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Bobby Miller

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Producer/songwriter Bobby Miller helmed several hits by the Dells (the There Is album, "O-O, I Love You," "I Can't Do Enough," "Always Together") during their stint as recording artists for Chicago, IL-based Chess Records. Along with singer/songwriters Barrett Strong ("Money") and Wade Flemons ("Here I Stand"), Miller co-wrote "Stay in My Corner," a dual decade hit for the Dells -- first as a 1965 hit on VeeJay Records and then as a 1968 number number one R&B/number ten pop hit on Chess' Cadet label. Besides hits for the Harvey, IL-based R&B/soul vocal group, Miller also wrote "Bet You Never Thought," a Constellation Records single for Gene Chandler, and recorded a single for the label, "Uncle Willie Time," that was based on a mid-'60s dance craze. On the flip was "Big Question." Other sides by Miller are "Wonder of It All" b/w "That's All That Matters" for the Apollo label. Miller worked closely with arranger Charles Stepney on the Dells' late-'70s Chess hits. Stepney, who also worked with many Chess acts including a pre-stardom Minnie Riperton, would go to arrange and co-write several gold and platinum hits for '70s supergroup Earth, Wind & Fire, which was founded by former Chess session drummer Maurice White. In summer 1967, the Dells were on the low end of the hierarchy of the Chess Records roster, having returned to the label in 1966 after having hits with another Chicago-based label, VeeJay Records. Miller, now a Chess staff producer, picked the group to work with, amid much guffaws, after a staff meeting with Leonard Chess. Their collaboration with Miller and arranger Stepney yielded a hit single, "O-O, I Love You," which went to number 22 R&B in late 1967. Their career-making fast-selling album There Is was issued in March 1970. The title track was written by Miller and Raynard Miner. The single, "There Is" b/w the Motown-ish "Show Me," peaked at number 11 R&B in early 1968. The hits continued with a majestic six-minute remake of "Stay in My Corner" (number one R&B for three weeks, number ten pop in summer 1968) and "Always Together" (number three R&B, fall 1968). Miller wrote both songs for the double-sided hit "I Can't Do Enough" b/w "Hallways of My Mind" in spring 1969. Other hits were the medley "I Can Sing a Rainbow"/"Love Is Blue," which went to number five R&B in late spring 1969; "Oh What a Night" -- a respelled remake of their VeeJay hit -- that went to number one R&B in summer 1969; an up-tempo cover of Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"; "Oh What a Day," which hit number ten R&B in early 1970; "Open Up Your Heart," which hit number five R&B b/w a remake of the Coronets' "Nadine" in spring 1970; a cover of Lee Andrews and the Hearts' 1957 hit "Long Lonely Nights"; and "The Glory of Love" from early 1971. In the fall of 1969, Leonard Chess, one of the group's biggest supporters, suffered a fatal heart attack. The following year, Bobby Miller left Chess for Motown and Charles Stepney took over the production duties for the Dells. ~ Ed Hogan