The original group of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles met while at Canton McKinley High School in Canton, Ohio. They are named after Cleveland radio disc jockey Eddie O'Jay, who was part of the management team of Frankie Crocker and Herb Hamlett.
Although they have a long and extensive musical career that began in the 1960s, I know them best from the music they made successful in the mid to late 1970s -- Back Stabbers, I Love Music and Living for the Weekend, just to name a few.
But by the time they made these songs the O'Jays were a trio. William Powell died of cancer in 1977.
In 1978, they added Sammy Strain, formerly of the Imperials, and recorded Use Ta Be My Girl . I remember my mom singing that song while housecleaning on Saturday mornings. Of course, my brothers, sister and I did the chorus.
Those that have followed the musical careers of the O'Jays and its members also know that when the popular Donald Trump TV show The Apprentice first hit the scene, the theme song was appropriately the O'Jays' hit For the Love of Money .
In 2005, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2009 they accepted the BET Lifetime Achievement Award.
Numerous awards, accolades, fame, fortune, the highs and lows of the music business -- they have had and been through it all. I keep looking to see the story of their lives on the big screen in a movie, and maybe some day they will make it.
People that grew up with the O'Jays may easily say that they are one of the most successful and popular groups of the last 40 years.
In a musical era where hip hop artists and mainstream artists sample the music of veteran performers such as Eddie Levert and the O'Jays, those that did not grow up with their music can still love and appreciated this group of very talented performers. Some may not be aware that they have heard the O'Jays.
The O'Jays will be performing in concert Feb. 11 at Bell Auditorium, and I am thrilled.
For all of us who are fans of this prolific group, hats off to the Global Spectrum crew for bringing them here just in time for Valentine's Day.
To the people who think the music of today is the best that ever was, I invite you to join us at the Bell in February for a bit of an education about good, old-fashioned R&B music from back in the day. You might just change your mind.