George WilliamsView in iTunes
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Best known as the longtime lead vocalist for the Philly soul group the Tymes, George Williams was born in the City of Brotherly Love on December 6, 1935. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned to Philadelphia in 1961, signing on with a longstanding local harmony group called the Latineers; with his polished, Johnny Mathis-inspired delivery, Williams immediately catapulted the Latineers to new heights of regional renown, and in 1963 they signed to Parkway Records. Parkway A&R director Billy Jackson renamed the group the Tymes, additionally shaping the Williams-penned original "As We Stroll Along" into a luminous ballad retitled "So Much in Love"; the finished product was the Tymes' debut single, crossing over from R&B playlists to pop radio, and ultimately topping the U.S. pop charts in August of 1963. For the follow-up, the group covered the Johnny Mathis hit "Wonderful! Wonderful!," also a Top Ten hit. But after a third chart smash, "Somewhere," the Tymes' chart momentum stalled and in 1965 Parkway terminated their contract. From there they formed their own label, the short-lived Winchester, followed by stints with MGM and Columbia. Although Philadelphia International label masterminds Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble dubbed Williams the finest singer they'd ever heard, the duo passed on a demo the Tymes recorded under their watch, and the group instead signed with RCA, rejuvenating their career with 1974's proto-disco club smash "You Little Trustmaker." The follow-up, "Ms. Grace," topped the U.K. charts in 1975, but after subsequent efforts including "God's Gonna Punish You," "It's Cool," and "Goin' Through the Motions" met with diminishing returns, Williams left the Tymes in 1978 and relocated to Great Britain, first settling in Kent and later in London. During the mid-'80s he recorded with the jazz-funk combo the Chosen Three, later touring on the oldies circuit as a solo act. He eventually returned to the U.S., and died in Maple Shade, NJ, on July 28, 2004.
06 December 1935 in Philadelphia, PA
'60s, '70s, '80s