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Encyclopedia > Box Tops

The Box Tops were a United States pop music group of the late 1960s. From Memphis, they are best known for the hits "The Letter," "Soul Deep" and "Cry Like A Baby," and are considered a major blue-eyed soul group of the period. They performed a mixture of current soul music songs by artists such as James and Bobby Purify and Clifford Curry, pop tunes such as "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Keith Reid and Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, and songs written by their producers, Dan Penn and Chips Moman. Vocalist Alex Chilton went on to front the pop band Big Star and to launch a career as a solo artist, during which he occasionally performed songs he had sung with the Box Tops. The Box Tops (band) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Depending on context, pop music is either an abbreviation of popular music or, more recently, a term for a sub-genre of it. ... Events and trends The 1960s was a turbulent decade of change around the world. ... City nickname: The River City or The Bluff City Location in the state of Tennessee County Shelby County, Tennessee Area  - Total  - Water 763. ... Blue-eyed soul is soul music as performed by white people and usually as intended for white audiences. ... For other uses, see Soul music (disambiguation). ... A Whiter Shade Of Pale was released in 1967 by the band Procol Harum, and was written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid. ... Gary Brooker, MBE, (born May 29, 1945) is a singer, songwriter, pianist, and founder of the classical rock band Procol Harum. ... Procol Harum Procol Harum is a British progressive rock band, formed in the early 1960s. ... Chips Moman is the record producer and songwriter who: founded the Stax Records McLemore Avenue studio played lead guitar on Aretha Franklins I Never Loved A Man; co-wrote (with Dan Penn) Arethas Do Right Woman, Do Right Man; formed American Sound Studios where he produced over 120... Alex Chilton, circa 1999 Alex Chilton (b. ... Big Star was an American rock and roll band of the early 1970s whose work is often cited as a prime example of power pop. ...

The Box Tops' music combined elements of soul music and light pop. Their records are prime examples of the styles made popular by Moman and Penn at American Studios in Memphis. Many of their lesser known Top 40 hits are considered minor classics; these include "Neon Rainbow," "Sweet Cream Ladies," and "I Met Her in Church." As rock critic Lester Bangs wrote in a review of the group's Super Hits album, "A song like 'Soul Deep' is obvious enough, a patented commercial sound, yet within these strictures it communicates with a depth and sincerity of feeling that holds the attention and brings you back often." Lester Bangs (born Leslie Conway Bangs, December 14, 1948–April 30, 1982) was an American music journalist, author and musician. ...


Early group history

The Box Tops began as The Devilles, who started playing in Memphis in 1963. By January 1967 The Devilles group was composed of founding member Danny Smythe (drums), along with newer arrivals John Evans (guitar, keyboards, background vocals), Chilton (lead vocal, guitar), Bill Cunningham (bass guitar, keyboards, background vocal), and Gary Talley (lead guitar, electric sitar, background vocal). 1963 was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1967 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

As the Box Tops, they recorded Wayne Carson Thompson's "The Letter." It was an international hit in late 1967, reaching Billboard's number-one position and remaining there for over a month. The record, produced by Dan Penn, sold over four million copies and received two Grammy awards nominations. Their single "Cry Like a Baby" was a major hit in 1968, and the album of the same name contained a song written by Spooner Oldham and Penn, "Fields of Clover." Some of their recordings' instrumental tracks were performed by session musicians like Reggie Young and Bobby Womack at Moman's American Sound Studios, although the group members did perform on a number of the recordings, including their first hit, "The Letter." In fact, guitarist Talley pointed out in a 2004 Puremusic.com article that journalists have often failed to realize the band itself played on many of the songs, increasingly so on later albums. As a result of some journalists' ill-informed and partially erroneous commentaries, public misperceptions about the group's performance contributions and abilities have sometimes resulted. Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry. ... Grammy Award statuette The Grammy Awards, presented by the Recording Academy (an association of Americans professionally involved in the recorded music industry) for outstanding achievements in the recording industry, is one of four major music awards shows held annually in the United States (the Billboard Music Awards, the American Music... 1968 was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1968 calendar). ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

By January 1968, John Evans and Danny Smythe returned to school and were replaced by Rick Allen (from The Gentrys) and Tom Boggs (from the Board of Directors). The band recorded seven more singles, including the Moman-produced "Soul Deep," which was the group's final Top 40 entry. Bill Cunningham left to return to school in August 1969 and was replaced by Harold Cloud. But eventually, the group's tolerance for the years they had endured as teens of being fleeced and treated disrespectfully by managers, lawyers, and promoters they had made rich came to an end. According to Talley's article, a December 1969 British tour was cancelled by the band after arriving in London to discover that instead of respecting the rider agreement, the local promoter insisted they play the tour with the opening reggae act's toy drums, public address system amplifiers (instead of proper guitar amplifiers), and a keyboard with a broken speaker. Finally, in February 1970, the remaining founding members, Talley and Chilton, had had enough and disbanded the group. Top 40 is a radio format based on frequent repetition of songs from a constantly-updated list of the forty best-selling singles. ... 1969 was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ... 1970 was a common year starting on Thursday. ...

Later work

Each of the original members went on to work in the music industry in subsequent years after leaving the Box Tops. Chilton's career path included work performing with Big Star, Tav Falco's Panther Burns, and his solo trio, as well as briefly producing groups like The Cramps. Guitarist Talley went on to work in a variety of styles as a sessions guitarist and songwriter in Memphis, Atlanta, and Nashville. Artists and producers he has worked with have ranged from Hank Ballard, Chips Moman, Billy Lee Riley, Billy Joe Royal, Webb Pierce, Waylon Jennings, Tracy Nelson, Willie Nelson, and Tammy Wynette to Sam Moore of Sam and Dave. Bassist Cunningham (son of Sun Records artist Buddy Blake Cunningham and brother of B.B. Cunningham Jr., lead vocalist for 1960s Memphis group The Hombres, of "Let it All Hang Out" Top 40 hit fame) won a spot in the White House orchestra in Washington, D.C., after completing his master's degree in music. During his classical music career at the White House, this orchestra backed some of the world's best performers, such as at Cunningham's last classical performance with them backing Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman. In the 1980s, he earned an MBA and changed careers. Evans played occasionally in Memphis groups after the Box Tops, while working as a luthier, eventually switching to a computer network administrator career. Smythe performed in Memphis soul and blues groups in the 1970s, later changing to a career in art by the 1980s, but returned to music performance in the 1990s. A 2005 Panther Burns lineup on tour in London (left to right): bassist Lannouzière, drummer Pizzorno, guest guitarist Brando, group leader Falco Tav Falcos Panther Burns, often shortened to (The) Panther Burns, is an errant musical troupe performing stripped-down, sometimes primitive rock and roll and other styles, originally... The Cramps - Chopper Franklin, Poison Ivy, Lux Interior and Harry Drumdini The Cramps are a punk rock/rockabilly band whose only permanent members have been Lux Interior (Erick Purkhiser) and Poison Ivy (Kristy Wallace), the lead singer and lead guitarist respectively. ... Hank Ballard (November 18, 1936 - March 2, 2003) was an American R&B singer and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. ... Chips Moman is the record producer and songwriter who: founded the Stax Records McLemore Avenue studio played lead guitar on Aretha Franklins I Never Loved A Man; co-wrote (with Dan Penn) Arethas Do Right Woman, Do Right Man; formed American Sound Studios where he produced over 120... Billy Joe Royal is an American singer, famous for the 1960s hit Down in the Boondocks. ... Webb Pierce (born August 8, 1921 - died February 24, 1991), was an American country music singer. ... Waylon Jennings (June 15, 1937 - February 13, 2002) was a popular American country music singer and guitarist, born in Littlefield, Texas. ... Tracy Nelson is best known for playing the part of Sister Stevie (the sidekick of Father Dowling in the tv show of Father Dowling Mysteries) that starred Tom Bosley of Happy Days fame and the late Mary Wickes. ... Willie Nelson Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 30, 1933) is an American guitarist and country singer, originally from Abbott, Texas. ... Tammy Wynette on the cover of her tribute album Tammy Wynette Remembered Tammy Wynette (May 5, 1942 – April 6, 1998) was an American country singer and songwriter. ... Sam & Dave were an American soul duo, known as one of the best and earliest soul groups. ... Sun Records has been the name for four 20th century record labels. ... Events and trends The 1960s was a turbulent decade of change around the world. ... The southern side of the White House The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. ... Aerial photo (looking NW) of the Washington Monument and the White House in Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C., officially the District of Columbia (also known as D.C.; Washington; the Nations Capital; the District; and, historically, the Federal City) is the capital city and administrative district of the... Itzhak Perlman Itzhak Perlman (born August 31, 1945) is an Israeli violinist and teacher. ... Pinchas Zukerman Pinchas Zukerman (born July 16, 1948) is a noted Israeli violinist, violist and conductor who was appointed Music Director of Ottawas National Arts Centre Orchestra in April, 1998. ... Events and trends The 1980s marked an abrupt shift towards more conservative lifestyles after the momentous cultural revolutions which took place in the 1960s and 1970s and the definition of the AIDS virus in 1981. ... A luthier is someone who builds or repairs stringed instruments, that are either bowed or plucked. ... Events and trends Although in the United States and in many other Western societies the 1970s are often seen as a period of transition between the turbulent 1960s and the more conservative 1980s and 1990s, many of the trends that are associated widely with the Sixties, from the Sexual Revolution... Events and trends The 1990s are generally classified as having moved slightly away from the more conservative 1980s, but keeping the same mind-set. ...

Cunningham organized a reunion of the band's original members, including Chilton, in 1996. Since then the group has released an album they produced themselves of new material recorded at Easley McCain Recording, Tear Off!, and has resumed performing concerts internationally. The Tear Off! album included a new original by guitarist Talley ("Last Laugh"), a cover of Bobby Womack's "I'm in Love," a cover of Eddie Floyd's "Big Bird" (often covered in solo concerts since the 1980s by Chilton, but in this treatment, the group added black humor cackling and a plane crash sound to the ending), a cover of The Gentrys' "Keep on Dancing," and a new recording of "The Letter." Other songs on the album reflected the band members' varied soul, novelty, rock-and-roll, and country music influences. B.B. Cunningham Jr. played a guitar on the album's cover of "Trip to Bandstand," his 1959 Memphis novelty single. 1996 is a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... Easley McCain Recording began as Doug Easleys rudimentary, four-track studio in the woods near the Wolf River bottoms in Memphis in the late 1970s recording blues musicians like Mose Vinson, as well as some local rock bands. ... Eddie Floyd (June 25, 1935 - date) is a soul/R&B singer and songwriter best known for his work on the seminal Stax label in the 1960s and 1970s. ... 1959 was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

In 2001 the group contributed a Blondie cover tune to a droll various artists collection of "songs you never thought you'd hear," called When Pigs Fly. Other representative selections on the album, whose organizer matched artists of one period with wittily chosen songs of a different period, included Don Ho's treatment of Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey," Herman's Hermits' performance of Billy Idol's "White Wedding," and a Jackie Chan – Ani Difranco duet of Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable." Sold-out Box Tops concerts in Germany in 2003 were aired on German radio, and the group's 2005 tour schedule showed a number of American dates planned despite the group members' busy careers outside the band. 2001 is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Blondie is a rock band that first gained fame in the 1970s and early 1980s. ... 2003 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar and is the current year. ...


1971 is a common year starting on Friday (click for link to calendar). ... December 31 is the 365th day of the year (366th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1969 was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ... 1999 is a common year starting on Friday of the Common Era, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... 1995 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1983 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Selected discography

  • The Letter/Neon Rainbow (1967)
  • Cry Like a Baby (1968)
  • Non-Stop (1968)
  • Dimensions (1969)
  • The Best of the Box Tops — Soul Deep (1996)
  • Tear Off! (1998)
  • When Pigs Fly: Songs You Never Thought You'd Hear (various artists compilation, 2001)

1998 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... 2001 is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Sound samples

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Alicia's Country Kitchen - Name Brand Recipes found on Box Tops, Packages, and Magazines (1010 words)
Top chicken with remaining onions; bake, uncovered 1 to 3 minutes or until onions are golden.
Top with remaining onions; bake uncovered 5 minutes or until onions are golden brown.
Top with remaining French fried onions and remaining cheddar cheese.
  More results at FactBites »



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