I originally wrote this several years ago. Tonight as the MIGHTY, MIGHTY DELLS celebrate their induction into the ROCK N' ROLL HALL OF FAME, it seems fitting to post this essay once again...
Soul Patrol and The Mighty Mighty Dells
Then someone asked if the Dells were in the Rock N' Roll
Hall of Fame. I checked and to my utter surprise I discovered that they
had NOT been inducted. I figured they had been put into the Rock N' Roll Hall Of
Fame MANY YEARS AGO. Then one of our members "SBshowband" began to make
many postings on the mailing list urging people to start a letter writing
campaign to the Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame, and the momentum started to
|Here is a press release describing the relationship between our very own MIGHTY, MIGHTY DELLS and the "OPEN UP YOUR HEART FOUNDATION".
It this relationship which is at the heart of the MIGHTY, MIGHTY DELLS new release...
'OPEN UP MY HEART': The 911 Suite'
Open Up My Heart, Inc, a non-profit foundation founded by Nina Dawne-Williams, Esquire. The foundation will raise funds to assist the neediest victims (i.e., the janitors, couriers, temporary workers, cooks) of the 9/11 attacks. In a special donation, The Dells re-recorded "Open Up My Heart," with new artists, and will contribute a portion of the sales from the CD, to this effort.
The Dells started their career in Harvey, Illinois, in 1953. Their first hit, "Oh What A Night" sold over one million records and became an immediate R&B hit. By 1967, --- under the musical production team of Miller and Stepney --- the Dells charted a string of R&B Billboard hits, including number one R&B hits: "Stay in My Corner," and "Give Your Baby A Standing Ovation," certified million seller, in 1973. The Dells have charted forty-four R&B hits that sailed to the top of the charts. These hits transformed the Dells as an opening act from a Chicago suburb to major concert headliners around the world.
In 1991, producer/director/writer Robert Townsend released the commercial and critically acclaimed hit film, "The Five Heartbeats." The movie, based on the lives and careers of the Dells, produced another R&B Billboard hit: "A Heart Is A House for Love." For 50 years, the Dells continue to set the standard for top-to-bottom male harmony.
The Dells immense contributions to the music industry and their popularity among R&B fans worldwide over the past 50 years have garnered them many prestigious awards, among them: The NAACP Image Award, the Soul of America Music Award, and inductees into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Pioneer Hall of Fame Award.
Last night, Friday, April 5th,,2002, I had the privilege of attending a very special event in Washington DC!
It was a gala reception held at "Zanzibar on the Waterfront" honoring Soul-Patrol's very own MIGHTY, MIGHTY DELLS to commemorate their 50th anniversary as a group and to celebrate the release of their BRAND NEW CD.
This new CD is INDEPENDENTLY PRODUCED and some of the proceeds as you all know will be donated to the "Open Up Your Heart" foundation.
The new CD was produced to assist the thousands of "nameless" victims of the September 11 tragedy. Unlike other fundraising efforts, this effort is specifically designed to provide monetary help to thousands of domestic and unskilled workers, cafeteria helpers, hotel attendants and others who are now out of work or homeless as a result of the 9/11 attacks.
The event was a wonderful tribute to the musical legacy of the Dells!
The Dells were presented with an award from the Mayors office of Washington DC by the City Council and the mother of Washington Mayor, Anthony Williams.
There was also an auction of a giant sized replica of the article about the Dells, which appeared in last week's Jet Magazine.
The auction raised $1,000.00 for the "Open up My Heart Foundation.
Dells "bass man" (& Soul-Patroller) Chuck Barksdale gave a short speech to the crowd of about 200 in which he focused on both the history of the Dells and also the charity for which "Open up My Heart--The 9/11 Anthem" will be rasing $$$$$$$$$ for.
(note: Chuck also made special mention of Soul-Patrol and he took the time to thank all of YOU out there for "staying in the corner" of the MIGHTY, MIGHTY DELLS damn near since the day we have started.....all of yall please take a bow :-))
Soon I will have the links for any of you out there who are interested in making your own contribution to this worthy cause by purchacing the CD, here online.
Other notables in attendance that I met were Hollywood Agent Darnell Sutton, Ms Effi Barry (the ex: wife of the former mayor of Washington DC), The crew from "Teenrama Inc." (a Washington DC based organization which teaches "Classic soul dancing" to young people in the DC area), Al Dale (longtime DC area R&B promoter), DC area Jazz group "Sketches", DC area PR Guru Linda Greene, Nina-Dawne Williams, CEO and many others from the world of Washington DC politics, entertainment and sports.
Soul-Patrollers in attendance (besides the Vern Allison, Johnnie Carter, Chuck Barksdale, Marvin Junior and Michael McGill of the Dells) were:
"Pookie" Hudson of the Spaniels
and a few "lurkers"
I had a great time at this event and I thank those who were kind enough to invite Soul-Patrol.
NP: "Open up My Heart--The 9/11 Anthem."
|This group has persevered since 1952, having
a string of hit records starting with the Doo Wop classic "Oh What a
Night" in 1956 right up to today's Urban Contemporary scene with the hit
song "A Heart Is A House For Love" in 1991. They have performed in
every style from doo wop, soul, funk disco and urban contemporary, as
is documented in the hit movie "The Five Heartbeats"! The Dells
were the inspiration for the movie "The Five Heartbeats", and they have
had over 40 hits, with 24 crossing over to the pop charts!
Through it all, The Dells have made only one personnel change in their entire professional career. Although not always on a smooth road, The Dells managed a longevity realized by very few recording groups and they are still one of the premier vocal groups in the world today! A significant accomplishment in any genre! In addition to their own records, The Dells are a primary influence on such artists as the Chi-Lites, Delphonics, Dramatics, Al Green, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Persuaders, The Spinners, The Stylistics, Maurice White/EWF, Don Covay, The Floaters, Marvin Gaye, Manhattans, Teddy Pendergrass and others.
A Few Of the MIGHTY, MIGHTY Dells Hit Songs Include:
* "Oh What A Nite" ('56 #4 R&B)
* "Stay In My Corner" ('68 #1 R&B, #10 Pop)
* "Always Together" ('68 #3 R&B, #18 Pop)
* "I Can Sing A Rainbow / Love Is Blue" ('69 #5 R&B, #22 Pop) * "Oh, What A Night" (#1 R&B, #10 Pop)
* "Open Your Heart" ('70 #5 R&B)
* "The Love We Had (Stays On My Mind)" ('71 #8 R&B, #30 Pop)
* "Give Your Baby A Standing Ovation" ('73 #3 R&B, #34 Pop)
* "I Miss You" ('73 #8 R&B)
The Dells are recipients of The Rhythm & Blues Foundation's "Pioneer Hall Of Fame Award", the 124th Annual NAACP's Image Award", the "Soul Of American Music Award", the "Illinois NARAS Governors Award" the "Jackie Awards", and many lifetime achievement awards from Governors and Mayors.
(A 'BIASED' Overview)
This morning when I got up, I decided to watch a little TV. As I flipped thru the stations I ran across the movie "The Five Heartbeats" playing on HBO.
Of course I have seen this movie many times before, just as I am sure that most of you have. However when I watch the movie now it's from a completely different perspective.
That's because now I know the Dells!!!!!!
By the way, the Dells are…
· Chuck Barksdale
· Vern Allison
· Mickey McGill
· Johnnie Carter
· Marvin Junior
If you go into the SoulPowerSearch database and run a query on the Dells, you will find that there are 3,100 entries in there about them.
Don't believe me?
Go to this link , enter Dells into the search box and you will see:
The MIGHTY, MIGHTY DELLS probably have been discussed here more than ANY single artist. When I first started Soul-Patrol, I NEVER would have imagined that would have happened. In fact I didn't even have a web page about the Dells at that time.
Is that because I don't like the Dells?
I am a BIG fan of their music.
I grew up with it…and the music of the Dells was a big part of my "formative years".
When I was a teenager during the late 1960's and early 1970's I (just as I'm sure many of the rest of you) had MANY a young lady "pushed up against a basement wall" GRINDING her into submission to songs like "Stay In My Corner", "Oh What A Night", "Give Your Baby A Standing Ovation", etc.
However I must confess that as the years went by I didn't think much about the Dells. They really weren't in the public eye much during the 1980's and the 1990's with the exception of the time period when the "Five Heartbeats" movie was out.
When the Soul-Patrol Mailing list first started one of our first members was Marshall Thompson of the Chi-Lites.
Marshall introduced our friend "Mmdells" to the mailing list and he proceeded to TAKE US ALL TO SCHOOL WITH RESPECT TO THE HISTORY OF BLACK MUSIC.
A few months later the list of inductees for the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame was announced and someone posted the list for that year. As always when such lists are posted on the Soul Patrol Mailing list, there was the usual controversy about who was excluded. Then someone asked if the Dells were in the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame.
I checked and to my utter surprise I discovered that they had NOT been inducted. I figured they had been put into the Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame MANY YEARS AGO.
Then one of our members "SBshowband" began to make many postings on the mailing list urging people to start a letter writing campaign to the Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame, and the momentum started to build.
This immediately created a flurry of activity.
That page received MEGA HITS from all over the internet and created tons of unexpected publicity for the Soul Patrol Mailing list.
Before we put that page up, our membership was around 600. Within two weeks our membership doubled to around 1200.
The page itself has generated many thousands of letters to the Rock N' Roll hall of Fame, however in the end we haven't yet achieved our goal of actually seeing the Dells enshrined into their rightful place into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame.
All of you who participated in that effort are to be commended for your commitment and love of our music. You did so by NOT sitting still as one of OUR GREATEST artists was being DISRESPECTED by the very industry to which they had given so much.
The effort also represented an exercise in empowerment, as it showed how we could utilize the power of the internet to unify behind a singular cause, that we could all have influence by doing so. At a time when there is so LITTLE unity in the Black community as a whole, that was a reassuring thing, and we will do things like this again when the time is right :)
Our inability to get the Dells in has been a source of frustration to me. At first I didn't understand the reasons why they weren't in, basted strictly on the merit of their accomplishments of FOURTY EIGHT YEARS in show business.
However now I understand the reasons why and I'll take this time right now to explain it to you.
1. Getting into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame has NOTHING to do with merit, artistry or even longevity. It has EVERYTHING to do with POLITICS.
2. The Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame was created by people (Jann Wenner/Roling Stone Magazine) who have little interest in the actual history of the music, but do have a LARGE interest in satisfying their egos, getting their friends in (1970's "Classic Rockers") and making money from the VH-1 Telecast of the awards show.
3. A lot of Black people are under the mistaken notion that the reason the Dells aren't in the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame because of racism. That is NOT true. Over 60 percent of the inductees are Black. The Hall isn't racist, it's just stupid.
4. The Black artists that are in there are there either because of politics (Motown and Stax acts) or because they simply can't be denied (Chuck Berry, Little Richard, James Brown, etc)
5. I take NOTHING away from the other Black artists that have been inducted. They all deserve to be there. I am just pointing out the fact that they have a "constituency", which is powerful enough to get them in. The Dells don't. All the Dells have is Soul Patrol.
In the end that is somewhat fitting.
It could be argued that the Dells might just be the GREATEST artists in the history of Soul music. They have been around the longest, they have had hit records in every decade since 1950, they have had a movie made about them, they NEVER sold out to trends and they STILL put on a SLAMMIN live show.
However, they don't get recognized by the general media as such.
· Change their name to an unpronounceable symbol
· They didn't die in a pool of their own vomit under mysterious circumstances in London
· They didn't bleach their skin white, marry the daughter of Elvis, or molest (allegedly) any children
· They aren't Gay
· They don't go around murdering their musical rivals
· They don't go around shooting up night clubs
· Their lyrics don't defame Black women and families
· They didn't sleep their way to the top
· They don't appear on stage naked
In short, they didn't do any of the kind of things that normally get Black entertainers into the news, and thus aren't a part of the general consciousness of the public!
All they have done is given us some of the very best music that we have heard over the past 48 years and continue to do so.
I have met the Dells many times over the past 3 years. I have met them backstage at concerts, in nightclubs, hotel lobbies and awards shows.
They are always gentleman in public and regular brotha's in private.
They have turned many people on to Soul Patrol and they have also opened many doors for us
They have nothing but love for EVERYONE here on Soul Patrol
In short the Dells are much like Soul Patrol itself.
They have been keeping it REAL, with VERY little recognition and have done so for the long haul.
That's EXACTLY what Mike and I plan to do!!!!!!!
|The MIGHTY, MIGHTY Dells, w/cast of the Five Heartbeats!||Dells lead singer, Marvin Junior hanging out with actor Micheal Wright at a recent press event at BB King's in NYC|