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Back Stabbers

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iTunes Review

A landmark album from 1972, The O’Jays’ Back Stabbers reflected the tumultuous events of the past decade and the uncertainty of the 1970s with a sense of social consciousness that was ever so brilliantly cloaked in the most heart-stopping arrangements of the era, courtesy of Philadelphia International Records’ production team, Gamble and Huff. This “Philly Soul” — a mix of sweet, soulful voices, elaborate, swirling strings, and punchy horns, cemented by tight funk grooves and relaxed romantic sways — defined the era, and for a long-struggling group such as The O’Jays, the hits — “Love Train” and the title track” — were the long awaited payoff. Gifted with three stunning singers — Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, and William Powell — the O’Jays could bop and weave with the confidence that came from years of experience. Their entire career deserves attention and a comprehensive career retrospective is the best place to hear their incredible range. However, if one is looking for their watershed moment, Back Stabbers clearly stands out. “Who Am I” is a sweet, swelling moment of emotional insecurity. “(They Call Me) Mr. Lucky” captures a swinging, exuberant moment. “Listen to the Clock on the Wall” speaks to a guilt-ridden affair. The group is at the top of their game.

Customer Reviews

The Timeless Trio

Back Stabbers is certainly one of the greatest albums ever to come from the genre called "The Philly Sound." The tunes are timeless, stand up to repeated listenings, and are just as dramatic as they were back in the Seventies. If you haven't listened to this album as of yet, or haven't heard it in years, do yourself a treat.


I might only be 13, but Love Train is one of my all time favorites. I lived part of my life in Los Angeles listening to Oldies with my Dad. So I'm pretty well acquainted with the O'Jays. I think Love Train is their best.

The Greatest Classic Soul Album by The O'Jays!!

You don't need me to tell you how wonderful this record is. Back Stabbers is the definitive song about two-timers, and there's not a weak song on the album. (The O'Jay's never really put filler on their albums, but it's important to point out how universally strong this album is.) This album is also brilliantly written and arranged by the band. The O'Jays have never made a bad album, so you can't go wrong with any one of them. But, if you're looking for THE album to start with, it has to be Back Stabbers. Although there are some fine compilations out there, this concept album about the state of the world in 1972 is essential because of its timeliness, and its subject mater hasn't dated, obviously.


Formed: 1958 in Canton, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The O'Jays were one of Philadelphia soul's most popular and long-lived outfits, rivaled only by the Spinners as soul's greatest vocal group of the '70s. In their prime, the O'Jays' recordings epitomized the Philly soul sound: smooth, rich harmonies backed by elaborate arrangements, lush strings, and a touch of contemporary funk. They worked extensively with the legendary production/songwriting team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, becoming the flagship artist of the duo's Philadelphia International...
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Back Stabbers, The O'Jays
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