The Hues Corporation will forever be remembered for "Rock the Boat," one of the most infectious, likeable singles of the 70s, and a song that keeps them performing thirty years later.
Formed in Santa Monica, California in the late 60s, the group, consisting of St. Clair Lee, Flemming Williams (from my hometown of Flint, Michigan) and Ann Kelley, was named for billionaire Howard Hughes (but with the spelling changed to avoid legal problems). They became regulars on the Las Vegas club circuit in the early 70s before being discovered by an executive from RCA Records. Their 1973 debut single, "Freedom for the Stallion," was a moderate pop hit, but it was the follow-up, "Rock the Boat," that created the band's lasting legacy, shooting to number one on both the pop and soul charts. It was a near-perfect pop song, incredibly hooky and with a fine vocal performance by the group. Unfortunately the trio went to the same well again with the follow-up, "Rockin' Soul," a virtual carbon copy of "Rock the Boat," taking some of the steam out of their young recording career.
The act had a couple more minor hits with "Love Corporation" and "I Caught Your Act," but by 1978 their recording career was over. Williams left the group and unfortunately died in the late nineties following a long illness. A reconstituted Hues Corporation continues to perform their hits around the world, mostly in multi-artist oldies shows.
By Chris Rizik
Rock the Boat
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