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Richard Wylie

Legendary Detroit pianist and Northern soul favorite Richard "Popcorn" Wylie was born in the Motor City on June 6, 1939; the product of a musical family, he formed his first band while in high school, recruiting fellow students James Jamerson on bass and Clifford Mack on drums -- both, along with Wylie, would later serve as members of the Motown label's famed Funk Brothers studio group. In 1960 Wylie signed with the local Northern label to record his debut single, "Pretty Girl"; while performing at the Detroit nightclub Twenty Grand he was spotted by engineers working for then-fledgling Motown, who recommended him to owner Berry Gordy Jr.

Wylie soon released "Shimmy Gully," one of the earliest Motown releases, and with backing band the Mohawks issued a pair of 1961 singles, a cover of Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)" and "Real Good Lovin'." However, his most significant impact was behind the scenes: as leader of the earliest incarnation of the Funk Brothers, Wylie played on both the Miracles' "Shop Around" and the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman" -- two of Motown's most pivotal early hits -- and also served as the bandleader for the first Motown Revue tours.

Wylie split with Motown in 1962, signing with Epic as a solo artist. He soon made his label debut with "Come to Me," followed a year later by "Brand New Man" and "Head Over Heels in Love"; according to legend, these sessions were backed by jazz cult icon Sun Ra and members of his Arkestra. None of these singles were commercial hits, however, and after Epic terminated his contract following 1964's "Do You Still Care for Me?," Wylie freelanced as a songwriter, producer, and session player for the small Detroit labels SonBert and Ric-Tic, and in 1966 he formed his own label, Pameline (so named for his three daughters), which yielded a series of singles including the Detroit Executives' 1967 Northern soul perennial "The Cool-Off."

During this time he also wrote or produced at least two dozen singles for Ed Wingate's Golden World family of labels, home to singers Edwin Starr (a frequent Wylie collaborator) and J.J. Barnes and later acquired by Motown. In 1968 Wylie finally returned to his own recording career, landing at the Karen label long enough to generate his own Northern classic, "Rosemary, What Happened?" "Move Over Babe (Here Comes Henry)" followed on the Carla label later that same year. In 1971 Wylie briefly signed with Motown's Soul subsidiary to cut perhaps his best-known record, "Funky Rubber Band." For unknown reasons the single remained unreleased until 1975 but proved a U.K. club favorite and remains a Northern crowd-pleaser to this day.

Two more 1975 singles on ABC -- "Lost Time" and "Georgia's After Hours" -- represent Wylie's final sessions as a headliner, although his writing and production work have gained in renown in the years to follow, with 25 of his Pameline efforts collected on the Popcorn's Detroit Soul Party compilation, probably the best introduction to his music as of this writing. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Complete Motown Singles: Vol. 11b: 1971

Disc 1

4. Take Me Girl, I'm Ready

5. Right On Brothers And Sisters

7. Keep Me

8. Man Without Love

12. You Can Come Right Back To Me

13. Dinah

17. If You Really Love Me

18. Think Of Me As Your Soldier

19. Can I

20. I Did It All For You

22. My Piece Of Heaven

23. Down, Down

Disc 2

1. Surrender

2. I'm A Winner

3. Can't It Wait Until Tomorrow

4. Back To Nowhere

5. Happiness

6. I Hope I See It In My Lifetime

13. I'm An Easy Rider

14. Concrete And Clay

16. Who You Gonna Run To

17. Forgive My Jealousy

18. Act Like A Shotgun

19. Girl I Really Love You

21. Walk Down The Path Of Freedom

22. It's Just A Dream

Disc 3

1. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

2. Wholy Holy

3. Touch

4. It's So Hard For Me To Say Goodbye

9. Colour Combination

10. Swim

12. Got To Be There

13. Maria (You Were The Only One)

15. I'm Still Waiting

16. Simple Thing Like Cry

17. Zip A Dee Doo Dah

18. Bah Bah Bah

20. Whatever Happened To Love

21. Baby I Need Your Loving

23. When Sundown Comes

24. Flower Girl

Disc 4

1. Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)

2. Gonna Keep On Tryin' Till I Win Your Love

4. Satisfaction

7. I Can Get Away From You (But I Can't Get Over You)

9. Hey Lordy

10. Just A Little Bit Closer

11. I Want To Go Back There Again

14. Hey Big Brother

15. Under God's Light

17. Way Back Home

20. We All End Up In Boxes

22. I Can't Believe You're Really Leaving

23. You Ain't Sayin' Nothin' New

Disc 5

1. You Make Your Own Heaven And Hell Right Here On Earth

2. Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today)

4. It's All Over But The Shoutin'

5. Sugar Daddy

6. I'm So Happy

8. Simple Song Of Freedom

9. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight

14. What Christmas Means To Me

15. Bedtime For Toys

17. Floy Joy

18. This Is The Story

23. T.L.C. (Tender Loving Care)

24. T.L.C. (Tender Loving Care) (Stereo Promo Version)

Comments

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"Funky Rubber Band"~H-Town
Let's stretch out this Funk until you pop it
~5m14y~

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