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The Showstoppers

The Show Stoppers were Philadelphians, and recorded in the States, but had their only hit courtesy of the United Kingdom. Two sets of siblings made up the quartet: Timmy and Earl Smith, and Alec and Laddie Burke (brothers of popular soul man Solomon Burke). They formed at Germantown High School and rehearsed religiously under the guiding hand of the elder Burke. All were either 18 or 19 years old when "Ain't Nothing but a House Party" broke in England. Written by Joseph Thomas and produced by Del Sharah, that dance song was first released on Showtime Records, a small local company, and sold around 40,000 copies in the Philadelphia area. Showtime didn't have the means or the inclination to release the record nationally. That would have been it, but producer Jerry Ross purchased the master from Showtime and released it on his newly founded Heritage Label, distributed by MGM Records.

Ross even came onboard as the group's co-manager, and produced more sessions for the exciting act, who more than lived up to their name. Bad luck followed, however, and subsequent releases, "Eeny Meeny," "What Can a Man Do," and "How Easy Your Heart Forgets" flopped. DJs in England soon began spinning "Ain't Nothing but a House Party" though, and created demand not only for the record but for live appearances as well. Unfortunately, the real Show Stoppers were beaten to the punch by bogus groups performing in Europe pretending to be the Show Stoppers. (The group later known as the Persuaders, who would later score with "Thin Line Between Love and Hate," did an entire European tour as the Show Stoppers.) The authentic Show Stoppers eventually traveled to Europe and were well-received. Although two of the members were brothers of Solomon Burke, it didn't seem to help the group. They were victims of bad management and probably never saw much money for their efforts. Disappointed, the electrifying act called it quits and never surfaced again. ~ Andrew Hamilton
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