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Maze & Frankie Beverly

Combining a Philadelphia soul sound with a strong appreciation of Marvin Gaye, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly was among the top R&B acts of the late '70s and '80s. The distinctive Maze and its charismatic lead singer, founder, producer, and songwriter Beverly didn't have many pop hits, but they were extremely popular among soul and urban contemporary audiences and enjoyed at least six or seven gold albums. Beverly was born Howard Beverly in Philadelphia, PA, on December 6, 1946; he started calling himself Frankie after hearing Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers (a major doo wop group) when he was only nine years old in 1956. Before that, Beverly had been singing gospel in church, and it was Lymon who made him realize that he wanted to perform secular music. That isn't to say that Beverly's appreciation of gospel ever went away; the gospel influence remained when he was in his forties and fifties, but secular R&B would be his main focus. When Beverly was 12, he joined the Philly doo wop group the Silhouettes (who were known for their hit "Get a Job") and went on tour with them in 1959. Then, in the early '60s, he founded and led a short-lived doo wop/soul vocal group called the Blenders. After the Blenders' breakup, a 17-year-old Beverly founded another vocal group in 1963: the Butlers, who favored a Northern soul approach. The Butlers never became well-known nationally, although they did provide a few singles (including "The Sun's Message" and "She Tried to Kiss Me") and recorded for small, Philly based labels like Fairmount, Liberty Bell, and Guyden. The Butlers also recorded for Gamble Records, a small label that was named after producer/songwriter Kenny Gamble (who went on to co-own a huge R&B empire when he ran Philadelphia International Records with fellow Philadelphian Leon Huff in the '70s). It was in 1970 that Beverly founded the band that eventually came to be known as Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly. Originally, Maze went by Raw Soul; using that name, it recorded three singles for Philly's small Gregar label in the early '70s (one of which was a cover of bluesman Taj Mahal's "Today May Not Be Your Day"). Although Beverly was born and raised in Philly, he has been quoted as saying that he never thought of himself as part of the Philly sound, and while his band does have Philly influences, it didn't fit into either the Gamble & Huff/Philadelphia International school of Philly soul or the Thom Bell/Linda Creed school (which the Delfonics, the Moments, and the Stylistics were a part of). Further, Raw Soul's sound owed as much to Marvin Gaye and the Isley Brothers as it did to any of the soulsters who came out of Philly in the '60s or '70s.

Feeling out of place in his home town, Beverly moved Raw Soul to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1971. Raw Soul had been playing the San Francisco/Oakland scene for several years when Beverly's idol, Marvin Gaye, became aware of the band. Quite impressed by Beverly's singing and songwriting, Gaye sang Raw Soul's praises to Capitol and helped them land a deal with that major label in 1976. One thing Gaye didn't like about Beverly's band was the name Raw Soul. The late soul giant insisted on a name change and after considering a few other names (including Karma and Charisma), Raw Soul officially became Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly in 1976. (The name Karma wouldn't have worked because an obscure, L.A.-based funk/jazz outfit called Karma was recording for A&M around 1976-1977).

Maze's self-titled debut album was released by Capitol in 1977; that album (which contains the hits "Happy Feelin's," "While I'm Alone," and "Lady of Magic") went gold and earned Maze an extremely devoted following. The band's 1977 lineup consisted of Beverly on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Wayne Thomas on lead guitar, Sam Porter on keyboards, Ronald "Roame" Loary and McKinley "Bug" Williams on percussion and background vocals, and Joe Provost on drums. In 1978, Provost was replaced by Ahaguna G. Sun, formerly of a little-known soul/funk group called Sunbear; subsequently, Sun was replaced by Billy "Shoes" Johnson. There were other personnel changes along the way; keyboardist Phillip Woo (formerly of Roy Ayers' band Ubiquity) joined Maze in 1980, and Ron Smith was the guitarist who replaced Thomas. But regardless of who was coming or going, Maze always reflected Beverly's vision -- Beverly was to Maze what George Clinton was to Parliament/Funkadelic. 1978 saw the release of Maze's second album, Golden Time of Day, which contains the number-nine R&B hit "Workin' Together." Golden Time of Day went gold, as did 1979's Inspiration and 1980's Joy and Pain (the album that gave us the major hit "Southern Girl"). In the late '70s, Maze earned a reputation for having one of the best live shows in R&B and their first live album, Live in New Orleans (a two-LP set), came out in 1981. Another live double-LP, Live in Los Angeles, was released in 1986, which was the year after Maze's funky "Back in Stride" reached number one on Billboard's R&B singles chart and became their biggest hit ever.

In 1989, Maze left Capitol for Warner Bros. and recorded Silky Soul; the title track, an ode to Marvin Gaye, was a major hit. By that time, Maze was receiving a lot of attention from the rap world -- their recordings were being sampled extensively by hip-hoppers. In 1988, rapper Rob Base used the chorus of Maze's "Joy and Pain" on a single that had the same title -- unfortunately, Base did so without permission and Beverly threatened legal action. Maze didn't enjoy many hits in the '90s, although their live shows continued to be well-received by a very devoted fan base. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

209ricm
Happy feeling ah yeah
I luv me some him every song he has is all about my lifetime the good bad and the ugly!!! He really make u feel every word
nrivers16
;);P:9
Maze is n always be the s**t. Here now n forever more.
I love Frankie to death!!!!���
dragonlady60 8 8
This group is very classy
Love me some maze.
Nice
LOVE IT SMOOTH AS AIR DR FUNK YORK PA
Im just saying
I can't forget you, rip frank
Yesssss honey that's my jam
Shoot I need a repeat button...... P A N D O R A !
kevarn52
FB is 67 years old and still puts on a great show. His voice isn't as smooth as it use to be. He still puts on a great show. I have seen him live back in 1981 and last saw him in 2012. Eight times total. He has a very grueling schedule for a person of any age so I can understand if he is off one night here and there and I won't be foolish and make allegations that he is on coke or any other drugs that will cause false and unconfirmed rumors. Sit back and enjoy Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.
I like being alone myself, this my jam, but I saw FB in concert and he sucked, they say he must've been coke out that night, still my boy, everyone has an off night.
Maze & Frankie Beverly will always and forever be TSOP-The Sound of Philadelphia ! ! ! !
Always solid
walterbanks7 3
Smooth Voice!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! Great Band
catinhat.cd
We are baby
catinhat.cd
After the fun baby i was looking for my soulmate, the person to share my life, cook,clean,w a l k with no you can depend own me
Love those guys....
catinhat.cd
G'BABY we have up and down sometimes. I bring you Joy and PAIN. But i LOVE you.
catinhat.cd
Not make believe baby
wrichard12
My Favorite Band of ALL Time!!!!
a601divaiam
Every time they come to my town I'm there front and center. I love love love Maze!
The Golden Time Of Day, Lord Have Mercy Music! My GOD, the lyrics are just incredible. After listening to this song you will automaticall y love every sunrise and sunset!! :))
I love Frankie B. & Maze. Lord Have Mercy, Music!!
This is Maze at it's very best! #FrankieBeve r l y
Maze
Oh yea !!!!!!! They are the best. . I can't get over you . RIP Carlos Miss You. ... jackie
Frankie Beverly & Maze...this is grown and sexy music
mia1205d
Real music! Lyrics with meanings full of emotions
alan4404
Great, Unique, sound - Maze is just about as far as you can get from The Philly Sound, which I also have great love and appreciation for. Beverly's voice is a true gift from God!
I luv this sexy sexy man move over pam moore.
catinhat.cd
We are One. Long live
Yep its a party!!!!u feel me
My boyz........
Yes!! That's the Golden Time of Day!! Oh yeah!!
Every Song They Make I Just Love Em Love Me Some Frankie Beverly That's That Philly Boy Singing Say What
raven.ball
❤️❤️❤️
tabcmoore1
Love me Some Frankie & Maze ♡ ♡
catinhat.cd
Still be there,love you too much too hit and leave .
catinhat.cd
Can 't well let's come home too you more often
catinhat.cd
Yes baby love you xoxox lay here in my arm my sweet southern baby love,love... . . .
Grown folks music
catinhat.cd
Maze ,kissing you back bed pull off your uniform ,loosening pants swirl,grind til i get reaction full heat,slowly lower my body on yours,kissin g those full lips ,my hands in yours hands tighten as you moan and groan out for more.
Moneyjcrew@g m a i l . c o m
add me as well .7343304212
17342625881 johnnyontheg s p o t call me
catinhat.cd
You better start treating me better, and I'll try let you where I'm going that day.
Frankie sounds the same live, jus like the record! Great Sound!
catinhat.cd
One thing constant you really stubborn and never gave up when battled.
I really enjoy Maze.
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