R.B. Greaves Biography

Ronald Bertram Aloysius Greaves III, 28 November 1944, Georgetown, British Guyana. This singer, half north American Indian, made his greatest impact with the 1969 single, ‘Take A Letter Maria’. A nephew of Sam Cooke, Greaves had built a career both in the Caribbean and in the UK, where he performed as Sonny Childs with his group the TNTs. His biggest hit had been recorded by both Tom Jones and Stevie Wonder before the author recorded it himself at the insistence of Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun, who produced it. The ska-flavoured soul song peaked at number 2 in the US charts in late 1969. Greaves recorded a series of cover records as follow-ups, including Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s ‘(There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me’, James Taylor’s ‘Fire And Rain’ and Procol Harum’s ‘Whiter Shade Of Pale’. All charted, as did his self-titled 1970 album. Greaves left the label in the 70s when Ertegun could no longer spare time to work with him directly. He recorded briefly for MGM Records and then turned to country music without much commercial success.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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