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Jimmy Bee

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Biography

R&B singer Jimmy Bee was born Jimmy Brunsen, and started his career as a tenor singer in the New York doo wop outfit the Four Jays; he left in early 1954 (shortly before the group changed their name to the Regals and recorded for Aladdin). In 1956, he joined a reconstituted version of the Rhythm Aces, which recorded under various names: the Rockets, the Rocketeers, the Magic Notes, and the Planets. In 1958, they joined the Johnny Otis Show and toured with the blues/R&B bandleader, also supplying uncredited backing vocals on some of his recordings that year (including the smash "Willie and the Hand Jive"). With no success on their own, they soon disbanded, and Brunsen toured with the Billy Williams Revue from 1959-1963. Adopting the name Jimmy Bee, he eventually got his shot as a solo artist, starting with a couple of singles for 20th Century Fox ("Talkin' 'Bout Me" and "If It Wasn't for Love") over 1966-1967. A one-off single in 1969 for Kimberly, "Wanting You" b/w "I Only Have Eyes for You," later became a sought-after item among soul collectors. Bee went on to record for Kent and Ala in the early '70s, and Calla and Cherry Red later in the decade. He eventually left singing to work as a record promoter for Arista. ~ Steve Huey

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