Compilation albums
    • 2.3 Singles
  • 3 Band members
    • 3.1 Later members
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

History

The history of the Trammps grew from the 1960s group the Volcanos, who later became the Moods.[1] With a number of line-up changes by the early 1970s, the band membership included gospel-influenced lead singer Jimmy Ellis, drummer and singer (bass voice) Earl Young, with brothers Stanley and Harold 'Doc' Wade. Members of the Philadelphia recording band MFSB played with the group on records and on tour in the 1970s with singer Robert Upchurch joining later. The group was produced by the Philadelphia team of Ronnie Baker, Norman Harris and Young, all MFSB mainstays who played on the recording sessions and contributed songs.

Their debut chart entry came via an upbeat cover version of the standard "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart", featuring Young's bass voice, which became a Top 20 US R&B chart hit in 1972.[1][2]

Their first few recordings were released on Buddah Records, including "Hold Back The Night" which was a hit in the UK and on the Billboard R&B chart in 1973, before a re-release saw it climb the U.S. Hot 100 two years later. Several R&B hits followed during a stay with Philadelphia International subsidiary, Golden Fleece (run by Baker-Harris-Young) before they signed to Atlantic Records.

Their single "Disco Inferno" (1976), which was included on the Grammy Award winning Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in 1977,[3] reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1978.[4]

Other major hits included "Hold Back the Night" (1975) (UK #5[5]) and "That's Where the Happy People Go" (1976). In late 1977, the Trammps released the song "The Night the Lights Went Out" to commemorate the electrical blackout that affected New York City on July 13-14, 1977.

Their signature song "Disco Inferno" has been covered by Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper. In addition, Graham Parker covered "Hold Back The Night" on the "The Pink Parker EP" in 1977, and reached #20 in the UK Singles Chart,[6] and Top 60 in the US.

On September 19, 2005, the group's "Disco Inferno" was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in New York. The song was part-written by Ron Kersey, a producer-arranger and a member of MFSB, who also played with Trammps in the 1970s for a time. During the ceremony, the original band members performed together for the first time in 25 years. Disco Inferno has also had a resurgence and has garnered new fans with the 2016 presidential political campaign of Bernie Sanders in the USA due to the song's refrain of burn baby burn (slightly altered to Bern baby Bern).

Two versions of the group, with differing line-ups, currently tour the nostalgia circuit.[7]

On March 8, 2012, lead singer Jimmy Ellis died at a nursing home in Rock Hill, South Carolina (where he was born on November 15, 1937) at age 74. The cause of death was not immediately known but he suffered from Alzheimers' disease.[2]

Earl Young's Trammps still continue to record and as of August 2014 have recently released "Get Your Lovin While You Can" written by the Steals brothers renowned for their Philly hits such as "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" for The Detroit Spinners.

The music journalist Ron Wynn noted "the Trammps' prowess can't be measured by chart popularity; Ellis' booming, joyous vocals brilliantly championed the celebratory fervor and atmosphere that made disco both loved and hated among music fans."[1]

Band members

  • Ronnie Baker (1947–1990) - bass, vocals
  • Jimmy Ellis (1937–2012)[17] - lead vocals
  • Barrington McDonald (1942–2007) - guitar
  • Gene Faith a.k.a. Gene Jones - original lead vocalist
  • Dennis Harris - guitar
  • Norman Harris (1947–1987) - guitar, vocals
  • John Hart (1941–2008)[18] - organ
  • Steve Kelly - vocals
  • Ron Kersey b. Tyrone G. Kersey (1945–2005) - keyboards
  • Michael Thompson - drums
  • Robert Upchurch - vocals
  • Harold Doc Wade - guitar, vocals
  • Stanley Wade - bass, vocals
  • Earl Young (b. 1940) - drums, vocals
  • Roger Stevens - trumpet
  • Ed Cermanski - keyboards
  • Cubby St Charles-Vocals
  • Ronnie Baker - bass, vocals

Later members

  • Jerry Collins - vocals
  • Jimmy Williams - lead vocals[19]

Stan Wade & Robert Upchurch Trammps

  • Dave Dixon - vocals
  • Mike Natalini - drums
  • Rusty Stone - bass
  • Harold Watkins - brass
  • Ruben Henderson - brass
  • Fred Vesci - keyboards[20]
  • Carmen Tornambe - Trumpet

See also

  • List of number-one dance hits (United States)
  • List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart
  • Ron Kersey, a one-time band member and songwriter
  • "Hate It or Love It", a single by The Game sampling "Rubber Band"

References

  1. ^ a b c "Biography by Ron Wynn". Allmusic.com. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Dys, Andrew (March 8, 2012). "'Disco Inferno' singer Jimmy Ellis of Rock Hill dies at 74". The Herald. Rock Hill, SC. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ Allmusic.com / Grammy Awards
  4. ^ "Charts & Awards / Billboard Singles". Allmusic.com. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 564. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 417. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  7. ^ Biography at Soultracks.com - accessed February 2011
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "US Charts > The Trammps". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  9. ^ a b David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  10. ^ a b "CAN Charts > The Trammps". RPM. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  11. ^ "SWE Charts > The Trammps". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  12. ^ "US Certifications > The Trammps". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  13. ^ a b "NLD Charts > The Trammps". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
  14. ^ "IRE Charts Search > The Trammps". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  15. ^ "NZ Charts > The Trammps". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  16. ^ "UK Charts > The Trammps". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  17. ^ "Jimmy Ellis Dies at 74; Lead Singer in Dance Band Trammps". www.nytimes.com. March 8, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  18. ^ article.wn.com John Hart Jr., 67, an original Trammp
  19. ^ Lyrics Vault Trammps
  20. ^ thetrammps.net Band Members
    • George Bussey - Alto Saxaphone

External links

  • Official website
  • Trammps Biography
  • The Trammps Live in Europe
  • Trammps page on Soulwalking website
  • Soulful Kinda Music, Trammps Discography
   

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